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Coronavirus Severely Hurting Massachusetts Lottery Sales

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts State Lottery is taking a big hit as the COVID-19 state of emergency temporarily shutters many stores that sell tickets, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg told lawmakers Tuesday.

More than 1,800 of the state's 7,500 lottery agents are closed, she said. Many stores that remain open have chosen to limit or eliminate lottery sales as a result of staff shortages.

Total sales last week were down almost 33% from the same week last year. So far for April, sales of Keno, one of the best performing lottery games, have dropped by more than 53% compared with April of last year. Instant ticket sales for April are also down by almost 29% compared with this time last year.

"This pandemic has dramatically exposed the limitations and vulnerabilities of the lottery's all-cash, in person business model," Goldberg told lawmakers.

States with online lottery options have instead seen a surge in demand, she said. New Hampshire saw first-time players increase by 38% from February to March, with online lottery revenue for the same period increasing by 10%.

(© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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