Massachusetts Lottery Celebrates 40 Years of Success
Forty years after its launch in March 1972, with a cumulative $86 billion in sales and almost $19 billion in net profits, the Massachusetts Lottery is often referred to as the most successful lottery in the United States. Of course, success is relative, but by many measures, Massachusetts leads the pack.
Their success has been driven by a strong portfolio of instant games, intensive market penetration and the knowhow that lets it run its own gaming system, the only lottery still doing so. There have been some bumps along the way, inevitable with any organization. With a particularly strong team in place now under the direction of Executive Director Paul Sternburg, the future looks bright.
Last month, the Lottery held a special 40th birthday party at the State House in Boston, and luminaries from past and present were on hand to mark the milestone. Among them, former state Treasurer and founding Lottery chairman Bob Crane, the person charged with taking the vision and making it happen.
“In the beginning, it was an inter- esting challenge, ” recalled Crane. “We had no office, no ticket, no typewriter, no ad agency, no legal department, no place to hang our hats. All we had is a lot of chutzpah and $1 million that the legislature saw fit to give us to start the lottery in six months. We had to be very careful.” What they did back then was hire the best and the brightest people – 96 to begin with, some of whom are still with the Lottery today. And the rest is history.
In Massachusetts, one of few Commonwealths in the United States, the Lottery comes under the direction of the state Treasurer, who serves as chairman of the Lottery Commission. Steven Grossman took over that role in January 2011, and one of the first things he did was lure Sternburg back from the Connecticut Lottery. A previous 10-year employee of the Massachusetts Lottery, Sternburg was honored to be invited back. “It’s a privilege to work fo the number one lottery in the world in my eyes. It was nice to come home, and it’s been a great experience so far.”
The current Lottery staff numbers just over 400 – incredible for an entity that brings in nearly $5 billion in revenues. What they do provides much-needed revenues for the cities and towns of the Commonwealth, and for the thousands of mostly small businesses that serve as lottery agents. With about $300 million annually going to retailers, “that’s a lot of jobs and economic growth, ” said Grossman. “We should never underestimate the importance of small businesses in the health and well being of the Commonwealth.”
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