The past decade has witnessed a 3% decrease in sales for in-state lotto games across America. The continuing durability of national lotto games such as Powerball and Mega Millions and jackpot fatigue are partially responsible. But despite dwindling sales, state lotto games still have a solid place in the market. Scientific Games is driving great results for lotteries with its expertise in the instant win experience.
According to draw games expert Leslie Badger, VP of Systems Marketing and Game Content for Scientific Games, state lotto games are a smaller but critical part of the overall portfolio. “They have some of the most loyal followers out there,” she notes. “Games like Tri-state Megabucks and Dakota Cash have been synonymous with their respective lotteries for years and continue to have dedicated fan bases.”
To help revive state lotto games, Badger recommends emphasizing locality by promoting that the winner is usually a resident. “They’re a great counterpoint to national lotto games. Players like to know winners are in their state,” Badger said.
Another way to promote locality is with second-chance prizes with local tie-ins. “Tie-ins, like local trips and events, distinguish state lotto games from big national jackpot games,” she said.
Progressive jackpots can also enhance the overall winning experience for players. Badger points to Fast Play games as an example of how smaller progressive jackpots can still be effective, even while on sale during a $20 million national jackpot. “Players get excited when a progressive jackpot jumps from $50,000 to $80,000 in two days,” she observes. “They’ll say, ‘Wow, this game is going to hit soon!’ The upward potential of this category is very promising.”
Since converting to Scientific Games’ systems in October 2022, the Vermont Lottery’s Fast Play category sales have doubled compared to the previous 52 weeks – Powerball is the only terminal-generated game currently outselling FastPlay, partially due to the recent $2 billion jackpot.
Lotteries can add instant win components to small draw games, a successful strategy Scientific Games is bringing to its customers – proven by Pennsylvania’s Cash 5 revamp. Embedding a non-optional instant win opportunity appeals to players who are looking for more excitement.
Using multipliers as features can also improve the lotto experience for players. Instead of using a group or common multiplier, each ticket could have its own unique multiplier from a range of options. “One player might get a 2X multiplier on their ticket. Another player might get a 3X,” Badger said. “Players get excited about the chance to triple their prize even before the draw takes place.”
To reinvigorate state lotto games, lotteries must consider increasing the payouts. “You have to increase overall sales to justify the higher payout,” she notes. “It doesn’t work if you are simply rewarding existing player purchase behavior.”
One way to do this is to increase the price point. “Players don’t mind moving up price points, but they do want to see more entertainment value,” she observes, pointing to the instant scratch game category where higher price points are on the rise.
State lotto games remain in the portfolio, even though sales have declined. By making them more local and offering progressive and instant win prizes, Scientific Games is helping lotteries distinguish state lotto games from national games to appeal to players looking for better odds. The key is to give these games new focus and strategy, which could help to revive their fortunes.
High Jackpots Drive iLottery
As lotto evolves, online sales play an increasingly important role in its growth. According to Badger, high jackpots are one of the best tools for player acquisition, with more people buying games online for convenience where permitted.
“When there are high jackpots, more players come to the games via iLottery,” Badger notes. “However, it’s critical to engage with these new players with effective CRM tools and strategies. New players who sign up for iLottery during a large jackpot are very likely to try another product if it is familiar to them, such as a licensed brand. Our Marketing teams provide personalized messaging and incentives to try other lottery games. Our CRM program delivers personalized messaging through email and push notifications, keeping them engaged and trying other products even after the big jackpot hits.”
With three multi-state jackpots exceeding $1 billion in the past year online sales have surged, offering players the convenience of buying games from home or on the go via mobile. But Badger believes online lotto games should have additional features to differentiate them from their retail versions. “There should be an instant win component when you buy Powerball online, or an opportunity for something else you can’t get at retail,” she suggests. “Beyond scratch games, we’re adding instant win to digital games and players are loving it.”
Lotto games are well-positioned for continued expansion in the coming years. As Badger notes, the industry must continue innovating to keep up with consumers’ changing preferences and purchasing habits.