- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The state’s lottery is bringing in less money than Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s administration expected this fiscal year.

Christie entered a 15-year contract with lottery marketing and sales company Northstar New Jersey Lottery Group in 2013 to oversee parts of the state lottery, but revenues have been missing projections. Treasury officials and even Democratic lawmakers attribute the missed marks to a national trend in lower lottery sales.

Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff presented the state Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday with the latest revenue figures showing the lottery is estimated to bring in $930 million for fiscal year 2015, which ends June 30. That’s shy of earlier estimates of $955 million, which were revised down from $1.04 billion.

The treasury, which oversees Northstar, also is adjusting its fiscal 2016 projections, from $1.02 billion to $1 billion.

“It is a national trend that we are dealing with,” Sidamon-Eristoff said. “I believe, frankly, that we are better positioned to withstand the negative impact of that trend than other states that don’t have a similar kind of management contract in place.”

Sidamon-Eristoff has said he’s satisfied with Northstar’s performance under the contract but that doesn’t mean he’s happy about it.

“It’s obviously a disappointment,” he said. “We’re not meeting our expectations, but I think it’s fair to note we are in the middle of a very significant national downturn in lotteries.”

Democratic Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo said younger people are not as likely buy lotto tickets.

“The younger generations don’t play the lottery. There’s a generation that went to the local convenience story, picked up their newspaper, picked up a cup of coffee, picked up a lottery ticket and went off to work,” Sarlo said. “The younger generations don’t do that.”

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