While many US states were disappointed to see their lottery-funded support drop dramatically during the lockdown, those that had already legislated to allow online lottery ticket sales saw a small windfall, with Spinola Games CEO Ade Repcenko is urging Tier 1 state lawmakers to speed up the legislative process and let their lottery industry fully contribute to economic recovery.
States with a legal framework to offer lottery tickets online have seen an increase in their lottery-funded support during the lockdown, while those without a “punch”. While the market may begin to normalize as states reopen, a growing number of governors are suspending the process or reinstating previously lifted restrictions, sounding a wake-up call to retail operators and the state systems they support. Medical experts warn that as lockdowns ease and flu season returns, those numbers could rise even further, making further lockdowns and stay-at-home orders possible in parts of the US in the course of the next few months. The closings and closings of retail establishments in recent months have brought to light the limitations and flaws of the lottery retail system in some states, and with them, the realization of the need to assess current practices and identify new digital approaches that work for a long time. term and in all circumstances.
As Covid-19 continues to decimate the US economy and society adjusts to a new normal, the long-term effects on people and businesses are becoming increasingly evident. The pandemic has been something of a roller coaster for state lotteries, and while states continue to release revenue data, mixed results can be seen in recent months. Retail-only state lotteries have seen a huge drop in revenue, with states such as Delaware reporting a $40 million loss in lottery ticket sales due to casino closures. Massachusetts experienced a 53% drop in sales over 3 months, resulting in a 5% drop in total sales for the fiscal year. Virginia reported a $45 million drop in sales. Maryland reported a drop in sales of up to 30% and also had to postpone the launch of new scratch games. In Oregon, falling lottery revenue led to a $22 million budget shortfall, forcing them to lay off 47 employees and close more than a dozen state parks.
Many states rely on lottery revenue to fill budget gaps, while other states use the funds to run special education, environmental and veterans’ assistance programs. “We got used to the lottery as a constant companion supporting the system. It was a blow to realize that we had no time to react. Chris Havel, spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreationtold the Associated Press.
While retail-only limited lotteries have suffered, the online lottery route has been embraced by states with the legal framework in place to do so. Georgia Lottery CEO Gretchen Corbin noted that sales plummeted in March as lottery retailers were forced to close and customers were locked out amid a pandemic. But their sales rebounded in the final quarter of the fiscal year, which the CEO attributes to their efforts to promote their online lottery offering, driving revenue to a record profit of $1.24 billion over the past 12 last months. The Pennsylvania Lottery saw sales plunge 25% in March after about a third of its lottery retailers had to close with sales down $60 million from the same period last year. They have, however, seen a surge in online sales with “players turning to online Lottery games” during the lockdown, as confirmed by their spokesperson Ewa Dworakowski. Their executive director, Drew Svitko, also confirmed that “the lottery is breaking records and having more players than ever before,” with their average daily online lottery sales reaching $3 million during the pandemic, boosting their lottery sales by line for the 2020 financial year by approximately 24% compared to the estimate. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission saw online e-Instant sales increase 92% and draw-based purchases increase 39% between March 21 and April 25. KPIs,” said Kelley-Jaye Cleland, director of sales and product development.
Liz Siver, managing director of NeoPollard Interactive, which partners with many U.S. lotteries that sell products online, noted that “across our network, key performance indicators reached record highs as lottery players were looking for options online during this unprecedented time.”
In an interview with Betting USA, Jackpocket, a company that provides similar online lottery services, reported a marked increase in sales with saturation levels reaching record highs, “Jackpocket is actually seeing a significant increase in sales week after week. We have already seen a 14% increase in Mega Millions sales this Tuesday and we expect that to continue. said CEO Peter Sullivan.
“The numbers from states with active lotteries during the pandemic are strong evidence that digital is the way forward,” said Ade Repcenko, CEO of digital lottery software provider Spinola Gaming. “Digital transformation and ilottery are expected to play a huge role in the U.S. lottery industry over the next few years. It’s important to learn from the past few months and prepare lottery businesses for long-term digital success. .
Liz Siver of NeoPollard shared these thoughts, adding, “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to renewed interest in digital transformation strategies, especially the lottery. There was no way to predict the current state of lotteries today, but this experience reinforced the need to move the discussions around ilotery forward. Covid-19 has ensured that every strategic dialogue with a lottery today includes the lottery.
With digital lottery solutions ready and available from vendors like Spinola Gaming, the only hurdle currently facing the digitalization of the lottery industry is a regulatory and legislative hurdle, as most states lack the framework legal framework in place to allow lotteries to move online. Last year, online lottery legislation was introduced in Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey and Massachusetts – but none of the bills were able to pass. Repcenko believes the legislative process should be expedited to protect lottery operators should the company face further nationwide lockdowns and restrictions and, with that, the possibility that retail lottery ticket sales from state fall again. “Unless these regulatory changes happen quickly, the US market will lag behind the rest of the world, as LATAM, Africa, Asia and Australia already have the legal ability to sell online. “
Some states have indeed felt the dire need to move online and have turned to those with an active lottery, such as New Hampshire, for guidance, Cleland said. “We have discussed with other states how [we] approached our lottery program. Given that Covid-19 could return this fall, I imagine many states are figuring out how they can help their programs become near-pandemic to ensure they maintain revenue for good causes.
As time is running out for operators looking to move online to recover quickly from the impact of Covid-19, holistic lottery solutions like those offered by Spinola Gaming provide land-based operators with all the tools needed to move quickly to the digital, while maintaining their traditional retail operations through a seamless interface. The software allows operators to monitor all lottery ticket sales and track all online and offline purchases in real time, with a myriad of marketing features and analytics. While lockdowns across the US have hurt the lottery industry, states such as Georgia and Pennsylvania have proven that with the right digital solution, operators can return to above normal sales levels and provide a much-needed boost to the social initiatives they support. .