Lottery sales slip in state

New Hampshire’s lottery sales are slipping this year, apparently as a result of the recession, but sales seem to be holding steady in the Nashua area.

Through mid-December, the first half of the fiscal year, sales at the New Hampshire Lottery Commission were $108.5 million, down about $12 million, or 10.75 percent, from the same period last year.

However, an examination of total sales by ZIP code finds that sales in the Nashua region held steady at around $3.3 million a month through the end of September. More recent data for the region was not available.

Statewide, sales of instant tickets, which are often a spur-of-the-moment purchase, were down “close to $7 million” over the six months through the second week of December, said Maura McCann, director of marketing for the lottery commission.

Instant tickets make up more than two-thirds of total dollar sales for the lottery.

Powerball sales were also down about $5 million over the period, which may partly be a reflection of the lack of huge, publicity-generating jackpots during recent months, McCann said.

Not surprisingly, sales has fallen during and after the ice storm, when many outlets had no power to sell tickets.

The effect of recessions on lottery sales are hard to predict.

In September, the industry journal Lottery Times said that of 42 states with lotteries, “29 reported increased sales in their most recent fiscal year” – meaning 13 of them, or almost one-third, saw flat or declining sales.