Lottery fever: NJ Lottery sees increase in ticket purchases as jackpots grow

New Jersey Lottery officials say that many people are going out to buy lottery tickets despite the pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Jan 12, 2021, 3:38 AM

Updated 1,251 days ago


New Jersey Lottery officials say that many people are going out to buy lottery tickets despite the pandemic.
The agency says that it is expecting even bigger sales as the Power Ball and Mega Millions jackpots grow to well past $500,000,000 each. It is an enticing time for lottery players who are not letting the pandemic keep them from dreaming big.
Convenience store owners say that before the pandemic if the jackpots got this big, the stores would be very crowded.
“You’d see many lines and two people at lottery machines taking tickets,” says QuickChek district leader Mark Ortiz.
But just because the large crowds aren’t forming - doesn’t mean that people aren’t buying lottery tickets. They are just doing it differently.
“I’ve noticed people have become more resourceful. Pick up a lottery ticket in the morning with coffee or at lunchtime,” Ortiz says.
New Jersey Lottery Executive Director James Carey says that after a drop last spring, NJ State Lottery game sales have picked up and have even increased about 10% over the last year.
“Powerball and Mega players follow jackpots. So, sales for those games haven’t been as strong as in the past,” Carey says. “They haven’t been as strong because we haven’t seen jackpots as high as in the past.”
With the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots at a combined total of more than $1 billion, the number of players is expected to change.
Carey says that with more people struggling financially due to the pandemic, lottery players are looking to share their wealth.
“If they win, they are hoping to share with family, with friends. Hoping to do something for communities,” he says. “Lottery tickets are an inexpensive form of entertainment. And when you are going out for essentials, you can conveniently grab a lottery ticket. They are cheap, they are fun.”
NJ Lottery is now working with a third-party courier that would allow people to buy lottery tickets through an app.
And for those who are still buying their tickets in person, lottery officials remind customers to practice social distancing and to wear a mask.

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