Looking for the quirky, fantastical or belly-busting humor, lotteries are exploiting the holidays as a way to stay in the public eye.

The Arizona Lottery is releasing a “Felix Navidog!” scratcher. Chris Rogers, Director, Products & Marketing at the Arizona Lottery, predicts it “will be a hit with our players. People love their pets and in the Phoenix DMA alone more than 53% of past 30-day lottery players own a dog.”

Cat owners need not despair because festive felines are catching Santa Claws’ attention. The New Hampshire Lottery is marketing a $2 Tabby Tinsel Tripler. “This game features cats and yes, cats with tinsel,” said Kelley-Jaye Cleland, Director, Sales & Product Development, New Hampshire Lottery. “There’s a bit of a play on the theme with the three scenes, three cats and tinsel along with the popular tripler feature. And there is a disclaimer on the ticket: Tinsel is a danger to cats and dogs if ingested. Protect your pets! Keep them away from tinsel.”

The Colorado Lottery also hopes furry friends will prove fun as a theme for two holiday animal scratchers. “This will be the eighth year the Colorado Lottery is offering Reindeer Riche$ (get eight tiny reindeer and win a prize). This game has proven to be one of our best-selling $1 games year in and year out,” said Todd Greco, Scratch Product Manager, Colorado Lottery. “Our $2 game—”Happy Howl-I-Days!” features 36 ‘lottery’ dogs dressed up for the holidays. (Lottery employees submitted pictures of their canine friends to be included in the artwork.)”

The Virginia Lottery is launching a new “Give the Gift of Games” holiday ad campaign that celebrates the tremendous appeal of lottery tickets as holiday gifts. “Featuring families—and a furry friend— this campaign will focus on the spirit of the holiday season and the joy of giving lottery tickets as gifts,” said Terri Rose, Director, Advertising & Gaming, Virginia Lottery.

Digital Fun

The Virginia Lottery is launching a free digital game—“Game Guy’s Holiday Dash”—featuring the Virginia Lottery’s Game Guy as he races over obstacles throughout Virginia to “Win the Holidays.”

“Our goal is to engage players to make repeat visits to the game—and to the Virginia Lottery website—in order to further develop our relationship with our players,” explained Rose. “Though there is no cost to play, we are integrating the game into a social media strategy that includes celebrating game leaders and several giveaways throughout the November-December holiday season.”

Kentucky Lottery Corp. (KLC) will offer three digital holiday scratchers. “In addition to our traditional Scratch-offs, we are also offering one instant play holiday game, Holiday Gold ($5), and two seasonal games, Snowman Raceway ($2) and Frost and Fortune ($5), on our iLottery portal,” said KLC Marketing Manager Rhonda Goodwin.

For the first time, the Pennsylvania Lottery will have holiday-themed Fast Play games: Holiday $100s ($5) and Stocking Stuffer Doubler ($1).

Print Innovations

Holiday Gift Pack is the Texas Lottery’s first pouch game. It costs $5. “The Texas Lottery is promoting the innovative new Holiday Gift Pack focusing on the bundled ticket (four) purchase and that there is a guaranteed winning ticket in every pouch,” reported Dale Bowersock, Scratch Ticket Coordinator, Texas Lottery. “Supporting media will include statewide out-of-home, radio and increased emphasis on digital. The digital support plan includes streaming video, audio and social platforms. The digital tactical support also includes a custom mobile game called ‘Luck Runner’ where players attempt to get to the store to get lottery tickets before their luck runs out.”

Bowersock added that “the pouch itself is foil with a clear panel back so the barcodes are exposed for distribution and activation purposes. There are 20 pouches in a pack which is only a $100 liability per pack for the retailers. The pouches are 4” x 8” which allows them to dispense from our standard bins.”

Standing out at retail is top-of-mind for lotteries during the holidays. “The Hoosier Lottery launched our first ever $10 holiday themed large format game, $10 Happy Holiday,” said Melissa Pursley, VP, Marketing & Product Development, IGT Indiana. “This 12 x 8-inch game offers players four different games and 12 bonus spots with the chance to win up to $250,000. The game is being positioned as a gift experience with the overall theme matching the ‘Happy Holiday’s’ name. Each ticket also has a ‘to’ and ‘from’ area helping to complete the holiday gift experience.”

The Massachusetts Lottery is experimenting with a holiday extended play game. Its $2 Nutcracker Cashword “is the size of a typical $10 instant game and is our first-ever die-cut ticket, cut to the shape of the nutcracker image,” said Lauren Luttrell, Instant Product Manager, Massachusetts Lottery. “Top prize in this game is $50,000.”

The Missouri Lottery will launch a $20 holiday game “using the new Pop ‘n’ Play product that offers a creative design and a unique envelope-style folded format that allows for double the play area of a standard ticket,” said May Scheve Reardon, Executive Director, Missouri Lottery.

Family Fun

Multiple lotteries are selling a family of holiday scratchers. “We’re excited about our first ever holiday family of games this year and are projecting a sellout of all four,” predicted Kentucky’s Goodwin. “I think the $10 ticket will be the biggest hit as it has been a long time since we’ve had a holiday game at that price point.”

This is the third consecutive year that the Florida Lottery has launched a holiday scratchers family. “We’re promoting the HOLIDAY CASH family of games with top prizes ranging from $10,000 to $2,000,000,” said Justin Rock, Director, Products & Research, Florida Lottery. “A key advantage to our family launch strategy is that we’re able to advertise all price points at the same time, so we count on all the games to be a big hit!”

The Massachusetts Lottery is selling four different price points ($1, $2, $5 and $10) for its holiday scratcher product.  “The Holiday Bonus family concept for this season’s launch illustrates fun and excitement while communicating ‘extra play value’ to the consumer with rich multiplier and bonus number mechanics at each price point from $1 to $10,” said Luttrell.

Marketing Strategies

This year, the Arizona Lottery has a business-to-business campaign underway with one of its radio partners. “We are targeting business people during midday hours by activating promotions in and around retail lunch traffic with our mobile ticket van,” said Rogers. “We will incentivize bulk instant ticket sales by offering entries to win a Holiday office party complete with food, drinks and a personal D.J. The idea of gifting in the business context is intriguing and we look forward to keeping Arizona Lottery top of mind in this context.”

The Missouri Lottery will continue to promote Scratchers as Gifts for the holidays, but with a bit of a twist this year. “Not only will we encourage Scratchers as the perfect gift for the holidays, but we’ll also be advertising that our holiday Scratchers tickets have the potential to be bigger than any stocking stuffer,” said Reardon. “In fact, the person buying gifts is gifting dreams. It’s the most thoughtful gift of the season!”

Establishing chatter at retail is also important. “We’ve designed a three-dimensional standee in the shape of a tree that features the various holiday tickets with gifting ideas,” said Pursley. “There is also a card holder on the standee where players can grab cards to make gifting Scratch-offs even easier. We’re also placing aisle-talker signage in greeting card aisles to keep Scratch-offs top of mind during the gifting season.”

Kentucky Lottery has added gas pump toppers and pylon covers for the first time to drive home its holiday message to consumers both inside and outside of lottery retailers. To support the family of holiday tickets, KLC’s sales staff has secured additional counter space for a 4-game dispenser tower, highlighting the games at the register for impulse purchases and to reinforce messaging that Scratch-offs make great gifts.”

For point-of-sale, the Pennsylvania Lottery will use a violator, poster, die-cuts, a backlit sign, and a vending machine topper. “Based on feedback from our retailers, we have added some new looks to this year’s holiday POS. Updates include eye-catching die-cuts featuring Gus the groundhog, our Scratch-Offs mascot. Signage includes both vertical and horizontal formats,” said Kara Sparks, Deputy Director of Marketing for Products, Pennsylvania Lottery.

The Florida Lottery continues to build on and refine lessons learned from previous years. “Building bigger and better games through larger order quantities, increasing the product footprint at retail with additional dispensers, strategic timing of our holiday advertising flight and the reintroduction of popular social media contests are just some examples of things we’re continuing to improve this year,” said Rock.

New Price Points

Multiple lotteries are testing higher price points for the holidays.

The Delaware Lottery is introducing an additional price point this year to the holiday/seasonal scratchers lineup—a $3 extended play scratch game. “We usually offer a $1, $2 and $5 holiday/seasonal ticket,” said Anne Lewis, Marketing Specialist, Instant Games, Delaware Lottery.

“With our $20 Gifts of Gold Ticket, this is the first time we’ve launched a $20 spot for our holiday family. In doing so, we will eliminate one of our $2 games to make an additional $20 permanent spot after the holiday games end,” said Arizona’s Rogers.

Seasonal Offering

The D.C. Lottery predicts the big holiday hit this season will be its $2 Betty Boop game.” Betty Boop is a D.C. favorite, so we hope that she will be the perfect product to help boost sales for the holiday,” said Stephen Cooke, Instant Product Manager, D.C. Lottery.

“Holiday tickets are usually a hit for any lottery, but in D.C. that is not the case. With this in mind, we tried to create a ‘winter-theme’ instead of the traditional ‘Christmas-theme’ that most lotteries would select for the holiday season,” added Cooke. “This gives the ticket a little more shelf-life and still allows us to celebrate the season. Also, we made sure to include the To:/From: on our $1 ticket so that our players could give the gift of winning in time for the holidays.”

Maryland Lottery also will sell a winter ticket although it projects its $2 Gifts Galore will be the top performing holiday scratcher due to the “Win-All” feature which players love.

“We expect higher than average sales from our $10 offering, Winter Ice Multiplier, in line with YTD trends. We exercise the same product strategy for the $10—winter theme, to give the game legs after the holidays with equal emphasis on the cash or core-player centric theme (multiplier in this case),” said Kate Airey, Director, Product Development, Maryland Lottery & Gaming.

Second Chance Drawings

The Pennsylvania Lottery will offer the “The Very Merry Second-Chance Drawing” for the holidays. There is a total of $1 million in prizes. “In addition to non-winning, holiday-themed Scratch-Offs and Fast Play games, players can enter winning or non-winning tickets for designated draw games. Players may scan-to-enter using our official mobile app, or enter via palottery.com,” said Sparks.

Pursley noted that “the Hoosier Lottery experiences spikes of 2nd chance promotion entries on Christmas Day and this year will be offered at the $1 and $2 price point.”

In Arizona, all non-winning tickets are eligible to play “Willie’s Holiday Bonus” game for a chance to win up to $25,000. The iconic Windfall Willy and his sidekick Derek are also featured in the lottery’s “Holiday Heroes” ad campaign.

Missouri Lottery will offers its annual holiday promotion, “Cruise into the Holidays.” Players have the choice of a private cruise on a yacht in the Caribbean, an Alaskan cruise or a river cruise through France.

The Maryland Lottery & Gaming returns a perennial favorite—Warehouse Dash Shopping Spree.

On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen! To the back of the store, to the top of the aisle!