Canadian lotteries’ scratch ticket sales increased 16% to C$3 billion in FY21 (ended March 31), up from C$2.7 billion in FY22.
Nearly half way through FY22, Canadian lottery marketers vary in their assessment for scratch tickets’ growth potential due to the impact of COVID.
“We are currently on track to hit budget, which means we will finish the year approximately 10% over FY21,” said Brigitte Porelle Bourque, Product Manager, Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ALC).
“As per our last budget, we are hoping to hit a 10% increase over last year, which was an excellent performance,” said Anne-Marie Voyer, Director of Products & Development at Loto-Québec.
But other provincial lotteries believe FY22 instant sales may decline over FY21’s record performance.
“Casinos re-opened in our province in July 2021, and this coupled with the typical summer slowdown has cut into the positive variance to LY for instant ticket sales. For our latest re-forecast, we are projecting a -14% decline in instant ticket sales in FY22 as compared to where we finished in FY21. FY21 was a banner year for Instant ticket sales due to COVID. However, this projection would be a 5% increase vs. FY20 results,” said Gladys Primeau, Category Manager, Instant Games, BCLC.
“Zing (brand name for scratchers) sales continue to be strong through the start of FY22 and are trending 5% higher than record pre-COVID levels, but 5% below last year,” echoed Don Coleman, Manager, Big Play Products, WCLC.
In fiscal 2021, BCLC ranked #1 with a 24% year-over-year increase in instant sales, followed by WCLC (19%), OLG (15%) and Loto-Québec (12%). ALC’s instant sales were down -3% in FY21.
ALC leapt into the summer with ads featuring its new Woof & Meow instant tickets. “We have a social, audio and video presence in market,” said Emma Laffin, Corporate Marketing Strategist, ALC. The slogan plays with the feline focus of the ad: “Love to Scratch? Your ticket is waiting.”
Its strategy for this fall is to focus on its Jackpot Family contest. Robust marketing support will promote the November 30 draw for the game’s growing online jackpot.
“In addition to Jackpot Family, we will have additional advertising in-market to support our Always On Annual campaign. First, we will focus on Crossword, $2 Million Extreme, then move into our holiday campaign with our $25 Holiday Giftpack,” said Laffin.
BCLC is launching a few games in September with its usual cadence. “Christmas is a very important time for our category, and we typically launch a lot of holiday tickets, so we don’t want to flood the market prior to that. Starting in mid October, we will be launching the first phase of five Christmas tickets, followed by the remaining six tickets at the end of October,” said Primeau.
Loto-Québec’s instant strategy is consistent throughout the year. “We focus on one to two star products which benefit from high visibility, and more targeted games that have a different reach among specific groups of players. For the fall, MEGA 360 (LQ’s take on The Big Spin) is our back-to-school star product. In October, we are launching our first charitable product. This will be a first for LQ and we are very proud and excited about it. Christmas hits the shelves quite early each year; we are launching the first holiday-themed products mid-October,” said Voyer.
WCLC is focused on its participation in the National JACKPOT family of tickets and 2ND CHANCE CONTEST offering. “As well this autumn, WCLC will be launching two exciting licensed games, $3 UNO and $5 BLOCK-O and a $20 spotlight game $2 MILLION EXTREME,” said Coleman.
The biggest instant games in the Canadian marketplace tend to be Crossword, extended play and National instants.
“Atlantic Lottery’s biggest brand continues to be Crossword, which we offer at five different price points. Crossword represents approximately 33% of our total instant sales for ALC,” said Bourque.
“Crossword is a very large brand for us in B.C. and our players love their Crossword games,” seconded Primeau. “It makes up about 25% of all sales for Scratch & Win tickets. We offer games at the $2, $3, $5, and $10 price points year-round, and also launch a $20 Crossword Extreme ticket in April, which is in market for roughly 26 weeks. On the $3 Super Crossword, we also feature a digital Crossword game that players can access from their paper ticket, although any prizes that can be won are tied into the validation of the scratch ticket.”
“In terms of sales performance, National higher-priced points tickets, extended play and our lineup of permanent games (Crossword, Scrabble, Gagnant à Vie!, etc.) are our top sellers and well-known brands. Other price points have a different role in the portfolio, but a very important one: image and notoriety,” said Voyer.
WCLC’s biggest Zing games include $5 The Big Spin, $10 The Bigger Spin, $30 Triple Millions, $20 20X Multiplier and $20 Player’s Choice Mega Pack. Its largest staple games include Crossword, Set For Life, Lucky Lines, Blackjack and The Western.