US Lottery Sector Hit $77 Billion in 2018
The official lottery sector in the USA hit a record of $77 billion in 2018 and it’s set to grow even larger this year, driven largely by the growth of online lotto sales.
Online lottery is driving lotto sales in the USA
Despite their huge popularity today, lotteries are a relatively new innovation in the USA. The first official lottery was launched in Puerto Rico in 1934, although it was 30 years before the first state lottery launched in New Hampshire in 1964. This created a model for the lotteries that operate in 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, today.
In terms of national lottery games, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont launched the first multi-state lottery in 1985, paving the way for the launch of Lotto America, the game that would eventually become Powerball, three years later. Mega Millions, then known as ‘The Big Game’ was launched in 1996.
Today there are official lottery operators in 42 US states, all of which also offer Powerball and Mega Millions tickets via their lotto retail networks. Eight states – Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming – remain without an official lottery operator, although this could change in the future.
Big jackpots and online sales are key to future lottery growth
In addition to the huge jackpots of official US lotteries, with Mega Millions hitting $1.6 billion in 2018, the main driver of current growth is online lottery sales. Illinois became the first state lottery to go online in 2012, and it has since been joined by Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
Following the 2018 Supreme Court case that legalised gambling, more states are already looking at the introduction of online lottery sales, with Oregon expected to be next in line, closely followed by West Virginia and Rhode Island.
Online sales can boost lottery revenue by 30%
Experience in other countries, such as the UK, shows that online lottery sales can boost revenues for official operators by up to 30%, which clearly demonstrates the potential for growth in the US marketplace.
The only conundrum for US state lottery operators is whether to develop their own iLottery platform from scratch or partner with an established online lottery business such as LOT.TO to provide the infrastructure they need in order to offer online lottery sales.