Two back-to-back panels focused on the U.S. lottery industry’s YOY declining sales in fiscal 2020 as a result of the $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot and $700 million Mega Millions rollup in 2018.
In the FY20 Lottery Director Panel, participants were asked how they are attempting to close the sales gap.
“We are looking at the things we can control in our portfolio of games. We are up $6 million in our other games,” said Gretchen Corbin, President & CEO, Georgia Lottery Corp. “Georgia’s iLottery games have grown 100% already but it is still just 1% of sales. There is incredible opportunity for growth. Georgia has a game that we are excited called Cash Pop coming in December. It will be our first game that will be sold both at retail and digital.”
“We have Walmart which is good in itself but we can take that and have discussions with other big box stores,” said Woosley. “The other box stores get FOMO. Kroger is interested in putting lottery in the fuel center. We are looking at everything to get incremental sales. Our sales in Cash Play from progressives went from $1 million to $12 million. We are going back to $1 and $2 price points. I am not going to accept that everybody is down in the lower price points.”
“We do not get a lot of Mega Millions and Powerball winners in Colorado so we revived our in-state lottery game. We are seeing good success for us,” said Tom Seaver, Director, Colorado Lottery. “Players like the idea that they can play and win in Colorado. If you are very dependent on two widely variable bloc lotto games then the only solution to that is to become less dependent on those games. We are launching a four digit game and a monitor game in the state.”
“The silver lining is when the big jackpots occurred is that we had plenty of time to plan. We all knew what was going to happen,” asserted Delacenserie. “We recently introduced Fast Play. We have worked hard to develop Keno in social establishments. We are down 2.5%. I believe we will be back to black by early January . . . Kentucky will launch Cash Pop. The progressive component of Fast Play is doing really well . . . iLottery has a huge upside.”
The panelists on the MUSL Update Panel examined the current economic predicament with the decline in Powerball’s sales in FY20 as well as what steps that the MUSL Development Committee might take. “Last fiscal year we had a $1.6 billion rollup at the same time Mega Millions was at $700 million. This year the players have had some luck hitting us five times to date. As the odds increase so does the volatility of the jackpots. We are in a valley right now. We are off about $900 million. There is about a 5% chance of matching last fiscal year,” explained Bret Toyne, Executive Director, MUSL.
“All of the MUSL lotteries have agreed with the need to look for new options,” stressed Svitko, who chairs the MUSL Development Committee. “That is a great start. Nothing is off the table for the Development Committee. We have to manage expectations. Not every year can be above average, by definition. We have to communicate that to our stakeholders. We have to look at everything. We need to talk about everything, including selling outside of U.S. borders, such as the U.K. with Camelot.”
The big issue is reaching consensus. “The Development Committee has a couple of levers it can pull—price points, matrix change. We are going to need more support; we need votes to make courageous changes to Powerball,” stressed Grief. “This had better be the time we make changes. It is at least 18 months out to get something implemented.”
Robert Tirloni, Products Manager, Texas Lottery also provided a brief rundown on game initiatives developed by the Development Subcommittee.
“We believe that the PowerSpin instant game was a way to expand the Powerball brand, which is in the MUSL Strategic Plan. Last year was a great year for Powerball. When things are going good, people are less open to new ideas,” said Tirloni.
– Bishop Woosley, Director, Arkansas Lottery
– Tom Seaver, Director, Colorado Lottery
– Gretchen Corbin, President & CEO, Georgia Lottery Corp.
– Tom Delacenserie, President & CEO, Kentucky Lottery Corp.
– Moderator: Terri Markle, Publisher, La Fleur’s Magazine