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The Virginia Lottery Has Thrived During the Pandemic

Virginia Lottery

The pandemic has upended the economy and the supply chain.

Since the pandemic struck last year, the Virginia Lottery has reported record profits — more than $3 billion in sales; that’s a 52% increase compared to the previous year.

Jennifer Mullen at the Virginia Lottery says part of that is driven by new online lottery sales, which began just as the pandemic was ramping up last summer.

"Retail locations where our products are sold never closed during the pandemic, and we were essentially the only game in town at the start of the pandemic and throughout the pandemic," Mullen says. "So that coupled with online sales certainly helped our success at the Virginia Lottery."

Those record profits mean more money from the lottery for public schools, although Chad Stewart at the Commonwealth Institute warns that does not necessarily mean record funding for schools.

"Too often in the past lawmakers have used lottery profits as an excuse to take out an equal amount of general fund dollars for schools," Stewart explains. "Our students can't afford a repeat of that mistake."

The Virginia Lottery may be striking it rich now, but those record profits could take a hit next year when Virginia's first casino opens its doors in Bristol. Other states where casinos have opened saw their lottery sales take a dive — at least initially.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.