Gambling Revenues on the Rise in New Mexico
Real money gambling in land-based casino resorts as well as online at internet casino sites is on the rise all across the United States. Many states have enacted gambling expansion bills in recent years to help drive this growth. This expansion ranges from newly constructed or remodeled casino hotel and resorts to state-sponsored online gambling and increased lottery offerings.
New Mexico is not often thought off as a hot-bed for gambling, but according to a recent report posted on the Santa Fe New Mexican website business is back on the rise when it comes to real money gambling. The biggest growth was in the state’s lottery sales with a six percent increase for the 2018 fiscal year. This was a major rebound from the previous fiscal year which was the worst since 2001. Despite the favorable results, overall ticket sales in the state remained below average as compared to the last 15 years. Revenue figures for lottery sales totaled $134 million as compared to the $126.1 for the previous year. Sales from the time frame of 2003 to 2017 have averaged $141.1 million
How Is Gambling Revenues on the Rise in New Mexico?
David Barden is CEO of New Mexico’s lottery system and he mentioned in this report that most of the increase could be attributed to additional ticket sales for multi-state games such as Powerball and Mega Millions. The sales revenue for scratch-off tickets remained flat. Part of the reason for the increase was the cost of a Mega Millions ticket going from one to two dollars. Several large jackpots for both games also helped to drive sales.
New Mexico offers real money gambling on slot machines at its five horse racing tracks. Revenue for slots at these venues reported a two percent gain to end a two-year decline. The total slot machine revenue for FY2018 was $230.2 million. This is still well below the all-time high of $265.3 million in 2015. There are several New Mexico casinos owned and operated by Native American Indian Tribes, but those revenues have yet to be reported by the state’s Gaming Control Board.
The state-run lottery commenced in 1996 and ticket sales generated an increase each year up until 2004. Sales have fluctuated up and down ever since. Ticket sales hit an all-time high in 2016 at $154.4 million before sinking close to $30 million in sales the following year. Sales for scratch-off tickets in 2016 were $83.1 million in 2016, but according to this report, they plummeted to $72.4 million in 2017. The reported figure for scratcher sales in FY2018 was basically flat to the previous year at $72.3 million.
Will Internet Betting Help Gambling Revenue in New Mexico?
According to this report, New Mexico lottery officials have blamed the decline of sales in scratch-off tickets on lower prize payouts which have waned interest with consumers. State law mandates that 30 percent of all lottery revenue needs to be earmarked for college assistance. In order to meet that figure, payouts on winning tickets needed to be reduced. Also mentioned was the fact that sales for Power Ball and Mega Millions can be volatile at times due to the unpredictability of large jackpots.
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