Coalition Forms to Push for Higher Lottery Commissions

Year after year, New York’s 14,600 licensed lottery sales agents — bodegas, taverns, grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores, newsstands, convenience stores, and other neighborhood businesses — deliver the highest sales of traditional lottery games of any state in the union, generating billions of dollars to support public education. But the costs of selling and redeeming lottery tickets have risen sharply, far outpacing the modest growth in lottery commission income. Agents desperately need an increase in the commission rate, which has remained at 6 percent since the New York Lottery started in 1967.

When we approached the Division of the Lottery in the past seeking an increase in commission, they were less than receptive. Their answer has been consistent every time we’ve made the request – lottery agents’ commissions have gone up over the years as the sales of lottery tickets has increased and any increase in commission for agents means less money for education.

But the truth is that the increase in ticket sales and the accompanying commissions have not kept pace with the cost of operating a business that sells lottery tickets. And an increase in agents’ commissions has no effect on education aid. The amount of education aid that is allocated to individual school districts is determined by the Legislature and the Governor – not by lottery ticket sales.

We joined a coalition led by the New York Association of Convenience Stores including 14 trade associations whose members sell lottery tickets to seek an increase in lottery agent commission over the Division’s objections. We wrote directly to Governor Hochul requesting she include a one percent increase in commission phased in over four years in her Executive Budget proposal. Now that her budget proposal has been released without a commission increase, we’ve taken our fight to the Legislature.

Please help convince the New York State Legislature to increase your lottery commission rate from 6% to 7% over the next four years. You can use NYACS’ online messaging system so you can send a preloaded email message to your Senate and Assembly members urging them to ask their leaders to insert this overdue adjustment into the next state budget. It’ll only take two minutes, but it will make a big difference!