Cindy Polzin, Director, Wisconsin Lottery
That is the question on all American's minds! I believe normal will be redefined. We are all becoming more technology savvy working at home and those skills might drive consumer behavior in the future. The Lottery will need to get there faster. Lotteries like Wisconsin need to be cashless. We have made several attempts at this in the past but in the post-coronavirus world we hope to be successful. Additionally, we need to get into the electronic games world.
Wisconsin's scratch games are holding their own. We have seen a significant decrease in Lotto sales. We are watching sales and trends closely in order to project next year's sales. People may continue to seek at-home entertainment. Scratch tickets may be part of that equation.
Sales of Wisconsin Lottery Scratch Games were up 29.1% in April 2020 compared to April 2019 ($52,627,006). This year, FY20 YTD prior to April, average monthly scratch sales were $38,309,660. April 2020 was 37% higher than that. With other avenues for entertainment closed, demand for scratch tickets has been high since mid-March. Since Lottery is sold in two of the retail channels that remained open throughout the pandemic, c-stores and grocery stores, our products remained in front of customers. Furthermore, Lottery players likely see scratch tickets as an entertainment option and a little break from the day that they can safely enjoy at home. While it is difficult to speculate on what the future holds, we hope that we can retain many of the new players who have discovered Wisconsin Lottery games recently.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe the importance of Lottery to retailers was highlighted. In the future, we hope retailers will be more supportive of legislative initiatives like allowing debit card use in purchasing Lottery tickets and participate in more Lottery short term incentives and limited time offers. As a Lottery, we've always felt an appreciation for retailers but it has heightened during this pandemic. They are on the front line servicing our players.
We will need to be prepared and ready to show the advantages of Lottery initiatives. The most important factor will be information on funds that would be available if the initiatives are implemented.
People will not have the disposable income they once had. There will be more competition for that dollar. We will need to meet the market demands and produce products that our legacy and newly acquired players want. Some large advertising and marketing channels, such as large in person events and sports sponsorships, may not be something we can count on to reach players. We will need to explore other ways to reach players.