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Minnesota Lottery has record-setting year amid the pandemic

It's the third year in a row the lottery has seen record sales.

The Minnesota Lottery saw record sales this fiscal year, even amid the economic downturn caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The lottery said Thursday that for the third year in a row it has ended the fiscal year with record sales. For fiscal year 2020, the Minnesota Lottery netted $668.6 million in sales.

In the first month of Minnesota's stay-at-home order, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reported that lottery sales in April were up 28% compared to the year prior, despite more people staying home and record unemployment. 

At the time, Minnesota Lottery's Director of Public Affairs Erika Helvick Anderson told the publication that playing the lottery is an inexpensive form of entertainment that can be done at home, although the likes of Bankrate explain why your money is far better being spent elsewhere.

In addition to record sales, the Minnesota Lottery saw records in prizes paid to players ($423.6 million), proceeds generated to protect the state's environment and state services ($156 million) and commissions paid to retailers ($44.8 million).

Since 1990, the Minnesota Lottery has generated $3.3 billion for state programs, with $1.4 billion going towards Minnesota's Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, Game and Fish Fund and the Natural Resources Fund. 

Meanwhile, another $1.9 billion has gone to the General Fund, earmarked for education, public safety, and health and human services programs across the state. 

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