North American lotteries hope to guarantee stellar holiday scratch ticket sales despite uncertainty at retail by guaranteed techniques popular with players, such as marketing holiday family of games, incorporating special printing features, adding new holiday price points and keeping it all festive.
The slogans for lotteries’ holiday campaigns range from heart-tugging to whimsical. For instance, the Colorado Lottery’s POS campaign features a closeup view of Santa’s beard and belly, with the lottery’s Scratch game lineup figuring prominently. “The slogans this year include—Put Some Jingle in your Pocket, Win at Winter, We Wish You a Winning Ticket and Dashing through the Dough,” said Todd Greco, Scratch Product Manager, Colorado Lottery.
Multiple lotteries are ensuring success by launching holiday versions of top-selling scratch games.
The Georgia Lottery Corp. is introducing a $10 Jumbo Bucks 50X the Money game and $20 Jumbo Bucks 100X the Money game during the holidays. “This will be the first time that we have married two strong core game themes into one Scratcher. Due to the popularity of the Jumbo Bucks and X the Money brands, we believe these will resonate well among our core players. Each game is printed on holographic paper and designed to complement each other at retail,” said James Hutchinson, SVP, Marketing & Promotions, Georgia Lottery.
The Massachusetts Lottery is gambling that an instant ticket offering only low-tier prizes will be a heartwarming proposition. “Holiday Winnings Blowout! is our latest $10 game that offers exclusively $50, $100 and $500 prizes. Our ‘Blowout’ games have been extremely successful and we expect considerable demand for ‘Holiday Winnings Blowout’ as we have not launched a ‘Blowout’ ticket since last October,” said Lauren Luttrell, Instant Tickets Product Manager, Massachusetts Lottery.
The Arizona Lottery is drafting a crowd favorite to be part of its holiday lineup. “Instead of creating a new $20 holiday Scratcher ticket, we took key learnings from other states and transitioned our Arizona Gold ($20) right into the holiday campaign,” said Chris Rogers, Deputy Director, Products & Marketing, Arizona Lottery. The full holiday lineup also includes a $1, $2, $3, $5 and $10 scratcher ticket.”
The Connecticut Lottery Corp. (CLC) decided to expand its holiday offerings beyond “gift-giving” games. “It has been a while since we included winter-themed games as well. This year, we are including a $2, $3 (extended play) and a $10 winter-themed game set to launch in mid-November,” said Pete Donahue, Senior Director, Marketing, CLC. “We proactively got the word out to our LSRs and retailers so they’d know in advance and they would be aware of the full holiday/winter mix.”
Focusing on at-home gift giving should provide a good sales environment for Louisiana Lottery. “Our $1 Holiday Gifts and $5 Stocking Stuffer features multiple scenes and are strongly positioned for gift-giving, which is our campaign theme for the year,” said Susan Clayton, Products Director, Louisiana Lottery Corp.
North American lotteries will “wrap” their holiday scratchoff tickets with special effects, including sparkle, holographic paper and olfactory effects.
For instance, two Pennsylvania Lottery instant games will feature a little extra holiday magic with special print features. “Our $1,000,000 Merry Money features a fun, holographic ticket stock that was custom-designed for the Pennsylvania Lottery. For the first time in Pennsylvania, Micromotion™ is adding raised texture to the display area of Tree-Mendous Winnings. Micromotion™ uses coatings on foil paper to create the illusion and feel of motion on the ticket, something we think our players will find extra special this holiday season. Tree-Mendous Winnings is also featured in our TV spot this holiday season,” said Kara Sparks, Director of Products, Pennsylvania Lottery.
The Missouri Lottery will market a ticket which is a unique first-time offer for lottery players. “The game is printed using Clear Play™ technology that really catches the eye, allowing light to shine through to enhance the game’s colors and bright graphics. Our players have also been pleasantly surprised to learn it is made from recyclable material,” said Bill Burton, Instant Product Manager, Missouri Lottery.
Scratch & sniff instant tickets are frequently marketed during the holidays. The Michigan Lottery is selling a $5 Peppermint Payout Deluxe (PPD). “We’ve added ‘Deluxe’ this time around for iteration purposes. Our first PP was a huge success, becoming one of the best-selling $5 instant games ever launched by Michigan Lottery (seasonally adjusted through 11-weeks of sales). PPD evolves the original just a bit as we’ve changed the overall treatment and in-game mechanics to give our players a fresh game yet still capturing the peppermint theme that brought so much joy to our players then, and hopefully this year as well,” said Travis Priest, Printed Products Manager, Michigan Lottery.
California Lottery will launch a suite of four holiday Scratchers®. “Our $5 holiday ticket Peppermint Payout will be the California Lottery’s first scratch ‘n sniff product, and we expect it will provide new appeal and attract a mix of players. In consumer research, Californians loved the retro design of the ticket and found the game highly giftable, Instagram-friendly, and they were excited about ways to package the ticket and feature it in their holiday celebrations,” said Whitney Alderson, Assistant Deputy Director, Marketing, California Lottery.
The Illinois Lottery’s holiday ticket will glitter. “We believe the $20 ticket ($1 Million Merry and Bright) will be the big hit. Scientific Games printed the game with their Sparkle process. It is glistening with Sparkle throughout the ticket art,” said Mike Elwood, Product Manager, Instant Games, Camelot Illinois.
iLottery jurisdictions are cross promoting their holiday scratch and eInstant products. “Our $2 Holiday Gold is enhanced with sparkle paper and features a iLottery crossover promotion,” said Ryan Walters, Scratch Games Manager, Virginia Lottery.
New Hampshire Lottery’s $2 holiday game will feature specialized printing. “Our $2 Frosty Fun could be a big hit as it offers a new style of game play that mimics the play style of the IWG eInstant of the same name (and design). It is also a bigger ticket to allow for the different style of play (6” x 4” vs. 4” x 4”), is landscape orientation, and for the first time we are utilizing Scientific Games’ HD printing,” said Kelley-Jaye Cleland, Chief Product & Program Officer, New Hampshire Lottery.
DC’s Office of Lottery & Gaming is jumping into the holiday season with its new Sleigh Ride to Riches 2nd chance campaign. “With each entry, players will receive a certain number of points, depending on the price point/ticket entered, and go on an interactive sleigh ride to a pool of riches (their final destination),” explained Stephen Cooke, Instant Product Manager, DC Lottery.
This year, Western Canada Lottery Corp. (WCLC) is offering its first holiday themed E-PLAY ticket. “This product is a zing ticket that can be purchased at retail, scratched at home and players can play a linked web-based holiday game on their electronic device to reveal any prizes that may be won on the E-PLAY portion of the ticket,” said Don Coleman, Manager, Big Play Products, WCLC.
Loto-Québec will feature locally-made prizes with a holiday instant game. “This year, the prizes to win in our traditional Cadeau Surprise come from local business; this surely will send a positive message during the holiday season,” said Anne-Marie Voyeur, Director, Products & Development, Loto-Québec.
Higher Price Points
Multiple lotteries believe their $10 holiday ticket will be a runaway success based on current sales trends.
Florida Lottery is selling a holiday Blowout scratch game. “We’ve had unprecedented growth at the $10 price point in the past 18 months since introducing the record-breaking Blowout game, so we knew introducing a limited-edition Holiday Cash Blowout game would undoubtedly be the top performer this season. Our holiday games launched October 26, and in its first week $10 holiday game sales were up 169% from 2019 and 207% over 2018. It was the #2 highest-selling instant game in Florida last week, and we anticipate even more to come after advertising begins and we get further into the holiday season,” said Shelly Gerteisen, Director of Product, Florida Lottery.
Hoosier Lottery will also offer a holiday Blowout ticket. “While we are excited about all of our holiday offerings, we believe that the $10 Holiday Cash Blowout will be this year’s big hit. This is a strong proposition that continues to perform in Indiana, and its the first time we have brought this to life in a holiday offering,” said Jackie Koenig, Product Manager, Hoosier Lottery.
Texas Lottery predicts its $10 Merry Magic game will be the big hit for this holiday season. “Last fiscal year, the $10 price point became the Texas Lottery’s bestselling price point for the first time in our history. I believe this momentum for the $10 price point combined with the Merry Magic artwork, including a holiday ornament hologram at the top of ticket artwork, will make it our #1 holiday game,” said Robert Tirloni, Products Manager for the Texas Lottery.
Colorado Lottery launched its first $10 holiday scratch. “This year we are adding the $10 price point to the holiday mix—as that price point has become extremely strong in Colorado. That game will offer the highest top prize—$250,000 of any holiday game ever,” said Greco.
Washington’s Lottery capitalized on the fun of an oversized ticket for the holidays. “The $10 big ticket continues to be a big seller for the holidays. Players like the extra play value the ticket provides,” said Ron Smerer, Sales & Marketing Director, Washington’s Lottery.
The West Virginia Lottery created a holiday skin of its already popular $10 MONEY BAGS instant ticket. It is called PRIZE INSIDE. It is a ticket pulse. “We wanted to offer a holiday game at $10, but needed to minimize the risk of our smaller print quantities in the state,” said Michael Thaxton, Product Development Manager, West Virginia Lottery.
The higher price points have become very popular for B.C. Lottery Corp. (BCLC). “Of note, our $10 national holiday ticket has seen an increase in sales year over year since it launched five years ago. The year’s $10 Gifts of Gold features a classic gold and red Christmas color palette with no shortage of sparkle,” said Shirley Park, Product Specialist, Instant Games, BCLC.
The Ohio Lottery projects strong sales for its $10 and $20 holiday tickets. “Over the past several months we have seen double digit growth in our higher price point categories. The popularity of these price points, the holiday theme and upcoming advertising will help propel our holiday sales,” said Ron Fornaro, Instant Ticket Product Manager, Ohio Lottery.
The Oregon Lottery is also banking bigger is better. “We feel like the top performer of our Holiday tickets will be our $20 Holiday Party Scratch-it. $20 games have become very popular with our customers and this ticket with its classic winter design and rich colors should sell very well,” said Tina Erickson, Manager, Lottery Products Portfolio, Oregon Lottery.
This year Iowa Lottery released its first-ever $20 holiday ticket called Holiday Wishes. It’s a spotlight game. “It’s our first round ticket, shaped like a holiday wreath,” said Teri Wood, VP, Sales & Marketing, Iowa Lottery.
Everyone knows families come together at the holidays and this is absolutely the case for the lottery industry.
For instance, the Maryland Lottery is marketing the Holiday Luck family. “The tickets, which range in price from $1 to $10, include a holiday theme as well as a multiplier feature, which is a player favorite. Players can multiply their winnings up to $100,000,” said Kate Airey, Director, Product Development, Maryland Lottery & Gaming.
North Carolina Education Lottery (NCEL) is leveraging the popular ‘multiplier’ theme for its holiday family. “We have been successfully running the ‘X the Cash’ family of games for a number of years now, and we wanted to expand this popular concept to our holiday games to try and drive incremental sales this holiday season,” said Randy Spielman, Deputy Executive Director, Product Development & Digital Gaming, NCEL.
Kentucky Lottery Corp. (KLC) predicts its four Holiday Lights scratch-off tickets ($1, $2, $5 and $10) will be the big hit. “It was the resounding winner of our online panel and focus group research over the past 18 months,” said Edie Frakes, VP, Marketing, KLC.
The Kansas Lottery will launch the Holiday Lucky Times mini family of games. “These tickets are eye-catching and feature multipliers that our players gravitate toward,” said Judy Bradley, Instant Product Development Manager, Kansas Lottery.
Other Holiday Strategies
Ontario Lottery & Gaming (OLG) is selling a $20 Countdown, which features 24 games. “Featured in the specialty vertical showcase for our 8”x12” Big Tickets, it will be easy to see 24 DAYS TO CELEBRATE even with some of the protective measures—like plexiglass barriers—our retailers have put in place this year,” said Melissa Turgeon, Product Manager, Instants, OLG.
The Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ALC) did not produce any holiday specific tickets due to concerns around COVID-19. “Instead, we decided to launch the HIT family and position this family as our Holiday line-up,” said Brigitte Porelle Bourque, Product Manager, Scratch, ALC.
Most lotteries typically offer a holiday version of their extended play instant tickets, like Bingo or Crossword.
Nebraska Lottery switched to $3 Jollier Jackpot. “This will replace last year’s $2 offering and be the first extended-play non-Crossword $3 holiday game ever launched by Nebraska Lottery. Lastly, it will diversify our $3 extended play-style and top prize portfolio,” said Brian Griesenbrock, Products Manager, Nebraska Lottery.
New Mexico Lottery is marketing a $1 game called Holiday $25. “The game features more than 4,500 top prizes of $25 and nearly 7,000 $10 prizes. We believe this is the perfect ticket for players to give as a gift,” said Wendy Ahlm, Director, Advertising & Marketing, New Mexico Lottery.