Nebraskans buy more lottery tickets in 2021 than ever before

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Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 5:33 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A lot of environmental projects in the Lincoln area and across all 93 of Nebraska’s counties wouldn’t happen without the lottery.

Projects like restoring Holmes Lake and protecting saline wetlands.

“Our projects are critical,” Mark Brohman, with the Environmental Trust said. “We work with endangered species, rare plants, some of the rarest habitats in Nebraska.”

The trust gets a portion of the lottery’s revenue to make all of that happen. This year, that portion is the most it’s ever been, with the lottery bringing in a record $205 million in 2021.

“That’s going to be our best year for sales ever,” Neil Watson with the Nebraska Lottery said. “It translates into $48.1 million for beneficiary funds.”

According to officials, 44.5% of that money will go to the Environmental Trust, another 44.5% will go to education initiatives, 10% will go to the State Fair and 1% goes to Problem Gamblers.

“This increase allows those programs to do more,” Watson said.

The previous record for sales was $192 million in 2018-2019. Last year there was a downturn, with $183 million in sales.

Brohman said this boost comes at a good time, because the start of casino gambling may mean less money from the lottery.

“Depending on how many casinos open we know there’s going to be a downturn in funds,” Brohman said.

Brohman said that loss could be between 10% and 40%. It’s why he’d encourage anyone who buys lottery tickets to continue.

“The money goes to good causes. Education, State Fair, the Environmental Trust,” Brohman said. “So even if you’re not a winner the money is going to a good cause.”

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