By Stefanos Evripidou
THE CHRISTMAS State Lottery enjoyed record sales last month, injecting state coffers with €2.4 million, as thousands pinned their hopes on lady luck during the country’s deepening recession.
Head of the State Lottery Marios Constantinou told Cyprus News Agency yesterday that 400,000 scratch cards were issued by the company Pollard Banknote for the Christmas lottery in 2013.
However, within a very short time, all 400,000 were sold, resulting in an additional 400,000 tickets being issued. The second batch was also sold within a matter of days.
Selling at €3 a card, the Christmas edition brought in €2.4m in total revenue for the state. The special edition scratch cards offered a number of monetary prizes, going up to a maximum of €50,000. This was the first time only scratch cards were offered at Christmas, rather than the traditional lottery numbers game.
“The demand was unprecedented. We did not expect such a response because it was a new product,” said Constantinou, adding that sales of the Christmas lottery doubled those of the year before.
According to the State Lottery, Christmas sales in 2010 brought in total revenue of €938,750, while in 2011, revenue increased to €1,478,750, as both scratch cards and lottery tickets were jointly sold during the festive season.
In 2012, the figure fell to €792,500 while in 2013, Christmas revenue reached a record €2.4m.
Revenue collected by the State Lottery goes to a special fund of the Cyprus Republic used to fund public projects like roads, ports, dams and public buildings.
Despite the record Christmas sales, Constantinou noted that overall revenue for 2013 did not see an increase due to the economic crisis and capital controls imposed on banks since March.
The State Lottery contributes on average €22m a year to the fund, injecting in total around €550m to state coffers during its 25 years in operation.