Regi test: As scratch ticket sales stagnate, Lottery leaders double down on online sales push

BOSTON — Through the first five months of the fiscal year, the Massachusetts Lottery has sold $11.5 million less of its scratch tickets and draw games than the same period last fiscal year, executive director Michael Sweeney said, and that year-to-date deficit is expected to grow.

Through November, the Lottery has taken in $2.195 billion in sales, $11.5 million or 0.5 percent less than the $2.2065 billion in sales in the first five months of the previous fiscal year.

That $11.5 million deficit over the previous year will likely expand, Sweeney said, because the monthly sales reports for January and February will be compared to those months last fiscal year that included sales for the historic $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot.

“Unfortunately, unless something happens with Powerball over the next two months I’m expecting this to grow because you’re going to start to see last year’s Powerball factor really start to kick in over the next two or three months,” he told the Lottery Commission Tuesday morning, Dec. 20.

As scratch ticket sales stagnate, Lottery leaders double down on online sales push

BOSTON — Through the first five months of the fiscal year, the Massachusetts Lottery has sold $11.5 million less of its scratch tickets and draw games than the same period last fiscal year, executive director Michael Sweeney said, and that year-to-date deficit is expected to grow.

Through November, the Lottery has taken in $2.195 billion in sales, $11.5 million or 0.5 percent less than the $2.2065 billion in sales in the first five months of the previous fiscal year.

That $11.5 million deficit over the previous year will likely expand, Sweeney said, because the monthly sales reports for January and February will be compared to those months last fiscal year that included sales for the historic $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot.

“Unfortunately, unless something happens with Powerball over the next two months I’m expecting this to grow because you’re going to start to see last year’s Powerball factor really start to kick in over the next two or three months,” he told the Lottery Commission Tuesday morning, Dec. 20.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 121]: Maura Healey, what a doll!

Our fair Massachusetts Attorney General lady is no wallflower, that’s for sure. Assault weapons, corporate corruption, saving the environment: she continues to have her say on the big topics — and nobody even needs to ask!

She’s a firecracker, that Maura Healey. Imagine if you could package all that ambition into a gift for the holidays?

Ah, but you don’t have to — that’s what Hitch is here for. Check it out.

PCBs: Where Worcester delayed, Princeton was decisive

Indignant at potentially exposing town residents and workers to PCBs through no fault of their own, Princeton officials wanted payback. They decided they would go for it in the form of a lawsuit directed at Old Monsanto, the company that made virtually all of the potential human carcinogen (98 percent, according to the lawsuit). To do so, they hired a heavy hitter in the environmental field: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Richard Nangle reports.

Worcester Windows painting

Inbox [Dec. 21]: New Worcester Windows exhibits on display, Holy Cross ranks with top-value colleges, Anna Maria students plan volunteer work, Naughton named to anti-nuclear weapons panel

Interesting and worthwhile things happen every day in our community. Alas, we can’t cover them all. That’s where Inbox comes in, to offer readers an easily digestible compilation of interesting and noteworthy items you and your neighbors keep telling us about. 

Worcester Windows Winter Exhibits on display

The Worcester Cultural Coalition is pleased to announce two Worcester Windows Winter exhibits are on display. “Worcester City Hall and Common” is located at the Community Gallery in the basement level of City Hall, 455 Main St. “Let There be Light” is located at Bay State Savings Bank, 28 Franklin St. Both are free and open to the public.

Worcester Windows is a community gallery program that uses storefronts throughout downtown Worcester as exhibit space to enhance the City’s downtown area. In addition, Worcester Windows provides display opportunities for local emerging and established artists.

Randell: OPEB contributions leave much to be desired

How do you feel about the city touting $2.1 million in contributions now knowing the liability increased more than $78 million in one year?” Bill Randell doesn’t feel great about it, that’s for sure. Find out why.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 120]: Let it grow! Let it grow! Let it grow!

You don’t need Ebenezer Scrooge’s tortured soul to take an enlightening peek into Christmas future.

Just take a downtown Worcester stroll, maybe make your way down to the Canal District, where visions of sugarplumbs and pot brownies may soon be dancing in neighbors’ heads. On the bright side, your holiday shopping will for sure — maybe as soon as next winter — be much more interesting.

Meantime, Hitch pounds the pavement for this year’s perfect gift.

On Beacon Hill: A Green Christmas for legal marijuana advocates

From State House News Service

ON THE AGENDA

  • Legal marijuana rolls up to State House
  • Baker eyes deeper partnership after Israel trip
  • Healey wants answers from Tillerson
  • 900 buyouts spare state employee layoffs

TOP OF THE HILL

For legal marijuana advocates, it’s a Green Christmas

BOSTON — A decade ago, a Massachusetts State Police cruiser, lights on, pulling up onto the sidewalk at a cannabis celebration might have been cause for alarm among attendees.

Last Thursday, the first day of marijuana legalization under a ballot law, the brief presence of a police vehicle — which was turning around to head down Beacon Street — didn’t cause a stir among activists showing off their green product for the news media outside the State House.

Scituate resident Keith Saunders, a member of the board of directors of the pro-marijuana-legalization NORML, held out a jar that he said contained just under an ounce of marijuana that was grown and gifted to him by a patient. Saunders told reporters he was giving people marijuana from his jar as they asked for it.

The ballot law permits people 21 and over to carry up to an ounce of marijuana in public and gift up to an ounce. It allows individuals to grow up to six plants, limiting it to 12 per household, and to possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis at home. A regulatory regime for retail sale of the drug is not yet established, and unregulated sales remain illegal. But the legal flow of marijuana has begun.

Keith Saunders holds a jar of what he said was nearly an ounce of newly legalized marijuana outside the State House Dec. 15.

Andy Metzger / State House News Service

Keith Saunders holds a jar of what he said was nearly an ounce of newly legalized marijuana outside the State House Dec. 15.

For Saunders, holding what he said was about a two-month supply of pot on a Beacon Hill sidewalk felt natural.

Rosenberg highlights likely 2017 priorities on Beacon Hill

BOSTON — Senate President Stanley Rosenberg hinted at 2017 agenda items, highlighting climate change, housing, education funding, and economic issues for low- and middle-income families while not dismissing the possibility of raising taxes to help pay for those initiatives.

“We still have some huge needs around housing and homelessness, we haven’t done a multi-year commitment to education funding in a long time, we did improve funding on transportation but there’s still a big gap compared to what people want us to deliver, and let’s not forget the opioid heroin crisis,” he said Tuesday, Dec. 13.

“Of course, we’re going to continue to work on economic issues for all folks, but particular for low- and moderate-income people.”

Rosenberg said he also expects the Senate to focus in 2017 on an issue that held Beacon Hill’s attention for much of the current session: energy. That work led to a law giving hydropower and offshore wind prominent roles in the state’s energy mix, but Rosenberg said the legislative work on energy is not done.

Editorial: The least charitable city in the country?

Only 17 days remain in Giving Season, which is critical to many nonprofit institutions.

Whether people feel more charitable during the holiday season or give as their yearly finances come into sharper focus, the final three months of the year, and more specifically the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, local institutions rely on this period of the year to fund their mission.

A 2012 GuideStar survey found that 50.5 percent of organizations reported they received the majority of their donations in the fourth quarter of the year.

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, one study “found that their respondents reported giving about 24 percent of their annual total between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.”

In addition, “According to the Winter 2011 issue of the Nonprofit Fundraising Survey, over half of the nonprofit organizations queried reported that they received over a quarter of their contributions between October and December, with 16 percent of all organizations receiving over half their year’s total contributions during those same months.”

In this light, and with the city of Worcester home to so many deserving nonprofits, it came to us as a shock when a recent survey claimed Worcester was the least charitable city in the United States.