While most of us want to leave 2020 behind, the year saw trends that are continuing into 2021 and may be here to stay. One explosive trend is consumers’ continued demand for high price point instant games.

In 2020, 45% of retailers noted a higher proportion of both existing and new players contributing to the popularity of higher price point lottery games.

“In the last 52 weeks, $50 instant game retail sales in the U.S. are up 86%, $30 games are up 27% and $20 games are up 24%, and this is significant growth,” said Cameron Garrett, VP Analytics & Insights for Scientific Games, whose teams of analysts and data scientists follow sales data and consumer trends in the industry.

Garrett noted that although higher price point game retail sales are climbing, lotteries’ profits from instant games are coming in strong and—combined with the recent frenzy around the higher bloc lotto jackpots—total lottery profits will benefit.

The $30 category gained attention in 2014 when sales jumped from $231 million the year prior to $1.5 billion. In 2020, $30 games represented more than $7.6 billion in sales and $1.8 billion in gross gaming revenue.

Currently, 27 U.S. lotteries offer a $30 game, and less than five offer a $50 game, which is still an opportunity for the industry to carefully adopt and position in the marketplace.

“From a portfolio management perspective, it’s not about rushing to launch the next higher price points until you make sure you are getting the most out of your existing products, whether $20 games, or even if you have a $25 games, before launching a $30 or higher,” Garrett explained. “And that comes down to healthy play strategy.”

As other forms of entertainment, from movie theatres to concerts and casinos, shut down or were restricted, the pandemic brought an estimated 20 million new players to lottery scratch games, and studies show that a whopping 80% plan to continue playing.

With the higher price point purchase, like any other consumer product, players expect a premium experience—higher levels of payout, more exciting prizes and higher top prizes.

“There is tremendous opportunity to launch a product that becomes your new hero. Positioning it correctly could make it one of the most exciting products—or exciting series of products—ever. The higher price of the ticket allows lotteries to offer higher return value to players and that’s really the healthy entertainment people want,” shared Garrett.

Scientific Games noted that 85% of games $30 and higher launched by customers featured product enhancements, like Sparkle®, holographic, foil and metallic to deliver a premium experience. The company’s Sparkle option is the number one enhancement selected by lotteries over the last 12 months.

“We’re seeing all tides rise with higher price point games right now,” said Garrett. “In the next few years, we’ll see more lotteries adopt the $50 category and which will result in significant benefit for good causes.”