If there is one thing that is sure about the coronavirus pandemic, it’s that it has changed the world and what we considered to be normal irreversibly. While some things might go back to the way they were before COVID-19, most will not, creating a new concept of normality.
Coronavirus has affected a great majority of industries - businesses had to stop operating directly from the office and had to introduce a work-from-home policy if they didn’t have one before. Schools were closed for weeks, and all classes have been moved online, and several important sports events have been either canceled or postponed.
The lottery industry also wasn’t left unaffected - some changes were for the better, like an increased amount of players on online lottery sites, while others not so much. So, how exactly did it change during the global pandemic? Well, that’s what we’re about to take a closer look at today.
Lottery Market During a Pandemic
As you probably already know, during the last few months, several countries went into lockdown, closing all the non-essential businesses - including lottery places, which are used for recreational purposes. Because of this, you would think that the sales went significantly down, right? Well, that wasn’t the case - or at least not in all the states.
Despite the whole lockdown situation, many states have noticed an increase in sales of lottery tickets - as an example, we can look at Wisconsin. According to statistics, from March to June, the residents of this state bought $274.2 million worth of lottery tickets, which is an 11.3% jump from $244 million in 2019.
According to several experts, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. During those difficult times, many people were looking for some type of entertainment, and since they were unable to go to a concert, a cinema, etc., they turned to the next best thing - the lottery.
Even though lottery places were mostly closed, lottery tickets were still easily accessible in grocery and convenience stores, which remained open despite the pandemic.
However, not every state was as lucky as Wisconsin. According to several reports, the Massachusetts lottery sales in mid-April were lower by more or less 33% compared to March. Some blame it on the fact that several lottery locations were closed, which made it impossible for people to buy tickets, while others blamed it on the lack of an online presence.
Speaking of which - let’s look at how the pandemic affected the online lottery market, shall we?
Online Lottery Market
The convenience and grocery stores were not the only places where you could find lottery tickets - a lot of them were also accessible online. However, it wasn’t the case in every state, as there is only a handful of states that allow it. In the states in which iLottery was available, the player interest was off the charts.
In the first quarter of 2020, the U.S. lotteries have reported a 47% increase in online revenues, as well as a 50% increase in revenues when compared to the same time period in 2019. When it comes to individual lotteries and their revenue, the Pennsylvania lottery took first place with an increase of 77.4% in internet revenues, as well as a double-digit increase in online sales.
According to Stephanie Weyant, Deputy Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Lottery, “PA iLottery is breaking records and has more players than ever before because people are playing our online games, including internet instant games and purchasing Powerball and Mega Millions tickets, from home during this unprecedented time.”
However, internet revenue isn’t the only thing that registered growth during the pandemic - according to several executives, the number of registered players increased by as much as 60%.
How Does the Future Look Like?
Now, you might be wondering - how did the pandemic affect the future of the lottery industry? Unfortunately, there are no reports regarding how the traditional lottery market will look like in the next few years - at least none that take into account the crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic has created.
However, there is a report regarding the online lottery market. According to the report titled “Online Lottery - Global Market Trajectory and Analytics,” “the global market for Online Lottery estimated at US$7.1 Billion in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of US$11.1 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 6.6% over the analysis period 2020-2027. Online Draw-based Lottery Games, one of the segments analyzed in the report, is projected to grow at a 6.6% CAGR to reach US$5.3 Billion by the end of the analysis period.”
The Bottom Line
The coronavirus pandemic forced millions of people to stay home - some of the businesses introduced a ‘work-from-home’ policy, schools and universities were forced to finish the school year through Zoom, and all non-essential shops were closed down for several weeks.
The pandemic affected almost all industries, including the lottery sector - in some states more than others. However, how much did the pandemic affect the future of the lottery industry? Well, that’s something we still aren’t too sure about - at the moment, we can only speculate, but only time will tell.