SACRAMENTO, CA - California€™s Lottery sales have risen dramatically over the past two years, with sales up $400 million, or 13 percent, in the fiscal year that ended June 30, The Desert Sun reports.
Scratcher ticket sales led the increase, with sales totaling $3.44 billion last year, lottery spokesperson Alex Traverso said.
Lottery retailers said tough economic times have fueled lottery€™s rising popularity.
"I think it has a lot to do with the economy," said Abel Reynoso, who works at a Desert Hot Springs Chevron. "They're getting desperate."
"Everyone's heard stories about someone who has won the lotto, and they wonder what it would be like if they won it," Reynoso said, adding lottery tickets are one of his store's top-selling items.
Traverso said scratcher tickets€™ popularity, which accounts for 58 percent of lottery sales, is attributed to a change in California law that allows for higher prize amounts.
"Every dollar we can put into prizes helps our bottom line," Traverso said.
Indeed, the passage of Assembly Bill 142 in California in 2010 allowed the lottery commission to raise the amount of prize money available for scratchers, which led to higher ticket sales.
Mega Millions sales rose to $538 million in California last year, an increase attributed to a more robust advertising campaign.