Louisiana Lottery Corporation reported fiscal year 2012 sales of more than $429.6 million, a milestone it hit back in 1993 when it was the only form of legalized gaming in Louisiana. Since that time, annual sales have averaged about $319 million with the last seven years exceeding that benchmark.

"More than ever, players are flocking to the unique leisure experience provided by our games," said Lottery President Rose Hudson. "Growing sales for consecutive years is not an easy task, especially given consumers' constantly changing lifestyles as well as the rapid growth of technology and its impact on product design and delivery. After just completing the first year of our five-year strategic plan focused on operational efficiency and product distribution, we are enjoying the fruits of our labor."

Through data-driven product development, strategic alliances with state-specific brands and an eye on added-value for players, Lottery sales are hitting new heights. This is no small feat considering Louisiana has the highest state transfer mandate among U.S. lotteries at 35 percent and is home to all traditional forms of gaming from video poker to land-based casinos.

According to Hudson, fiscal year Lottery sales were fueled in part by the growth of its scratch-off product line, which ended the year at $158 million - up 6.7 percent from 2011. The Lottery's pursuit of creative licensing agreements with other popular Louisiana brands is one reason why.  Last July, the Lottery partnered with alligator-hunting reality TV show stars Troy and Jacob Landry of the History Channel's Swamp People to produce the $2 scratch-off Choot 'EmTM. The initial print run of 1.2 million tickets sold out in 15 days and prompted a second order to become the most successful $2 licensed game in the nation.

With a knack for leveraging the Lottery's brand to promote the state's cultural economy, the Lottery also forged a partnership with Baumer Foods, makers of Louisiana's iconic Crystal Hot Sauce to produce the $2 game Crystal Hot Cash in April. The company saw a 17 percent increase in hot sauce sales as a result of the alliance.

In addition to scratch-off sales, Hudson credits the strategic launch of the multistate game Mega Millions for the Lottery's stellar year. Mega Million sales in Louisiana began in November 2011 to coincide with Powerball's price increase to $2 in January 2012.  "By effectively positioning the benefits of each game and giving our players more choices, we ended the year with a $41 million increase in multistate jackpot game sales and tripled our original sales projections for Mega Millions," she noted. "Of course, the world-record-shattering Mega Millions jackpot this past spring helped as well." Total sales of all Lottery draw-style game were $271.6 million, up 15 percent over last year.

As fiscal year sales reached their second highest level ever, Hudson expects to report next month a hefty transfer to the state treasury with proceeds benefiting Louisiana K-12 public education. Pending the corporation's annual audit, transfers should surpass $150 million, which will exceed the state's expectations by about $19 million and bring cumulative transfers to more than $2.5 billion.

Under state law, 35 percent of Lottery proceeds is transferred to the state treasury and dedicated for K-12 public education. At least 50 percent is returned to players in the form of prizes. Less than 10 percent is retained by the Lottery for operating costs, and at least 5 percent is paid to retailers as commission.

"As we tackle a new fiscal year, our strategic plan will continue to guide us in providing a player-centric experience that enhances not only Lottery sales and lifts up other Louisiana brands, but also contributes to our retailers' and the state's bottom line," Hudson added.