La Fleur’s 2020 Best Instant Games of the Year Survey takes an annual snapshot of what is trending in marketing instant tickets. The comprehensive study tracks instant practices in Canada, Europe and the United States.
Among the instant marketing strategies studied are the number of instant games launched per year, the number of instant game launches by price point, the average prize payout by price point, the number of $1 and non-$1 instant games sold concurrently and the game introduction rate.
The U.S. lotteries responding to this survey sold a total of 2,044 instant games in fiscal 2020, including 376 $1 games, 432 $2 games, 208 $3 games, 533 $5 games, 324 $10 games, 117 $20 games, 10 $25 games, 39 $30 games and six $50 games.
The average U.S. lottery sold 48 instant games in fiscal 2020, of which nine (19%) were $1 tickets and 39 (81%) were non-$1 tickets.
The Canadian lotteries sold a total of 307 instant games in fiscal 2020, including 26 $1 games, 46 $2 games, 69 $3 games, 10 $4 games, 75 $5 games, 46 $10 games, 19 $20 games, seven $30 games and one $50 game.The average Canadian lottery sold 61 instant games in fiscal 2020, of which 5 (8%) were $1 tickets and 56 (or 92%) were non-$1 tickets.
Each lottery organization was surveyed on its top three non-$1 and $5 instant games in order to provide lottery marketers with an understanding of how the jurisdictions’ best three instant games performed in relation to each other. The success of a game is measured by its average weekly per capita (PC) sales for the first 12 weeks of the ticket’s launch. (The jurisdiction’s total population is used to calculate PC sales.)
In addition, lotteries were also polled on their top non-holiday $1, $2, $3, $4, $5, $10, $20, $25, $30 and $50 ticket as measured by average weekly per capita sales for the first 12 weeks of the ticket’s launch. If provided, data on the ticket’s sales index is also listed. This list specifically excludes holiday tickets since these products routinely are best sellers for most lotteries. Also, by examining the best seller by price point in each category, it is easier to see the relationship between the different price points.
According to the research, 51% of the U.S. lotteries’ top selling non-$1 games averaged between $0.10 and $0.24 per capita a week in sales while 12% ranged between $0.01 and $0.09. Only 37% of the games in the study actually averaged $0.25+ per capita per week in sales. More than 60% these top sellers boasted a $20, $25 or $30 price tag.
Only two U.S. lotteries catapulted over the $1 weekly PC instant ticket sales level. The Massachusetts Lottery’s Merry Money Blowout ticket ($10) ranked number one among all U.S. lotteries with $1.60 in average weekly per capita sales. It indexed at 178. The ticket featured a 80.2% prize payout. The top prize was $500. The South Carolina Education Lottery’s $500 Instant Cash ticket ($10) ranked second highest in per capita sales at $1.25. It featured a $500 top prize and a 75% payout.
In the Top 3 $5 Instant Games ranking, the Massachusetts Lottery ranked number one in per capita sales (12-week period). Its $1M Winter Ice ticket recorded $0.57 in average weekly per capita sales and indexed 143. Mississippi Lottery’s $100,000 Jackpot ranked second highest in per capita sales at $0.51. It featured a $100,000 top prize and a 63% payout.
Crossword, multiplier, $500 cash, licensed properties and 7s are among the top-selling themes for the $5 price point, as reported by numerous U.S. lotteries. In the $3 category, Bingo, Slingo, Gems and word games are popular themes but Crossword retains its title as the best seller.
The $10 category includes such best-selling themes as Mega Cash, Fortune, Crossword, $500 Instant Cash and X tickets. The $20 category includes favorites as Blowout, Extreme Cash, Explosion, X Multiplier and Cash games.
There were six U.S. lotteries that sold $25 instant tickets in fiscal 2020. Money themes were the most popular. New Hampshire Lottery’s Platinum Millions reached $0.55 in per capita weekly sales.
There were 20 lotteries that sold $30 instant tickets in fiscal 2020. Many were Millionaire games. The top three tickets ranked by per capita sales were: 1st: Florida (Fastest Road to $1M), 2nd: Kentucky (Gold Rush) and 3rd: Georgia Lottery (Limited Release).
The per capita sales for $1 instant games ranged from $0.02 to $0.10 in fiscal 2020, with the higher PC games typically sold during the holidays. Holiday tickets were the runaway hit for the $1 scratchers. Whimsical pet titles included Santa Paws and Happy Pawlidays. Multiple U.S. lotteries sold 50s cash, tripler and numbers games.
In Canada, whimsical and base games ranked as the favorite C$1 ticket. OLG sold Scratch n’ Scoop. In the non-$1 arena, premium Crossword games were top sellers in three jurisdictions. Set For Life remains strong. The National Scratch games were also favorites, such as $30 Triple Millions.
The $5 scratcher is the most popular price point sold by Canadian lotteries as measured by calendar 2019 sales. The Big Spin was the top $5 game in two jurisdictions, followed by Crossword.
In Europe, lottery organizations vary widely in the number of game launches, base games sold and prize payouts. In calendar 2019, Loterie Romande sold 15 price points, including Millionnaires (100 CHF). Prize payouts ranged averaged 60% to 65%. Almost two-thirds of the respondents reported 60% and above.
The instant price point launches and the prize payout percentage by price point is also tracked. The survey also includes the European lotteries’ top instant games by price point (5 Euro+). Typically, the top ranked instant games included market favorites such as Super fette Jahre (Austria), Cash (Belgium and France), Blackjack (Hungary), Lucky 7s (Lithuania), Flax for Livet (Norway) and Carton (Loterie Romande).