Columbia, SC (WLTX) The South Carolina Education Lottery announced Monday it set records for ticket sales and the amount of money raised for education in the last fiscal year. It also set records for the amount of prize money paid out and the commissions paid to lottery retailers. Lottery revenue was more than $1.26 billion for the year. Ticket sales grew by $66 million, which meant the amount that got deposited into the lottery's education account was $323.4 million, or $23 million more than the previous year.
"I have sons who went to college who probably used some of that money and I'm very happy to support it. I think it's probably a worthy cause," said Les Hall, who was cashing in some winning scratch-off tickets Monday.
Lottery players walked off with more than $811.1 million in prize money in the last fiscal year, a record amount.
SC Education Lottery executive director Paula Harper Bethea says the increase in ticket sales was because of more people playing, both visitors to the state and people who have moved here.
"We do a demographic study, and what we do not want at the lottery is we don't want our players who are playing to play more. We want to constantly attract new people to the games," she says. She says the state Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services reports there has not been an increase in the number of people seeking help for gambling problems.
If you know someone who has a gambling problem, the state's Gambling Hotline is 1-877-452-5155.
Lottery retailers also set a record for commissions because of the record ticket sales. Retailers were paid more than $89.2 million, which the director says has a trickle-down effect that boosts the entire state economy.