The National Lottery’s headquarters in Mexico City

The National Lottery intends to eliminate its 540-million-peso (US $28-million) deficit with austerity, efficiency and honesty, according to their general director, Ernesto Prieto Ortega.

Several months into his term, Prieto dreams of returning the lottery to its glory days and being able to make donations that benefit all Mexican citizens.

“The lottery has greatly supported the Mexican state,” Prieto stated within an interview with the newspaper El Universal. “In the age Benito Juárez, for instance, they did three drawings for the making of the Mexico-Toluca railway, which was made possible by lottery and government resources.”

The National Lottery’s 250th anniversary is on August 7, 2020, making it among Mexico’s earliest institutions. The impending anniversary has encouraged lottery and government leaders to revive the struggling organization.

“The president gave us two instructions: the fusion of the National Lottery with the Public Assistance Forecasts office in order to improve economic conditions and have funds for public assistance, and that we take care of lottery ticket vendors, not leave them unprotected.”

To maintain liquidity, Prieto enacted austerity measures. For example, he lowered the salaries of high-ranking employees and cut unnecessary office costs, such as floral arrangements, meals, and car rentals.

In addition, Prieto’s strategy includes creating new lottery products, selling tickets online, and trying to build interest in the lottery among the younger population.

“Another strategy to usher in more income is to reach people ages 18-40 because they aren’t buying lottery tickets, and many don’t even know about the lottery. So we’re sponsoring the apprenticeship program ‘Youth Building the Future’ to encourage more youths to buy lottery tickets.”

Stated Prieto, “What we hope to be able to do is generate resources in order to be able to make donations again.”

Of the lottery’s eight products, only one turned a profit this past year, which came out to 2.1%, or 12.8 million pesos, based on the Federal Auditor’s Office.

A version of this story originally appeared here.

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