The future of the lottery with the Covid pandemic
In the past, to play the lottery, we would simply visit a lottery retailer and either choose our numbers by filling out our ticket forms and then having the retailer run them through the machine, or by getting quick pick numbers. However, with today’s lock-down environment, it’s harder to go out and buy tickets at a retailer, which means less money being spent on the lottery and less money retailers are making.
With the current actions countries have taken to try to curb the surge of COVID-19 infections and deaths, buying lottery tickets is not as accessible as it was before lock-down. Depending on what lock-downs have been implemented in your area, such as stay at home/shelter in place orders, or curfews, it results in less of us out in public to purchase lottery tickets.
As such, retailers have seen decreased revenue from ticket sales, and some retailers are finding it hard to replace that income with other sources. The lottery operators, who get their share of lottery sales revenue from each retailer, are also seeing a decline in the income they get from lottery sales. Since the income generated by sales is used to also supply the money for all the wins on the game, a loss of income makes it harder to maintain the win amounts. Ultimately, the groups, agencies, and association charities who benefit from receiving their portion of lottery revenue, are being directly affected by not receiving as much funding, therefore finding it hard to support their public clients.
Lottery operators, fearing a loss of players amid the pandemic, have now gone the way of restaurants, grocery stores, and retail stores, by offering their products and services online. By doing this, operators are trying to protect their income stream and the charities that benefit from lottery sales. In fact, some gaming operators are putting not only lottery purchases and plays online, but adding table games and slot machines to online play as well. There is now an upward trend to increased revenue due to online gaming, and lottery play.
Customers seem to like the fact that they can buy their lottery tickets online. They don’t have to leave home, most online accounts notify the player automatically if they win a prize, the prize is paid out directly to their account, which can be withdrawn, or kept in the account to purchase more tickets. The pandemic has created a new super-convenient order/deliver mindset and standard in our communities.
Although this strategy seems to be working for the operators and their customers, the retail lottery locations are now in a fight to entice players to still play at their physical location if local lock-downs allow. It’s a battle of convenient online play from one’s home via the internet, to the intimate and sometimes preferred method of playing at a retailer.
Will this trend continue after the pandemic is over. It might not if this virus can be contained and treated and we can all get back to normal life. But if COVID-19 persists, then this new online model for lottery play may become so convenient, maybe too convenient, that the traditional physical retail outlets may become a thing of history.