Lottery ticket sales plummet across US

Lottery sales in many states remain well below pre-pandemic levels.
Lottery sales in many states remain well below pre-pandemic levels.

After a record year in 2019, sales have plunged due to the pandemic.

US.- 2019 was a record year for lottery sales in the US, but the pandemic has caused sales to plummet in 2020, damaging revenue sources for good causes.

In Vermont, ticket sales fell by 30 per cent due to state-mandated shut-downs.

Gary Kessler, deputy commissioner of liquor and lottery in Vermont, told news sources the lottery was relying on customers buying tickets in advance to boost profits.

He said: “They could buy them out 20 draws in advance so they could be safe and stay in the game at the same time. That was really our message that we tried to get out to our players, and players really did respond.

“We saw quite an increase in our subscription services, which is where you can buy for six months or for an entire year and know that those numbers are set.”

Matt Shelby from the Oregon Lottery said his state usually generates $20 million a week from video lottery games, but had been “hit pretty hard” by the pandemic.

He said: “We offer video lottery at bars and restaurants throughout the state and by far that’s our highest revenue product and literally overnight when bars and restaurants shut down, that revenue line went to zero.

“Things like schools, parks, natural resources, watershed development, most recently veterans’ services and then we also fund problem gambling and treatment across the state.

“When our revenue goes down, we feel it first because we operate like any other business, but those state programs that rely on our dollars will feel that crunch in the next budget cycle.”

Despite the figures, Shelby said he expected sales to recover, but perhaps not to pre-pandemic levels.

He said: “I think long term we will [see a recovery], but like a lot of other things, I don’t think we’re ever going back to the way things were in January.”

Local businesses that sell tickets are also feeling the hit, given that they receive a percentage of earnings on tickets they sell.