Share this

Wizard Recommends

  • 300% + 100 Free Spins Play
  • $11000 Welcome Bonus Play
  • $3000 Welcome Bonus Play
Last Updated: June 25, 2021

On This Page

Year-to-Year Comparisons

Introduction

If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out our webpage that compares the average loss-per-resident for the lotteries of all of the state in the U.S., then we would highly recommend that you hop on over and take at how the lottery sucks.

As you can see, we wanted to do an apples-for-apples comparison for all of the state lotteries listed on that page, and for that reason, we decided to use Fiscal Year 2019 data as frequently as possible. The reason that we picked that particular year is because it was pre-Covid, so we anticipated that various states might have different results for FY20 based on how strict the lockdowns in the various states were due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the lottery kept going throughout the year 2020, many lottery retailers were shut completely down for parts of the year in the states with the most strongest lockdowns. For example, bars, restaurants and tobacco shops frequently double as lottery retailers in the State of Pennsylvania, but those establishments found themselves shuttered for approximately three months as they were considered non-essential.

In the case of Pennsylvania, lottery sales would mostly continue at gas stations and grocery stores, but given the shutdowns of unrelated non-essential businesses (such as clothing and non-food, non-pharmacy retail stores) people weren’t travelling as much. When people do not travel as frequently, they do not tend to stop at the gas station as frequently---when they do not stop at the gas station as frequently, they do not have as many opportunities to buy lottery tickets.

We think you see where this is going.

Secondly, many residents in various states across the country were faced with economic uncertainty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to not knowing what would happen to the broader economy, when and if a vaccine might come out and when the bans on travel might be lifted...we, as a country (and really a world) faced an uncertain economic future. That uncertainty might make people less inclined to play the lottery, or visit casinos, in general.

Residents of the states with the strongest lockdowns likely felt the most uncertainty as Covid-19 disrupted their, “Normal lives,” moreso than it might have for residents of other states. The residents in states with full-scale restaurant shutdowns would also have been more likely to suffer a layoff or a furlough as a result.

With that, we are going to compare lottery revenues in those states for which data is available.

The Multistate Paradox:

The multi-state lottery has something of a paradox, as we can see here by looking at the historical jackpot amounts for one lottery in particular-Powerball.

The way that Powerball works is that the jackpot increases for every drawing as long as there is no winner of the, “Grand Prize.” The increases to the Powerball jackpot are mostly player-banked, which means that a percentage of all tickets purchased are going to contribute to the next jackpot if there is no winner for the current jackpot.

That usually works quite well as long as you have people who are regularly buying tickets. However, many Powerball (and Mega Millions) participants are only particularly inclined to play provided that the jackpot is, “High enough,” which differs from person to person. What could you do with 100 million dollars that you couldn’t do with fifty million? I have no idea, but some Powerball players could probably tell you. 

The huge jackpots also frequently result in, “Office pools,’ taking place by which each participant will contribute x number of dollars and those in the pool agree to split any winnings. These office pools sometimes only take place when the jackpot is high, or in the alternative, office pool players might agree that they should each contribute more to purchase more tickets, and therefore, have an infinitesimally better chance at hitting the top jackpot. 

“Two tickets doubles our chances!” Yes. They are doubled from virtually nothing to double virtually nothing...you’re going to have to double your chances many times over before they could even be meaningfully represented on a basic calculator. 

The point of all of this is that, for jackpot amounts to grow exponentially, you have to have a pretty huge jackpot to begin with (that would entice players to play) that misses and thereby contributes more to the jackpot. 

Both the Powerball and Mega Millions had a jackpot hit within two months of the start of the lockdowns. Ouch. 

Therefore, we expect to see that Drawing Ticket sales (overall) and specifically those for multi-state lottery are going to be way down for 2020. 

We have a little bit of work to do with our chart linked above. The first thing that we are going to do is eliminate all state lotteries that did not differentiate Instant Ticket Sales from Drawing Ticket Sales. Our second step is that we are going to eliminate the, “Loss Per Resident,” column because, even though that was the subject matter for our study linked above, we are only concerned about gross revenues for this study---not prizes. 

That leaves us with this for FY19:


 

Ticket Sales by States

STATES

Instant Ticket Sales (2019)

 Drawing Ticket Sales (2019)

Arkansas

407.83M

107.67M

California

5.1708B

2.2173B

Colorado

443.41M

236.37M

Connecticut

736.44M

504.1M

Delaware

79.81M

116.5M

Florida

4.9378B

2.2135B

Idaho

219.11M

68.8M

Indiana

974.88M

372.87M

Iowa

250.64M 

129.38M

Kentucky

741.06M

462.38M 

Louisiana

225.57M

298.39M

Maine

224.64M

74.816M

Maryland

812.4M

1.3846B

Massachusetts

3.6739B

1.8347B

Michigan

1.6555B

2.2419B

Minnesota

435.27M

201.54M

Missouri

1.0285B

437.53M

Montana

18.531M

41.723M

New Hampshire

250.48M

133.89M

New Jersey

1.9305B

1.5518B

New Mexico

74.941M

68.69M

New York

4.2267B

3.9814B

North Carolina

1.9089B

950.76M

Ohio

1.663B

1.6977B

Oklahoma

135.97M

105.73M

Oregon

131.24M

250.02M

Rhode Island

102.91M

160.36M

South Carolina

1.4504B

530.5M

South Dakota

32.234M

30.708M

Tennessee

1.4489B

363.73M

Texas

4.8456B

1.4059B

Virginia

1.2219B

1.0716B

Washington

523.8M

279.4M

West Virginia

115.6M

84.501M

Wisconsin

451.3M

261.8M

Wyoming

N/A

36.860M

Okay, so that’s going to be our starting point and states that we will attempt to compare for 2019 and 2020 numbers. Additionally, if we can find some quarterly revenue breakdowns, then we are going to maybe have an opportunity to see how shutdown-specific times went.

Instant Tickets:

The two bits of good news for Instant Tickets are that sales do not tend to be jackpot dependent, and they also have Instant Ticket dispensing terminals (in many states) which means that no contact with another person is required. Some of those machines also dispense drawing tickets, but once again, you run into the jackpot problem.

Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania is going to go first not because we have suddenly forgotten the alphabet, but because the state does not differentiate Drawing Games from Instant Tickets on its Annual Report, therefore, we did not have easy access to full-year data for 2019 aside from the overall total of ticket sales and prizes paid out.

We probably could have put it together using Quarterly Reports, but really, it should be the lottery’s responsibility to release at least a semi-comprehensive and easy-to-find Annual Report for the purposes of transparency. That’s actually the entire reason that we engaged in the study that we did in the first place, NOT to focus on lottery sales, but to make it evident how much money individual citizens of states were actually LOSING, on average, each year.

Fortunately for us, the state actually did release a comparative data report for the two periods, though it was not part of the actual Annual Report.

Let’s take a look at what we have for 2020 v. 2019 in terms of a few different categories of games as well as overall lottery sales:


 

Ticket Sales by Type

Game Type

Sales 2019

Percent of Sales

Sales 2020

Percent of Sales

Instant

2,989,692,745

66.39%

3,203,205,926

71.67%

Fast Play

102,734,076

2.3%

103,261,400

2.29%

Drawing

1,109,852,718

24.83%

1,363,679,943

30.28%

ALL SALES

4,469,473,516

-

4,503,328,678

Granted, it doesn’t seem like an absolutely ridiculous disparity, but that’s more than a 250 million dollar difference in drawing ticket sales. Perhaps worse for the lottery is the fact that drawing ticket sales account for most of the disparity---and the lottery makes more in profits on those than they do Instant Tickets. 

The overall prize liability is within a half million dollars for both years, so we can probably conclude that the state may have made the overall return on instant tickets worse than it once was. Normally, you wouldn’t want to switch your revenue source from drawing tickets to Instant tickets as Instant Tickets tend to have a better return-to-player, though both are still terrible.

Arkansas:

The first state that we will look at is Arkansas, and for state lockdown measures, we will be leaning on the information of state reopening.

So, we want to give big props for supplying this data for our study. 

Arkansas was fairly middle-of-the-road when it came to Covid safety measures. Many different types of activities, such as restaurant dining, were curtailed to pick-up only for a time. However, this was one state that did not have any stay-at-home orders for residents whatsoever. Additionally, this state also did not restrict travel (usually from one state to the other) in any way. 

Certain eateries aside, this would mean that the lottery basically operated as normal during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic and, if any residents curtailed their lottery spending at all, it was not because lottery retailers were suddenly unavailable to them. For comparative data, we will now take a look at the 2020 Annual Lottery Report.

As we see, similar to Pennsylvania above, Instant Ticket sales went up pretty substantially and more than covered the revenue losses from the dip in drawing ticket sales. (See chart below) Drawing ticket sales had a huge drop off, but that’s mostly due to plummeting numbers in multi-state lottery where the purchase habits of the states all work together to beef up the jackpots. In other words, reduced spending in just one state can have a marginal impact on all of them, and reduced spending in many states will have an impact on all of them for those types of jackpots.

Specifically, Powerball sales in the state dropped from 34.16M for the year 2019 to 20.53M for the year 2020, which is clearly one hell of a decrease. Going from 33.55M in sales in 2019 to 16.86M in 2020, Mega Millions ticket sales declined by almost 50% for the year.

It is clear that these two games were detrimentally impacted by the state-to-state shutdowns and also by there being not much in the way of eye-popping jackpots (relatively speaking) for the year, which are two things that kind of work hand-in-hand. The fewer people who are buying tickets, the less that the jackpots go up.

Other drawing games in the state either held relatively steady, or actually managed to gain. For example, Cash 3 sales went from 7.677M in 2019 to 9.060M in 2020. Unfortunately, other drawing ticket sales represent only a percentage of total drawing ticket sales which, in many states, rely heavily upon Mega Millions and Powerball doing well.

California:

California was one of the strictest states when it came to stay-at-home orders and only allowed people to leave their homes for essential travel for a period of many months. Additionally, California was one of the few states to have fines and potential jail time for those willfully disobeying the stay-at-home orders who refused to go home when confronted.

In terms of travel restrictions, you weren’t restricted from leaving the state, per se, but those coming in from out-of-state were expected to quarantine themselves for a period of 14 days during the better part of 2020. Bar and restaurant shutdowns were widespread, with some counties ordered to shutdown directly from the Governor and still other cities, counties and towns choosing to shutdown such establishments of their own accord.

Due to the stay-at-home limitations, many residents of the state found themselves traveling far less frequently, which as we stated before, means using less gas and having to fuel up more infrequently. As a result, such residents would find themselves at lottery retailers less frequently. Unfortunately, the 2020 Fiscal Year report will not be released until later this month (we can presume, as that is when they are usually released), so we will update the table below at that time.

Colorado:

Colorado mainly left any stay-at-home orders up to localities, but did issue potential penalties in the event that residents failed to comply with local directives. There were shutdowns of bars, restaurants and movie theaters in the state, due to the concerns associated with indoor transmission of the disease, but statewide shutdowns did not last quite as long as those of some other states.

Similarly to the stay-at-home orders, counties and cities could issue stricter guidelines than those that were adopted for the state as a whole. That actually makes sense because the state of Colorado can vary widely when it comes to the population density within a given locale. While you have major metropolitan areas such as Denver, some regions of the state are relatively isolated, particularly up in the mountains.

There was actually a restriction on this state as relates private indoor gatherings, the most strongest of which was such that you could only have a total of up to ten people gathered from no more than two combined households. This would eventually be increased to three households before being eliminated, but it would seem to us that there wouldn’t really be much of a way to enforce those measures. Are they going to go house to house?

While there was a mask mandate in place from the start of the year that extended into 2021, this state had no travel restrictions for out of state travel and no restrictions that we could find that would apply to those entering the state from elsewhere.

We can find a summary of the state’s sales numbers.

Fortunately, for the lottery anyway, the drop off in drawing ticket sales of a little under seventy million dollars was partially offset by Instant Ticket revenues gains of a little over 47 million dollars. This would result in 2020 being the state lottery’s best year, with 2019 reflecting the only one that was better. Of course, the lottery relatively got hammered as not only did they lose some revenues overall, but as is well-known, Instant Tickets almost universally have a better return-to-player than do multi-state lottery games. 

In any event, we can clearly see that the year was not a total disaster for the state. 

Connecticut:

The state technically had a statewide stay-at-home order for two months of 2020, but as far as we can tell, there were no specific penalties for violating it. Travel guidelines in the state did not apply to their own residents specifically, but did apply if you were coming from out of state. People travelling into Connecticut may or may not have to quarantine in the event that they were coming from a state with a certain percentage of infected residents within a particular period of time...whether or not this applied depended on what state you were coming from. 

Businesses closed in late-March, unless they were considered essential and began to reopen in June. By late June, all restaurants had been reopened, though occupancy restrictions were in place. Bars were still closed at this time and would remain that way for the majority of the year.

The 2020 Fiscal Year Report.

Instant ticket sales would see a modest increase of a little over 20.5M while drawing ticket sales would plummet more than triple that on Multi-state lottery. The chart below does not compare all drawing ticket sales because Keno was included in drawing tickets in arriving at the 2019 numbers, though we did highlight the significant decline in multi-state lottery sales for the year. Daily Number Drawing games saw extremely modest gains and other game types moved by a rounding error either way.

Delaware:

Delaware had one of the most strict stay-at-orders in the country that extended from the end of March all the way until June 1st. Beyond that, almost all business types were reopened at June 1st with occupancy restrictions that would increase and decrease as the year went on. Similar to Pennsylvania, some of the strictest restrictions came during the month of December with the goal of curtailing how many people were gathered indoors in advance of the Christmas season.

When it comes to in-state and out-of-state travel restrictions, perhaps surprisingly, the State of Delaware did not have any in place whatsoever. People could freely come and go from the state without having to subject themselves to a quarantine. Of course, that was true at the state level, so it’s possible that counties and municipalities put their own rules in place.

While the full annual report for FY20 has not been released, we can find the audit of basic financials.

As you will see in the chart below, Instant Ticket sales gains were basically offset by the losses in drawing ticket sales. That will especially be true on the basis of revenue when one considers that Instant Tickets generally have a better return to player than do drawing tickets, so we expect the overall set to come out in the wash.
 

In addition to Limited Video Lottery terminals, the Delaware Lottery also oversees the casinos in the state and a percentage of those gaming revenues goes to them. The Delaware Lottery take on Limited Video Lottery dropped about 66.7M, Table Games revenue for the lottery dropped 15.8M, and finally, sports lottery dropped by 55.4M. 

You could expect to see similar results in other states, especially those with strict lockdown measures, when it comes to casino revenues. In fact, it is very likely that we will release a future project that does a state-by-state comparison on casino revenues during Covid-19 as compared to the year prior. 

Florida:

Florida had a stay-at-home order in place, despite the perception that the state did virtually nothing to combat Covid-19. This stay at home order was targeted, which means that it all came down to who you were. Specifically, those defined by the state as, “Elderly,” were required to stay home for all but essential travel during the month of April. This restriction also included people with serious medical conditions, with the latter group seeing an extension of the order. 

While this stay-at-home order was technically a mandate, the state did not actually put into place any penalties for those who might violate the order. Essentially, what it really amounted to was a very loosely implemented guideline, which this writer thinks is as it should be.

Early in the pandemic, the media had an absolute fit about all of the Spring Break events that were going on at the beaches in the state, though it was later found that Covid is not terribly likely to spread outdoors even with minimal precautions, much less would it lead to any sort of mass extinction event as some people had feared. Still, this got many Floridiana effectively banned from other states, or forced to quarantine immediately, not that they would have really wanted to leave Florida (for the most part) anyway.

With serious business shutdowns taking place in other states during the cold and rainy seasons, if nothing else, people probably wanted to go to Florida, not leave it.

Most retail establishments would open in the early part of June with some guidelines in place, however, bars soon got themselves reclosed due to a failure to comply with various restrictions---most of them related to occupancy. Again, with beaches and great weather and not much to do inside in other states---Florida became an even more desirable destination than usual.

Some cities and counties had stricter mandates, but in the second half of the year, the state’s Governor actually ORDERED that all businesses could reopen with a MINIMUM 50% capacity regardless of what the locality wanted to do. It was typically state Governors closing places that caught some flak from the public, but this guy caught some for overruling County Health Departments!

Finally, the state did not restrict travel at all.

The Florida Lottery would go on to have its best year ever in terms of overall revenue with the decline in drawing ticket sales being more than offset by the gains in Instant Ticket Sales. They absolutely crushed it on Instant Ticket gains and actually managed to transfr more to the state Government than they had been able to do in Fiscal Year 2019. Other than the drawing ticket sale dropoffs, these were across the board gains...and those dropoffs were almost entirely multi-state lottery games.

Idaho:

Perhaps surprisingly, Idaho did issue a stay-at-home order for all but nonessential travel from late-March to late-April. The reason we consider this surprising is that not only is it a red state, but it’s also a state with among the lowest population density in the entire country. It’s really just not a generally difficult state in which to socially distance.

Idaho stayed relatively open during the pandemic with only Boise announcing any measures that went over and above the Stage Three restrictions that were in place for the first part of the3 year. Bars and nightclubs would temporarily find themselves closed in the late part of November, but in many rural parts of the state, that was basically ignored.

The state also didn’t have any mask mandates whatsoever, and it could be argued that maybe it should have, because then the infection rate might not have been sufficient to justify moving backwards in the plan to fully reopen at various points in the year. This state also didn’t have any restrictions that would prevent its residents from leaving, prevent othersd from coming in or that would require those entering the state to either isolate or quarantine.

Unfortunately, Idaho publishes its Annual Report December of every year for the previous year, which means that the 2019 Annual Report is the most recent study and no numbers for 2020 are readily available at this time. For that reason, we will have to update the chart below with that information towards the end of the year.

Indiana:

Indiana declared an emergency disaster and issued a stay-at-home mandate accordingly that was in effect from the end of March 2020 until about the middle part of May. The actual enforcement of the order was essentially left up to the localities and the state Government did not actually proscribe any specific penalties for violating this particular guideline.

The state never had any restrictions on travel either into or out of the state. If you came in from out of state, you were not expected to go into isolation or quarantine for any particular amount of time.

While the state would eventually issue a mask mandate, they did not do so until November of 2020, which is well after the cat was out of the bag on masks actually being somewhat helpful in lessening the frequency with which the virus was transmitted. Please do not send us any hate E-Mail on this one, we’re not saying that the masks are excellent overall and are taking no political position here, we are simply saying that they did accomplish more than nothing.

The Hoosier State would actually reopen earlier than most other states that even did a shutdown to begin with, with most establishments coming back online in April. Even large gatherings of up to 250 people were authorized to take place in June, but were then later modified such that an event plan had to be submitted in advance. Individual cities and counties might have enacted stronger restrictions than these, but this was about it at the state level.

This lottery would still enjoy its second-best year (the best being 2019) as we can see from the report.

 In terms of revenues, the loss of about 81.7M in Drawing ticket revenue was more than offset by gains of nearly 120M in Instant Ticket revenue. In pure revenue terms, this WAS the lottery’s best year. However, Instant Ticket returns to player tend to be slightly better than those of drawing games, particularly multi-state huge jackpot drawing games, so they actually saw a slightly lower amount of lottery win despite the gross increase in sales. 

Either way, the pandemic sure didn’t stop the average lottery player from going out and buying those tickets. We imagine that some folks probably have a certain budget for lottery spending and buy these multi-state lottery tickets if the jackpot is big enough, if not, it could be assumed that some of them probably default to instant tickets. 

Iowa:

Iowa was not one of the states to issue a stay-at-home order of any kind, though it was one to close many businesses that were considered non-essential, such as restaurants for indoor dining, nightclubs and bars. 

Believe it or not, the first official round of closures lasted for little more than a month and all of the establishments were allowed to reopen without any occupancy restrictions. Down the line, some occupancy restrictions would be put on certain businesses and certain bars and nightclubs, starting in late August, were made to close for a few weeks in a few of the state’s most populous counties.

It seems that this state had an outlook by which it wanted to do just as much as it felt that the situation demanded and, if it was going to err at all, would err on the side of keeping things open. Additionally, even the closures that happened after April made an effort to be highly targeted to those densely-populated areas in which these establishments might conceivably be having a detrimental impact on the spreading of the virus.

There was a mask mandate that pertained to all indoor places of business and also to gatherings in which people from different households would be exposed to one another for fifteen, or more, minutes. The state did not enact an official mandate as related to in-state and out-of-state travel, though they did issue an official, though non-enforceable, recommendation that people coming in from out of state isolate for at least fourteen days or isolate for a week and have a negative Covid test.

Unfortunately, the Annual Lottery Report that would cover full-year 2020 is not out yet, so we don’t have much of a basis of comparison for overall numbers. We did look at some of the monthly reports and, from what we can tell, it’s going to be the usual story of Instant Ticket Sales being up and Drawing Ticket sales being down. We can’t claim to know the overall impact on revenue year-over-year just yet, because as you can see in our chart below, states such as Arizona, Florida and Indiana had overall gains anyway on the strength of Instant Ticket Sales increases.

Even in terms of actual Lottery Win, Arizona had its best year ever despite the dropoff in Drawing Ticket Sales. Even though the average return to player is better on Instant Tickets than it is for Drawing Tickets, Instant Ticket sales were simply that strong.

Kentucky:

Technically, Kentucky had a stay-at-home order as an automatic effect of a statewide emergency being declared, but this was basically unenforced and there were no penalties instituted that would have been specific to the Covid-19 pandemic. Kentucky also adopted a targeted approach when it came to out-of-staters coming in, or residents coming from an out-of-state visit: If the state they were arriving from had a rolling positivity rate of 15%, or higher, then the person entering Kentucky was expected to quarantine for 14 days.

However, we can not really find that this restriction was really enforced to any great degree or that there were any specifically codified penalties for violators. Essentially, it amounted to a recommendation.

Businesses would begin to reopen starting the month of June, as far as non-essential businesses were concerned and occupancy restrictions were lifted from all businesses later in the month. Bars and other businesses could all operate as normal until late July at which point bars were closed for a few weeks and indoor capacity restrictions for restaurants were limited to 25%.

Restrictions on bars and indoor dining were reinstituted in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and would remain in place until December, at which point, those establishments were permitted to reopen with occupancy restrictions in place.

Despite being a deep red state, Kentucky was a bit surprising in that they had some of the more strict measures throughout the country. Though a way to quantify it hasn’t really been devised, based on what we have seen so far in this study, we’d have to say that they were actually a bit stricter than average.

The only strange thing about Kentucky was the on-again, off-again nature of what they were doing. They didn’t go all the way early, at least, not for very long and therefore felt the need to go halfway opr most of the way several times throughout the year.

The lottery for this state is going to be a bit tough to gauge, though we will add some numbers to the chart when they come out, due to the fact that the most strictly shutdowns months of the Covid-19 pandemic split the difference between Kentucky’s Fiscal Lottery Years. In other words, some of the shutdown happened during the 2020 FY report (which was part of our previous study because that included 2019) and some of it was during the 2021 FY Annual Report which is yet to be released and hasn’t even fully happened yet.

We will update the chart when more information is known, so stay tuned. Most likely, we will circle back around to this in December when all of the blanks can be filled in at once.

Louisiana:

The State of Louisiana declared a volley of emergency orders related to the pandemic with all penalties that would come by way of not following the guidelines detailed already in the state’s general emergency response orders. In any event, this lasted from the end of March 2020 and went in effect for residents of the state to stay-at-home for all but essential travel for nearly two months. They actually cancelled Mardi Gras.

Most businesses, including bars and restaurants, were permitted to reopen in the early part of June and the only thing that changed from then on forward were occupancy restrictions, which would sometimes be up or down depending on the rate of infected both statewide and nationally. There were no statewide restrictions related to travel, so residents and non-residents alike could come and go as they pleased.

In the meantime, there was a statewide mask mandate, but the parishes (which would be called counties in any other state) basically had the ability for themselves to decide whether or not it was necessary for them. We looked and could not come up with any specific penalty, at least not at the state level, which might come about as a result of refusal to wear a mask.

We don’t have the full Annual Report for this state’s lottery available to us yet, but fortunately, their annual media release is useful enough for our purposes:

What we find is that the year’s instant ticket sales were up a hair over 39M whilst drawing ticket sales dropped by a hair over 54M, so overall revenues for this state lottery were down by about fifteen million dollars.

Perhaps worse than that, the revenues were lost entirely on games that hold more than 50% of all monies bet, so even to the extent that the overall revenue loss was assuaged by the increase to Instant Ticket sales, increases were on games that return more to players and decreases were on the games that return less to the players. In other words, when it comes to lottery win, 2020 was a pretty bad year compared to 2019.

And yet, it remains one of the best years that the lottery has ever had with fewer years even being close by comparison. Even in a pandemic, the lottery can’t lose and most players won’t win.

Maine:

From April 2nd or thereabouts to the end of May, residents faced a stay-at-home order in the State of Maine for all but essential travel. These restrictions actually came with the potential for penalties for violators, but any such enforcement of that would have taken place at the local level, at least, with exception to Government buildings.

In addition to the state having a mask mandate for residents, they actually took it a step further and would, in December of 2020, issue a separate executive order that would require the owners and staff of individual businesses to require that the masks be worn, otherwise, to deny the person entry. We can assume that this was mostly targeted at bars and restaurants, since not only were most retailers making people wear masks anyway, but restaurants and bars were probably the most likely establishments to be lax, figuring that occupants would eventually be removing the masks anyway.

Most businesses and restaurants would reopen in July and remain that way, though with varying occupancy restrictions, for the rest of the year. Bars were once slated to reopen in late July, but the Governor decided to extent the closure for bars when it was determined that states to open bars were seeing upticks in infections. Of course, those states usually opened bars and other venues at the same time, so any such upticks wouldn’t have necessarily been related directly to bars.

Residents of Vermont and New Hampshire faced no travel restrictions into the state, though those who entered from other states were expected to self-quarantine for ten days, unless they could show a negative Covid test that was both recent and prior to their entry into the state of Maine. These out of state visitors would also have to sign a certificate made to certify that they were in compliance with the travel guidelines meant for them.

The lottery for the State of Maine appears to take quite a drubbing compared to 2019, which could have been even worse, except the 2020 Fiscal Year actually only includes a few months of the pandemic with the remainder to be reflected in the 2021 FY Lottery Report. Of course, what we do see in this report reflects the months that were related to the stay-at-home orders, so it still gives a good general idea of what happened.

Instant ticket sales gained by a little over 27M and drawing ticket sales plunged by a little more than 12M. In terms of win, the lottery performed slightly better as overall declines in profits also transpired due to other increases in cost of goods sold. Without those increases, the gains on Instant Ticket Win as opposed to the losses on Drawing Ticket win would have offset one another almost precisely.

Maryland:

Much like bordering Pennsylvania, Maryland did not shy away from issuing Executive Orders and having various restrictions in place that were related to the Covid-19 pandemic. One amusing thing that happened, however, is that Maryland opened their casinos (along with West Virginia) before Pennsylvania did, so you actually saw Maryland casinos buying airtime for commercials on Pennsylvania TV stations.

For example, living in Pittsburgh, I would often see ads for Rocky Gap casino in Maryland on the local news. I literally have to all but directly pass four Pennsylvania casinos to get to Rocky Gap, not to mention that two other casinos in the State of West Virginia are closer to me...but here is this little resort casino property buying airtime on Pittsburgh TV to let us know they are open and waiting for us.

Of course, Governor Wolf was having none of that and was very quick to announce that the state would be enforcing the travel restrictions on those who leave the state and come back. Furthermore, there was actually some talk in the early stages of the pandemic that spoke to the effect that some people might not even be let back into the state!

The point being, Rocky Gap would normally NEVER buy airtime on the Pittsburgh local news. Why would it? Normally, the only way that anyone from around here would want to visit down there is if they were going to the resort for other reasons anyway, not to visit the casino specifically.

From the beginning of April to the end of May, the State of Mryland had a general ban in place that would prevent people from traveling for non-essential reasons. While the state was hardly alone on this one, they were one of the few states that issued pandemic-specific theoretical penalties, including fines up to $5,000 as well as (the mostly idle threat of) jail time, for those traveling for non-essential reasons.

As a state, Maryland would begin the reopening of businesses during the month of June and would slowly open all businesses throughout the month, albeit with occupancy restrictions of 50% normal capacity. The state would not engage in another full shutdown again, although the City of Baltimore would go on to shutdown indoor dining at restaurants as well as close bars for a time later on in the pandemic. Other cities and towns might have done the same, but there weren’t any other specific locales reported on the website that we are citing.

Besides that, Baltimore is by far the biggest city in the State of Maryland, so that makes complete sense. I mean, maybe not the shutdown per se, but that it would be them to do it.

There was actually no ban into or out of state when it comes to travel until December of that year, presumably, to try to make people less likely to travel and gather for Christmas. It’s true, of course, that a pandemic doesn’t take holidays off, but was that really necessary?

Anyway, as of December 17th, out of state visitors, or residents returning from other states, either had to be able to produce a recent negative Covid test, or in the alternative, self-quarantine for ten days. And a Happy New Year!

Masks were required indoors on a statewide basis and outdoors, “When social distancing is not possible.” We assume that means for large venues and things of that nature, certainly the state was not expecting folks to wear masks in city parks and such.

Maryland is another state whose Fiscal Year split the difference of the pandemic, and the FY20 Annual Report is not currently available, but this dispatch.

Is good enough for our purposes. What we find here is that Instant Ticket Sales totaled 852.7M, which is a gain of a little over 40M, but overall lottery sales were down 7M, which means that drawing ticket sales must have plunged by roughly 47M to 1.336B. 

Obviously, since the revenue dropped overall and Instant Tickets universally have a better return to players than drawing tickets, particularly those of multi-state lottery drawing games, the lottery did not make as much in profits as it did for FY2019. Of course, people still have time and money to waste on the lottery, even during a pandemic, so the Maryland State Lottery still had a pretty great year overall. 

Massachusetts: 

Home to Boston, Massachusetts spent two months under a stay-at-home order that pertained to all but essential travel. This order would extend from the late part of March until the middle part of May. While the order was in place, it really was something more akin to a guideline as the state government never came up with any specific penalty for those who would violate it. 

As far as travel restrictions were concerned, essential workers were specifically exempt and anyone else from out-of-state was expected to either self-quarantine for fourteen days, or in the alternative, produce a recent negative test for Covid. There was a list of a few states, including bordering states, who were exempt from these measures. Also included were Washington D. C. as well as some other states who Mass. officials must have felt were doing enough at the Executive level to combat the pandemic, such as California. 

The mask mandates started out a bit unusual in that masks were required anywhere were social distancing could not be maintained, but if it could be maintained, then they weren’t required. While that seems reasonable enough, it means that you didn’t necessarily have to wear ba mask indoors during the early part of the pandemic, only if you couldn’t simultaneously socially distance. Naturally, people often just ditched the masks and ignored the social distancing, so this guideline was modified such that a mask always had to be worn indoors.

Most retailers were allowed to reopen when the stay at home orders ended, but most bars, restaurants and purely recreational places would not start reopening until the month of July, so that certainly took them longer than it did for most other states. Restaurants would finally start to reopen in August with various capacity restrictions for all entertainment-oriented places seemingly changing on a day to day basis.

Honestly, I never thought there would be a place less desirable to visit than Boston (this reflects only the personal tastes and preferences of this writer and not the website as a whole) but the pandemic managed to pull it off. I’m sorry, there’s obviously a ton of history there, but I can’t stand the city and the pandemic enforcement here was ridiculous even compared to Pittsburgh.

Anyway, Massachusetts is another state for which we will have to wait for the most recent Annual Report for the fiscal year to come out as it has not been released. The major lottery report that we linked above already has all the most recent annual report data.

We did find a summary that seemed like a partial summary that was released in June of 2020 and spoke to the 2020 Fiscal Year, but that Fiscal Year had not yet ended at the time that the report says it was released, so we really don’t know what to do with that. As with a few of the other states, we will probably just have to wait until December of this year and fill in the blanks all at once, though surely, you see common threads emerging by now.

Michigan:

Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan sure is a popular gal, isn’t she? Say what you want about her, and it’s not my state so I really don’t have an opinion, but you’ve absolutely got to give it to her for having a thick skin. She takes a lot of crap from various angles.

Michigan is one of the most unique swing states out there because, unlike a moderate-heavy state such as Pennsylvania, it seems that most Michigan residents either bleed blue or bleed red. It simply doesn’t seem that frequent, at least in my experience, that those politically active in the state do not identify VERY strongly with one party or the other. Ohio is also a similar state in that regard, though perhaps with not so many die hard individuals as the State of Michigan has.

In any event, there was a statewide stay-at-home order for a little over two months that started on March 18th, 2020. While the stay at home order effectively banned residents from engaging in any non-essential travel, there were no specific penalties associated for those who might violate the ban. More than that, there were several large gathering in the state during this time, mostly in the form of protests.

At no point did Michigan have any travel restrictions for its residents nor for those coming into the state. Fairly early on, the state adopted a mask mandate that would apply to all indoor settings as well as outdoor settings in which people were closely gathered.

Starting June 8th, restaurants were permitted to reopen for indoor dining. Additionally, most retail establishments would open at this time and other types of businesses, including bars, would shortly follow suit. This would be partially reversed July 1st when bars were closed in lower Michigan for dine-in service. In August, bars and nightclubs would have indoor alcohol sales banned if most of their sales were already alcohol...which makes total sense. Absolutely. Really, it probably just effectively relocated the drinkers to restaurants.

The State Supreme Court would eventually declare that the Governor has exceeded her authority and that most locations should be allowed to reopen. At this point, bars and entertainment venues started to reopen, but were once again ordered to be closed for a few weeks starting in late November. It;s not that the Governor had necessarily exceeded her authority the first time, but was more of a procedural thing in that the state of emergency had technically ended on April 30th, so everything had to be kind of redone.

Wow! What a mess!

The Fiscal Year for this lottery ends in September, so the 2020 Fiscal Year report includes part of the time that reflects the Covid 19 pandemic and also reflects the time during which the stay-at-home orders were active for residents.

Perhaps against all odds, Drawing Game revenues in the State of Michigan did not drop by very much, relatively speaking. As you will see in the chart below, total decline for that game type was only about 23.5M, which seems like a lot, but when you’re dealing with over 2B in revenues, that’s only a slightly over 1% decline. Powerball and Mega Millions declined precipitously, but state drawing games and iLottery (which by itself gained nearly 100M) came pretty darn close to making up the difference.

When you combine that with Instant Ticket Sales increases of more than 350M, a truly staggering sales increase, the overall result is that the Michigan State Lottery had its best year ever. It would seem that Covid can stop a lot of things, but it cannot stop the residents of the state from playing the state lottery---that’ll certainly show Governor Whitmer who’s boss!

She’s the boss, by the way. The answer to, “Who’s the boss?”,is Governor Whitmer.

Minnesota:

Minnesota is tucked up in the northern part of the country and is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, so the good news for them during the pandemic is that there are plenty of outdoor activities at any times during which one is not snowbound. Even then, many residents of this state enjoy outside snowmobiles as well as ice fishing.

Beginning March 17th, there was a stay-at-home order that restricted residents to only engaging in essential travel and that lasted for a period of just under two months. Minnesota wasn’t alone, but was one of the few states to institute theoretical penalties for violation, which included fines of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail for offenders. Enforcement of this would have mostly taken place at the local level.

Masks requirements in the state focused primarily on indoor venues and even had a few exceptions for those people who were working alone in an office, or some similar situation. While many states did not have those specific exceptions, as a practical matter, most individuals would behave as though they did. Seriously, why would you need to wear a mask if in a room by yourself?

The state did not have any restrictions on travel either out of or into the state for either residents or those from other states. No mandatory quarantine time was suggested by the Government even if you were coming in from out of state, but there might have been some individual counties who decided to create their own guidelines in this regard.

With the expiry of the stay at home order, the majority of non-essential businesses were permitted to reopen with the most notable exceptions being restaurants and bars. Those businesses that were allowed to reopen did so with capacity restrictions of 50%. June 10th would see restaurants reopen in the state at 50% capacity whilst gyms and certain other entertainment venues were permitted to reopen at 25%.

There were also certain capacity restrictions on private gatherings that had to do with the total number of people present as well as the number of households represented in any particular private gathering, but these were probably often ignored as they were in many other states.

The 2020 Fiscal Year for the state lottery would see Instant Ticket Sales increase to 519.35M, which reflects an increase of a little more than 84M dollars. Drawing ticket sales would decline by more than 52M to 149.22M, so the overall revenues for the lottery would increase by more than 30M dollars despite some of this FY taking place during the pandemic.

Given the fact that Instant Tickets return better than drawing tickets and that the Drawing Ticket sales declines were centered around the worst breturning tickets, namely POwerball and Mega Millions, gross profits would decline for FY20 by about 342k dollars, but for a lottery of this size, that’s basically a rounding error. In essence, 2020 was not much different than 2019 overall and would have been much better had drawing ticket sales remained the same. Mega Millions sales dropped by almost half and Powerball sales would plummet by more than a third of the 2019 FY numbers.

Missouri:

The Show Me State of Missouri has a very popular state lottery as we saw in the report that we linked to above, and most of the population is concentrated in St. Louis, Kansas City and a few other medium-sized cities dotting the state.

Missouri would have a statewide stay at home order that began in the early part of April, although, this would last for less than a full month. Additionally, this stay at home order did not have any specific penalties that were instituted for it relative to the pandemic. In practice, this was more of a guideline than it was a mandate.

Believe it or not, at no point did the State of Missouri have a statewide mask requirement, however, we should note that various counties and cities may well have adopted their own and some of them certainly did---particularly in the more densely populated areas.

Furthermore, there were no restrictions on travel whatsoever, either in to or out of, and there was no mandatory isolation or testing for those entering the state from elsewhere.

At the end of the stay-at-home order, the only thing that was really enforced at the state level was social distancing and there were no other restrictions that would pertain directly to residents. Naturally, many businesses, of their own accord, decided to have their own masking guidelines for those who wished to patronize them.

As of the middle of June, even the social distancing guidelines were lifted at the state level, though individual cities, counties and businesses could still create their own procedures and implement/enforce them as they liked.

The Fiscal Year for the Missouri State Lottery ends the last day of June, so as a result, the FY20 Annual Report.

Includes data that would contain the early stages of the pandemic, and moreover, is one of the few reports that would also cover the entire time that the state had any specific guidelines. We will expect that the 2021 Fiscal Year will be even better than was 2020, but we will have to wait some amount of time to find out given that it won’t be released until the end of July 2021, at earliest, because that Fiscal Year will not be completed until the end of June. 

We find that Instant Ticket sales (which include pull tabs for our purposes) increased by more than 100M dollars, which is quite the gain! In the meantime, drawing ticket sales would decline during this period by nearly 70M which was brought about by declines of more than 39M in Powerball ticket sales as well as declines in Mega Millions sales of more than 38.5M, which is nearly a 50% decrease in the latter case.

As we can see, given the overall decline in drawing ticket sales that all other games combined would have actually gained in sales had it not been for the decreases to both Powerball and Mega Millions.

In any event, this lottery would still enjoy its best fiscal year ever in terms of transfers to the state. This is one case in which gains in Instant Ticket sales were more than ample enough to offset the declines in Drawing Ticket sales, despite the fact that Instant Tickets have a better return to player than do drawing tickets.

Montana:

Montana is a sparsely populated state with a very low population density, and as such, exhibits very small numbers compared to others when it comes to lottery revenues. It will be an interesting case to see if the same events occurred in this state with huge increases to instant ticket sales (generally speaking) and whether or not they will offset the almost guaranteed decreases in drawing game sales.

The State of Montana had a stay-at-home order for less than a month beginning with the end of March 2020. However, the actual enforcement of this order, and any associated penalties, seems to have been mostly left for the counties and other smaller jurisdictions to handle.

As with most states, Montana did not have any restrictions in place that would prevent its residents from going elsewhere or that would prohibit people from coming in. Furthermore, those who did enter from out of state were not required to isolate themselves for any set period of time or display a negative Covid-19 test.

Montana did issue a mask mandate that would apply to all places for indoor gatherings and also to certain outdoor events for which social distancing could not be maintained. Of course, given the population density, a great way to socially distance is to be in the State of Montana to begin with. You’ll spend a lot of time with nobody around you, regardless of whether or not there is an active pandemic.

Certain businesses had significant capacity restrictions for a few days after the stay-at-home order had expired, but these were braised to 75% occupancy, in most cases, almost immediately. Casinos were closed for a time during the stay-at-home period, but most other businesses would continue to operate in some capacity.

Montana’s lottery drawing games would see revenues plunge by more than 6.5M, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a small lottery so that’s a decrease of more than 15%. Instant ticket sales would improve by nearly six million dollars to 24.239M in total, but that’s not enough to cover the loss exhibited by drawing lottery games and certainly not enough to make up the difference in gross profits because those games return better than drawing games anyway.

All things considered, relative to 2019, it was a pretty tough year for the Montana Lottery, but it certainly could have been a lot worse. We look for 2021 to be an improvement and maybe get the lottery’s profits to at least FY19 levels, especially if Instant Ticket sales continue to improve at the same rate.

New Hampshire:

Though the numbers are bigger than those coming out of Montana, the New Hampshire State Lottery is an example of another fairly small one when compared to other states, so we will just have to see what their fate was. The Government issued a stay-at-home order that extended from March 27th until the middle of June, so that was much longer than those that were seen in some other states...sometimes by a full two months.

The enforcement of the stay-at-home order, excluding essential travel, was basically left up to the localities...so as a practical matter, may have been more strictly enforced in some parts of the state as opposed to others. Many parts of New Hampshire are basically rural, so those folks probably didn’t have to do too much differently.

Masks were required indoors statewide at the order of the state government, though there did not seem to be any outdoor mask requirements of any kind in the state. Honestly, most businesses in this state would have probably had mask requirements anyway even if the Government hadn’t went ahead and ordered them to do so.

The state had travel restrictions coming into the state which were that travelers from outside of the New England area were required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. On the one hand, this order was strict because it did not seem to make any exceptions in the event that one could produce a recent negative Covid test. On the other hand, this guideline was not actually that strict because there were no penalties actually put in place for violators and it was also rarely enforced (if at all) to begin with.

Perhaps making the mandate easier to enforce is the fact that New Hampshire is not exactly a booming tourist hub for those living outside of the New England area of the country.

Most businesses were permitted to reopen at the termination of the stay at home order, which was June 15th, although the option to prevent bars and restaurants from reopening was given to the counties, so some individual counties, and perhaps even municipalities, might have differed from others in the state. Beyond that, there were no other widespread shutdowns and any further mandates just had to do with the specific ways that businesses could operate. For example, they would go on to mandate that tables could be closer than six feet apart in restaurants provided that there was a partition between them of some kind.

New Hampshire is another lottery for which the Annual Report and Fiscal Year both end with June 30th of a given year, so with that, here is the 2020 New Hampshire Lottery Fiscal Year Annual Report.

This Annual Report will reflect statistics that encompass the full period of the state’s shutdown and should be considered very reliable indicators of how lotteries performed during those months. By the beginning of July 2020, New Hampshire had already basically returned to normal, masks aside. 

For the Fiscal Year, Instant Ticket sales would increase by an amount of almost 22M to 272.27M. Drawing Games (including Keno) would decline by almost 14M to 119.97M. Overall, the lottery would pay an additional 6.5M in prizes compared to the previous year, so what we see is that the overall sales gains (propelled by Instant Tickets) ended up basically being a wash because they came at the expense of lost sales of higher house edge drawing tickets, namely Powerball and Mega Millions. In essence, New Hampshire is simply a smaller version of what happened elsewhere. The state was also aided significantly by iLottery sales, which come at a lower house edge, but are included in Drawing sales. 

Overall, the state would have less in lottery gains for the 2020 Fiscal Year as compared to the 2019 Fiscal Year, but this was basically just by a rounding error. Essentially, not only were the payouts higher, but they had cost increases in other areas as well. Net win for the state lottery was actually a little higher for the New Hampshire State Lottery for FY20, but once again, it’s basically to the extent of a rounding error. 

We expect that 2021 will be a better year for them than both 2020 and 2019. 

New Jersey:

New Jersey casinos got absolutely punished with lockdowns and serious operational restriction (dining restrictions and no smoking) that I discussed in this article.

Those combined with outright closures played absolute hell on land casino revenues. However, Covid-19 might, in a roundabout way, serve to benefit New Jersey in the very long-term. 

Hear me out on this: If you look at the increases in New Jersey online gambling revenues, they have been exponentially increasing year-over-year ever since online gambling was instituted. One would think that the gains would start to slow down sometime, but where are Atlantic City gamblers going to go with all of the casinos shutdown? You guessed it! Online!

Okay, so the losses for that year in land casino revenues compared to the year prior are nothing short of massive compared to the (also massive) gains in online gambling, but let’s assume for a second that land casinos in Atlantic City (the ones that are left) are going to continue their steady and slow upward trajectory from when the market finally, “Right-Sized,” itself: Online gambling is going to continue to go through the roof and the closure of the casinos might have resulted in some players trying out the online casinos who might not have otherwise. 

Even if you assume that Atlantic City land casino win is going to return, essentially, to 2019 levels by the end of the year 2022 and hold there, many residents of the state have now been exposed to the excellent online gambling platforms that they might not have even tried out otherwise. 

Furthermore, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the entire country...it’s small and has a ton of people and is way up there when it comes to median household income. In other words, increased online gambling spend for many of those people won’t actually be reflected in them spending less money in the physical casinos. The average New Jersey resident has some extra bucks to spend anyway. 

Of course, none of that helps traditional lottery, which is what we are here to talk about right now. 

New Jersey did a full scale shutdown for all but essential ongoings for nearly two and a half months starting in late March. Beyond that, the state kept bars, restaurants and the Atlantic City casinos closed for way longer than that. In fact, even outdoor dining was not allowed to resume until June 15th, which is the same day that non-essential retailers were permitted to open back up in any capacity. 

In fact, indoor dining would not resume in The Garden State, at all, until September 4th 2020. Ouch. If it makes them feel better, the case might as well have been the same in Pennsylvania, such were the restriction even when it was permitted to happen. People entering the state had to either quarantine for ten days, or produce a negative Covid test from one to three days prior to the date that they had entered New Jersey. 

We can find the Annual Audit for the New Jersey lottery, although, the Annual Report for 2020 is not yet available.

Instant ticket revenues increased by about 21.7M year over year, which sounds massive, but is actually a rounding error in the context of New Jersey. Where other states were increasing by 10% easily, and some by even more than that, this represents an increase of less than 2% to 195.22M. Drawing Game types would see losses in revenue compared to 2019 of 28.86M, which represents a decrease to 1.2632B.

Clearly, the New Jersey lottery did not have as good of a 2020 as it did 2019 because the losses in drawing sales more than covered any increases to Instant Ticket sales. As we already know, instant tickets return better than drawing tickets do anyway, so no real help there. It would take a significant gain in Instant Ticket sales compared to drawing Ticket Sales losses (well over the amount in losses) to even get to even on gross profits overall.

In the case of New Jersey, BOTH Powerball and Mega Millions did barely half in sales of what they did in 2019. New Jersey is a state that also contributed mightily to the jackpots not going up for these games as quickly (lack of sales) which spawns more lack of sales because many people will only play them when the jackpots are high.

New Mexico:

New Mexico is a relatively isolated state in some parts when it comes to population density and ranks amongst the lowest states in Median Household Income. Many of the residents of this state are engaged in some sort of service occupation, so we would find that those residents probably faced a high degree of uncertainty, on net, as related their economic futures coming out of the pandemic.

New Mexico, perhaps surprisingly, enacted a stay-at-home order that would last for about two months, beginning in the latter part of March 2020. New Mexico also surprised us by having restrictions on travel into the state on people coming from other states. Specifically, they were required to self-quarantine for fourteen days if they were coming from a state that was deemed to be a high-risk state based on a seven-day rolling average.

New Mexico also had state masking requirements that were not limited to just indoor mask wearing, but rather, extended to all public areas. Quite frankly, it’s a bit of a surprise that this state would have these various requirements that would exceed those of many other states, even some that some people would suggest went overboard with everything.

Indoor dining with 25% capacity wouldn’t even make its way back to this state until near the end of August, which is much further than many other states, including those even more densely-populated, pushed it. As of November 16th, there was another stay-at-home order that lasted for two weeks. Starting in the middle of December, indoor dining was banned completely for another two weeks. I guess way to screw up our two most major holidays!

And, have a Happy New Year! At least they knew 2021 couldn’t be worse.

We turn now to the lottery report for Fiscal Year ending June 2020.

Around December of this year, we will probably update our Table below to also include the 2021 statistics for the State of New Mexico. This is probably one of the few states, if not the only state, where we might expect the performance for FY21 to be worse than FY20...most states were basically done with total shutdowns by June 30, 2020, but New Mexico was just getting started. 

Comparing the two fiscal years, Instant Ticket sales would pick up by nearly 4.5M dollars, but would be more than offset by a decline in drawing ticket sales of almost 21M to 47.740M dollars in sales for drawing game types. The lottery would lose just over 16.5M dollars in total sales with all of that coming from drawing ticket sales, which have a better hold for the lottery than Instant Tickets.
 

In terms of gross revenues, New Mexico had their second-worst year within the last decade and, as you probably suspected, their worst year for drawing ticket sales in the last decade by a desert mile.

We see the full effect of such hardcore shutdowns on the State Lottery in New Mexico, and good for the residents for not spending their money with them. New Mexico is going to shutdown indoor dining for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, well, you know what, get your friends and family some stocking stuffers that AREN’T LOTTERY TICKETS.

This is just one writer’s opinion, but I think the residents of New Mexico, in particular, should tell the lottery what to go do with itself and gamble more often in the state’s Tribal Casinos instead. The state is going to kill retail and dining for not one, but TWO holidays? I wouldn’t spend one penny, were I a resident, on anything that benefits the state financially in any way whatsoever.

And, as mentioned before, there’s a fair chance that FY21 revenues are going to be even worse.

New York:

Inevitably, given the densely populated New York City, New York State was going to have some serious restrictions as a result of the pandemic. Say what you want about it, but unless you actually live there, my advice is to simply try not to worry about what they did too much.

That’s one thing that I should say: Regardless of what I may have said (or hinted at) elsewhere in this article, or in other writings, all parties involved were mostly trying to just do the best they could and make the decisions that they thought were best for whatever jurisdiction that they have accountability for. I’ve harshly criticized my own Governor (Wolf-Pennsylvania), but I have almost zero doubt that he was just trying to do what he thought was best in a bad situation.

That’s not forgiveness, though, because I still disagree with many of the more drastic actions that he took and I can NEVER forgive what he did to restaurants in December of 2020. While it may not rise to the level of forgiveness, it is sympathy. He has to answer to all of the residents of a relatively highly populated state; I don’t have to answer to anyone...I have the latitude to spout whatever opinions I want as to what should have been done without consequence or reprimand.

In other words, it’s easy for me to talk.

Anyway, New York State was one of the strictest when it comes to their Covid related measures and that comes as no surprise given the fact that they are home to the most populous city in the country. Even Los Angeles, by the numbers, doesn’t come particularly close.

In addition to NYC, the state is home to several other meaningfully-sized cities, so rather than do lockdowns and other measures on a county-by-county basis, perhaps they felt it would be much easier just to toss out statewide mandates left and right.

The full stay at home period extended for just over two months and began on March 22nd. While this was technically a mandate from the Governor, New York was one of the many states not to specify any actual penalties that violators might be subject to on the state level.

If you wanted to enter New York from elsewhere, the first thing that you had to do was take a Covid test within three days of leaving your state and have it be negative. The next step was, upon entering New York State, you had to quarantine for three days anyway, despite the fact that you had just produced a negative Covid test. On the fourth day, you were to go and get tested again, which would hopefully be negative.

The best part of that multi-step process is that the whole entire thing could theoretically happen within the ten day period that it would take for you to even start showing symptoms of Covid to begin with. Oops.

If you left the State of New York for fewer than 24 hours, because apparently Covid-19 cares how long you were gone, you had to take a test four days after returning, register with the state that you had left, but were not subject to quarantine.

Once again, this totally ignores the fact that you could have left the state for a few hours, contracted Covid and would not necessarily be showing any antibodies on the test that you would have taken four days later.

More than that, it’s doubtful that all of these things were universally enforced because, how the hell would you go about actually enforcing that? You’re not going to be able to track and visit every single person.

Do you know what made sense? Masks when indoors made sense. Do you know what doesn’t make sense and is just doing something so you can feel happy that you have tried to do something? The most recent paragraphs above.

As far as mask mandates were concerned, the mask mandate was just a general one and pertained to areas in which social distancing was not possible. Unlike the travel restrictions, this was pretty simple and straightforward---not to mention that it actually accomplished something.

As of July 16th, restaurants were opened back up with limited capacity and also a restriction on the purchase of alcohol unless you were also there buying food. That was the case everywhere in the state except for New York City...they’d have to wait until the end of September. And, as with a few other states, Governor Cuomo shut down indoor dining on December 14th to extend throughout the Christmas season. Merry Christmas, restaurateurs, and have a blissfully broke Happy New Year!

Unfortunately, the report that would cover the majority of the pandemic, Fiscal Year 2021 (April 1st, 2020 to March 31st, 2021) is not out yet, so that will have to wait until our end of the year page to update this information with the missing states.

North Carolina:

Beginning March 30th, North Carolina had a statewide stay at home mandate restricting travel for any but essential purposes. While this restriction was probably not widely actually enforced, they did create a specific penalty of a fine up to $1,000 or as many as thirty days in jail to act as a deterrent for offenders.

The mask mandate encompassed all public places and did not seem to specify indoors from outdoors in any way regardless of what social distancing situations were. While that may be more strict than other states, North Carolina did not have any travel restrictions whatsoever either going out of the state or coming into it. Visitors could come and go as they pleased without the need to produce a negative Covid test or to self-isolate for any number of days.

Restaurants and bars were permitted to reopen, with occupancy guidelines, fairly early on the pandemic as compared to other states. However, other recreational venues, such as bowling alleys and gyms would see their doors closed for several months longer as the Governor tried to prevent any big indoor gatherings for non-dining and non-drinking purposes.

Data for the Fiscal Year 2020 was collected up to and including June 30th of that year, so it covers the better part of the major shutdowns. We will be able to fully complete our look at Covid later this year, probably around December, in a follow up article for those states that have fiscal years that entailed multiple parts of the shutdown. In any case, take a loot at the 2020 report.

We find that the state’s Instant Ticket sales increased by some 180M dollars compared to the year prior, however, drawing ticket sales would decline by about 23M dollars. Overall, this was still a great year for the state lottery as the increase in Instant Ticket sales was well more than enough to offset losses to drawing tickets, despite the fact that Instant Tickets have a better return to player. While Powerball sales dropped significantly, Mega Millions was the biggest revenue loser and did not even have one-third of the sales figures that it had the previous year.

Ohio:

Residents of Ohio love the state lottery, despite the somewhat wide availability of better returning forms of gambling in the state. Enforcement was split between the state and the localities, and wasn’t particularly strict, though the state did issue a stay at home order on March 23rd of 2020 that extended for a little bit over two months. Travel was limited to only travel for work-related reasons, and other essential affairs such as grocery shopping.

Catering centers and restaurants would fully reopen on June 1st with capacity limits of 300 guests, even though many of the restaurants don’t have that sort of capacity to begin with. Following that, on June 10th, other entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys, would be permitted to reopen with some light capacity restrictions. Amusement parks and casinos were permitted to reopen as of June 19th of that year, again, with fairly light and relatively unenforced capacity guidelines. Essentially, Ohio was one of the fastest states to get back to something approaching normal and definitely when we consider the size of Ohio’s population centers and density thereof.

Of course, various counties within the state could have additional restrictions, as they chose, and county health departments would issue capacity restrictions in many cases. Even now with a significant percentage of the country vaccinated, the indoor pools of hotels still frequently have capacity restrictions in the state.

The state would also issue a 10:00p.m. curfew for indoor gatherings, for quite some time, but most of the other actions undertaken by the state, as a whole, were relatively minimal.

Ohio did have a mask policy and they did enforce it. Masks were required anywhere indoors and also outdoors in venues for which social distancing could not be maintained. THe state would also go on to authorize the Bureau of Workers Compensation to order any business that was not enforcing the state’s mask mandates to shutdown for a period of 24 hours. That may seem odd, but some Government entities in Ohio do things you might not expect. For one example, the state health inspections for businesses are handled by the Office of the State Fire Marshal and take place as a part of the fire inspections.

Finally, the state did have some travel restrictions in place for individuals coming from states that had positive testing rates of 15%, or more. INdividuals from those states were required to self-quarantine, upon entering or returning to Ohio, for a period of fourteen (14) days.

Ohio is another lottery with Fiscal Year ending on June 30th, however, since the full shutdowns had basically all been lifted by that time, any Covid-related decreases should be seen in the 2020 Annual Lottery Report.

Instant ticket sales would increase year-over-year by approximately 211M dollars, which is absolutely huge and represents a roughly 15% sales increase for this ticket type, as you will see in the table below. As we have seen in the other states, Drawing Ticket sales would not fare as well, dropping 100M dollars year over year. Despite the fact that Instant Tickets have a better return to player than do drawing tickets, the Ohio State Lottery would still see its best gains ever as the increase in Instant Ticket Sales (and gross win) was more than enough to cover the losses due to the drop off in drawing ticket sales.

Overall, the lottery did not make as much money as it did in 2019, but that was not due to the loss in traditional lottery drawing ticket sales. The reason for the difference is due to the fact that the state’s racinos were shut down for a time, and the state gets a percentage of the revenues from the video lottery terminals located within those locations.

Mega Millions and Powerball performed at safely above 50% of sales compared to the year prior, which is better than those multi-state lottery games did in other states, but they still got pummeled overall. Either way, fear not for education in The Buckeye State, the lottery came out of Covid basically fine.

Oklahoma:

Oklahoma began a stay-at-home order on or about March 26th that lasted for a month and a half. In terms of penalties, the state did not have any specific penalties to back this order up, so there was essentially no real enforcement for violators over and above a cop might ask them to go home if they were just out screwing around.

Most indoor gatherings of ten, or more, people were banned for a time, but those mostly targeted private gatherings as opposed to businesses. Restaurants and bars would actually reopen during the month of April, which is odd, because there was technically still a stay at home mandate in place. Originally, these businesses would open with no restrictions on capacity, but capacity limits of 100 individuals per establishment were put in place for restaurants and bars beginning in the month of June. Eventually, a curfew would also be set for those establishments.

At no point was there a mask mandate for the State of Oklahoma at any time. Of course, individual counties and municipalities could have put such a mandate in place had they wanted to, and perhaps, some of them did. Furthermore, there were no travel restrictions whatsoever on people entering, returning to or leaving the state. There was no requirement for testing nor any required period of self-isolation.

For the most part, other than the initial lockdown phase, Oklahoma was one of the fastest states to return to normal. Of course, aside from a few mid-size or small cities, Oklahoma is not terribly densely populated, so social distancing is a relatively easy affair in most parts of the state.

Oklahoma is another state whose lottery Fiscal Year ends with June 30th, so since their shutdowns did not last longer than that, we would expect for the FY20 Annual Lottery Report.

To essentially cover any losses to revenue that are partially attributable to Covid-19.

Instant Ticket revenues would increase compared to the previous Fiscal Year by more than 62M dollars to nearly 200M dollars in total instant ticket sales, please see the chart below for more specific numbers. In the meantime, drawing game ticket sales would decline by more than 38M dollars to 69.483M. Overall, the increase in Instant Ticket sales would more than compensate for lost lottery winnings due to the decreased drawing ticket sales even though Instant Tickets have a better return to player. Overall lottery win would finish up very slightly, but by an amount that might as well be a rounding error.

Gross profits for the lottery were, surprisingly, down compared to the previous fiscal year because, for one reason or another, the lottery paid out a bunch more in commissions and other expenses. In all likelihood, they probably had to get more instant tickets made!

Oregon:

Being a left-leaning coastal state, Oregon was pretty hardcore when it came to lockdowns and restrictions as a result of Covid-19, unless you were a protestor, in which case you could pretty much do whatever the hell you wanted. Of course, politically active protestors probably don’t tend to spend a lot of money on lottery tickets anyway.

On March 23rd, the state would begin a lockdown and stay at home order to restrict any non-essential movement, which would last until the early part of June. Violators could theoretically face a newly instituted fine of up to $1,250, or up to thirty days in jail.

Mask mandates did not differentiate between indoors and outdoors as masks were required in any public place within the state, regardless of one’s ability to socially distance when outdoors. For those coming in from out of state, without exception, they were theoretically supposed to self-quarantine for a period of fourteen days and could not present a negative Covid test to get out of doing so. As a practical matter, this was probably barely enforced as there is virtually no pragmatic way to enforce it.

Around the same time in June, restaurants and certain entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys, would be permitted to reopen. Occupancy guidelines would be instituted the following month requiring restaurants and bars to close at 10:00p.m., and furthermore, to be restricted to a fixed capacity of 100 individuals regardless of the size of the establishment. Of course, unless there was a county or municipality restriction in place, establishments that had a capacity of less than that anyway could effectively be full.

Unfortunately for the shopping and Christmas season, restaurant capacities were restricted to fifty individuals in the early part of November, but that didn’t last long as restaurant dining was declared to not be allowed whatsoever in the week prior to Thanksgiving. Ouch. In addition, in-person gatherings were to be restricted to a maximum of six people, which included private gatherings...I wonder what you were supposed to do if more than six people lived in your household?

These restrictions would persist up to and including the entire Christmas season. Have a Happy Hanukkah and New Year, as well.

The Oregon State Lottery is another one to end its fiscal year on June 30th, but unlike a few other states, this lottery report will not contain the full period of the lockdowns as some of the strictest lockdowns occurred during the Christmas season---which could not have been good for lottery revenues.

In any event, let's take a look at the Annual Report.

And, we will be along in December with a follow-up to this page that will include some data that will fill in the blanks for which the reports we do have do not cover the entire Covid related shutdowns. 

Instant ticket sales for FY20 would increase by roughly 18.5M dollars as compared to the prior Fiscal Year. In the meantime, drawing tickets would suffer a decline of more than sixty MILLION dollars (Ouch!) thereby eliminating a ton of revenues as drawing tickets usually have an average hold in the area of roughly 50%. Not good.

The Oregon State Lottery would also take a bath on its share of Video Lottery Terminal revenues as many of the establishments with such terminals spent a few months of the reporting period closed completely. It’s possible that the FY21 numbers will be even worse, since they were closed during the very busy holiday season. Bad news all around would result in this lottery taking a bath of more than 150M in operating revenue when comparing FY20 to FY19 and it’s possible that the next fiscal year could be worse.

Compared to other state lottery numbers, that might not sound so bad, but it represents a decline of between 21-22%, so that’s pretty much an unmitigated disaster and definitely not what the state was planning for as it awaited its lottery transfers for the year.

Rhode Island:

It will be interesting to see how Rhode Island handled the pandemic because, while many New England and Atlantic Coast (or close) states had some pretty widespread shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, Rhode Island’s population is somewhat small, so perhaps they were able to avoid anything so draconian.

It seems that they partially avoided the fate of other states. Rhode Island would institute a stay at home order that took effect March 28 2020 and would last until the early part of May.

As of June 1st, most businesses, which included restaurants and bars, would be permitted to reopen at 50% capacity. It would remain that way until the late part of November, at which point, bars were closed once again (or, at least, ordered to be closed) and remain that way until the early part of this year.

As mask mandate was ordered, though surprisingly, not officially until the early part of November. This mask mandate applied anytime someone was anywhere in public, indoors or outdoors and would be in effect regardless of one’s ability to socially distance.

Travel was restricted to people coming into the state. Upon entering the state, if you came from a state with a positivity rate of 5%, or more, which was effectively any state, then you had to take a Covid-19 test in the State of Rhode Island and remain quarantined for 14 days or until you got a negative result, whichever first. In the event that you did not wish to be tested, then you could simply remain quarantined for 14 days.

Of course, most travel restrictions are lip-service and honor system as there is virtually no pragmatic way that they could actually be reasonably enforced. Either way, it’s kind of understandable, Rhode Island had plenty enough of its own Covid and did not need any of yours to add to it.

Overall, the shutdowns were pretty moderate in nature as compared to other states, which I attribute mostly to not having a high population and the citizenry of the state being generally conscientious. Essentially, you don’t even really have to order people to do the safe thing if most of them are going to be doing that anyway.

The Rhode Island Lottery is another one that ends its Fiscal Year on June 30th, which in the case of this state, encompasses the more serious part of the shutdowns. When December gets here, we might fill in the blanks for the remaining parts of the year, but the only things widely closed in the state during the ending part of the year were bars---restaurants were still permitted to operate at 50% capacity.

In Fiscal Year 2020, Instant Ticket sales for the Rhode Island State Lottery would increase by nearly 10M dollars, which is good news, but the other shoe that has to drop is that drawing ticket sales (in total) were off the previous year’s mark by nearly 28M. In other words, Rhode Island lost 28M in sales at a roughly 50% payout and gained only 10M in sales of which they would pay out closer to 70%. Quick math says that’s an 11M dollar slap in the face of gross profits.

Rhode Island would make about 1.3M of that back in the form of iLottery, which did not exist the previous year, so that’s compared to revenues of $0. Probably a good time for that to come into play and mitigate a little of the damage. Sportsbook revenues were up by a ton, as casinos in the state are regulated through the lottery department, but slots and table game revenues were absolutely massacred due to these locations spending much of the year shuttered.

Overall, a pretty terrible year for the Rhode Island State Lottery. It’s hard to say how much of this was attributable to Covid-19, at least as far as traditional lottery sales go, but it certainly didn’t help matters any.

South Carolina:

South Carolina is a pretty deep red state, but it was no stranger to Covid related Government mandates. Our source that we linked above quotes, “April 6 - May 4: All law enforcement officers are authorized to do whatever may be deemed necessary to maintain peace and good order during the State of Emergency.”

I can’t even imagine what some law enforcement officers in that state would, “Deem necessary,” to ensure order. It’s probably best not to find out because that’s some pretty wide discretion right there. I’d rather have been in a state where they’d just make me pay a $1,000 fine for being out and about when it’s not necessary.

Mask mandates were such that they were required in restaurants, entertainment venues and Government buildings. As a practical matter, many retailers, such as grocery stores, went ahead and enforced mask-wearing of their own accord anyway. South Carolina was one state that did not restrict people travelling into or out of the state in any way, and further, those coming from out of state did not have to quarantine for any length of time.

In terms of closures and guidelines, an 11p.m. curfew was instituted for restaurants and bars upon reopening. In August, occupancy restrictions were also placed on those establishments such that a building could not be occupied beyond 50% of its capacity. That applied at movie theaters and restaurants, but was lifted as far as restaurants were concerned in early October.

All things considered, South Carolina was one of the quickest states to get back to normal after the initial lockdowns, so we would expect that their state lottery didn’t take too much of a hit overall and might be one of the few to enjoy overall revenue (and maybe even profit) gains compared to the previous year.

This is yet another lottery with Fiscal Year ending in June 30th of 2020, but we wouldn’t expect the lottery to have taken a hit after that for any reasons related to Covid as all of the state’s shutdowns and restrictions had basically ended by this time and were not reversed or reinstituted. Granted, there was the restriction on occupancy for restaurants, but any effects that would have on lottery could be expected to be quite negligible.

Instant Ticket sales would increase compared to the 2019 Fiscal Year by almost 132M dollars, which reflects gains of nearly ten percent for that game type. In the meantime, drawing ticket sales would decline by only 6.3M, so the difference in Instant Ticket sales obviously covered that by a long shot, and as such, the South Carolina lottery would have its best year ever.

As we expected, the decrease in drawing ticket sales were attributable entirely to Powerball and Mega Millions and the state of South Carolina saw improvements in most other games, quoting from the report:

Terminal Game revenues were $524.2, a decrease of $6.3, or 1.2%. This decrease can be attributed to significant decreases Powerball and Mega Millions revenues compared to FY 2019. FY 2020 did not have any significant Jackpot Runs as compared to the previous year. Powerball revenues decreased $29.7, or 32% and Mega Millions revenues decreased $34.7, or 43.3%. This resulted in a net margin decrease of $33.8, or 37.5%. These decreases were offset by increased revenues from Pick 3 and Pick 4, as described below.

It really is kind of a chicken and the egg question, isn’t it? Were there no huge jackpot runs due to decreased sales as a result of Covid-19, or would that have happened anyway? Well, it’s hard to say, but we can see that the numbers decreased across the board, but more so in states with strict lockdowns. As we saw in one state, Mega Millions did not even hit one-third  of its previous year’s sales.

You don’t get huge jackpots if you don’t prime the pump and you aren’t as likely to pump your gas (and buy lottery tickets) if you haven’t really been going anywhere anyway.

Still, the South Carolina lottery did just fine and enjoyed its best year ever. It’s pandemic-proof.

South Dakota:

Thinly-populated South Dakota represents lottery revenues that would be nothing more than a rounding error in some other states, but certainly we can at least peek in and see if some of the trends continued here as relates instant and drawing ticket sales. Before we do that, however, we should see how they chose to approach the pandemic problem.

Well, the Coornavirus was declared a state emergency and...that’s it. It was declared a state emergency.

Was there a mask mandate?

Nope.

Was there a lockdown period?

Nope.

Were there travel restrictions?

Nope.

Were there mandates related to business operations?

Absolutely not.

As long as you were not elderly and relatively healthy, South Dakota was one of the best places to be during the pandemic! You could have even driven your maskless self down to Deadwood and got some bets down at the Blackjack table, anytime you wanted!

Of course, we wouldn’t expect non-shutdowns to have a detrimental effect on lottery revenues, but low jackpots do, so we shall see if the expected decreases to Powerball and Mega Millions numbers seriously hurt the state’s lottery overall, by looking at this report:

Instant Ticket revenues would go up by nearly five million dollars compared to the previous Fiscal Year, so the pandemic certainly scare people off of pulling out their pennies and playing the scratchers, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, this was more than offset by a drop off in drawing ticket revenues of nearly 10M, double the gains of Instant Tickets on tickets that return less to the players. That’s a big ouch for the lottery department overall.

Fortunately, overall operating revenues would drop by less than a million dollars for a few reasons: The first reason is that they were able to reduce their direct expenses somehow. THe second reason, and this is awesome, Video Lottery Terminal revenue was UP by more than two million dollars year over year!!!

Isn’t that incredible!? South Dakota has to be one of the only states, if not the only states, where total casino slot machine win was better in Fiscal Year 2020 than it was for Fiscal Year 2019. If you lived in South Dakota, you might have wondered what all this fuss about the Covid-19 virus was all about in the rest of the country. That’s amazing.

Tennessee:

Starting on March 31st, there was a stay at home order with the only exception being essential travel in this state, but that only lasted for one month and was basically unenforced. Even if they had been inclined to enforce it, there were no specific penalties that were ever put in place were one to violate the mandate.

Tennessee was also one of the few states not to have a mask mandate handed down by the state, though counties and municipalities could have theoretically done so, had they wanted to. As a practical matter, many individual businesses, particularly ones with many people indoors (such as grocery stores) opted to have mask restrictions in place that would have applied to their properties.

Remaining restrictions were basically left up to the counties as the state essentially reopened on May 1st. Two counties closed down their bars in the early part of June, for example, though restaurants were allowed to remain open.

That’s honestly about it for Tennessee, so much like South Dakota above, who did even less, we would expect that most of these actions wouldn’t have much of an impact on lottery sales, with the only exception being that they might have slipped for about a month due to the stay at home order.

Tennessee is home to another lottery that ends its fiscal years on June 30th, and since there weren’t much in the way of restrictions after that, we should get the full effects from anything related to Covid from this summary.

Instant Ticket Sales would hit a record high and see an increase of about 108M dollars, which is huge for the state. The percentage of ticket sales that are Instant Tickets tends to be much higher for this lottery than other state lotteries anyway, so even if drawing ticket sales were down, these increases would be more than enough to cover. Overall, drawing ticket sales would slip nearly 80M, which the state lottery failed to directly mention in its highlights as it was touting the record 150.2M in in-state lottery drawing game sales. 

In other words, the entire loss in Drawing Ticket sales overall came from multi-state lottery drawing games, specifically, Powerball and Mega Millions. 

Using rough figures, they probably took a very small loss in gross profits because they gave up 80M of games that hold about 50% of all players’ money and traded that for games that hold an average of about 22.5% and increase of 108M in those sales, some eyeball math says that’s going to be an overall loss in the neighborhood of a little over fifteen million in gross profits, all told. Either way, they had a decent year. 

Texas:

Texas would enact a statewide shutdown on March 30th that would last for about a month. Furthermore, they mandated that failure to comply with any Covid related mandate could result in a fine of up to $1,000 or as many as 180 days in jail. If there’s anything that fiercely free Texas loves, it’s putting people in jail, so I wouldn’t have taken it for granted that this wouldn’t be enforced if I lived in Texas.

There were also mask mandates in the state, which would apply to all counties that had at least twenty active Coronavirus cases, which for a good deal of the time, essentially meant all counties. 

One thing that the state didn’t restrict was travel, but if you’re a gambler, that’s one of the worst places in the entire country to be anyway. In any case, credit where it’s due for letting citizens of the country that it shares with the rest of us come and go freely. 

Restaurants would reopen at 75% capacity on June 12th, but many retailers had been open during the shutdown, as well as hair stylists and things of that nature. It really kind of came down to what county you lived in and whether or not local law enforcement actually felt like doing anything about you being open in defiance of the mandate. Bars would go on to be closed statewide on June 25th and not permitted to reopen for a few months. There was also a closure of bars in North Texas during the month of December. 

So free and independent. The only thing Texas is good at doing is TALKING about how independent they are; the whole state is a joke. If you want independence, take a look at South Dakota and start taking notes. That’s how you do it. Texas talks a big game, but when you have a state with no commercial casinos that does absolutely everything in their power to stop Tribes from even having Class II Bingo machines---the state doesn’t care about a free anything. 

Their BBQ also sucks. Go to Kansas City if you want great BBQ. I hope the Cowboys never win another Super Bowl. (This opinions reflect only this writer, Brandon James, and do not represent the Wizard of Odds, or any sister sites, on the whole)

Anyway, I hope the Texas State Lottery had the worst year of its entire existence, except I know that it probably didn’t. People love being oppressed, especially when they can labor under some sort of misguided notion that they live freer than those in other states. The only thing Texas doesn’t restrict is gun laws. If you want to go around practicing target shooting with your AR-15, that’s probably fine, but don’t you dare play Texas Hold ‘Em Poker...how ironic. 

Here’s the lottery report:

The 2020 Fiscal Year ends with the last day of August for this lottery, yada yada.

And Instant Ticket sales gained about 710M year over year, because of course it did. Do you know that Texas has a $100 instant ticket? Yup, they sure do, y’all. You can’t play a hand of video poker for quarters, at least not legally, but by God you can spend $100 on a single lottery ticket. What a place. Drawing ticket sales were down by almost 260M, but it doesn’t matter, the increased Instant Ticket sales in the state will more than cover that in both revenue and gross profits and Texas Lottery had a record year.

Because of course it did.

Virginia:

Virginia was nothing short of hardcore, at least their threats were, when it came to the state’s stay at home orders. They started on March 24th and extended until June 10th, during which time residents could theoretically face up to 12 months imprisonment and fines of up to $2,500 if they violated any executive actions related to Covid-19. Granted, in actuality, it probably wasn’t actually strictly or widely enforced to the person, but definitely enough to make you think twice about testing them.

The state did not suffer any restrictions on travel leaving, coming back or on other people coming in. There were no mandatory quarantine periods of required negative tests for those traveling into the state, so that was at least good news.

Indoor dining was reinstituted in the early part of June with occupancy limits of 50%. Bars would open briefly, but would later be ordered to close again in July.

Most other measures had to do with operations as opposed to full closures, although an order was put in place December 14th that would not allow restaurants and bars to sell alcohol to the end of the year. And have a Merry Christmas. One other thing that happened with restaurants and other retail was that there would occasionally be unannounced inspections and businesses could be closed if the employees were not following the state’s mask mandates.

Virginia’s State Lottery Fiscal Year ends June 30th, so this will encompass most of the shutdown for this state, although they will appear on our update page in December so we can see if the bars being closed during Christmas had a negative impact on the lottery---though it probably didn’t.

Score one for the good guys! Instant Ticket sales for the State of Virginia dropped by 55M, so this is going to be one of the few states to actually see a decrease in Instant Ticket sales. The lottery department will attribute some of this to the existence of Virginia Skill Games, which are actually in the closing days of being phased out, but soon there will be commercial casinos in four Virginia cities.

Anyway, if the lottery can’t compete with unregulated machines, then that should tell you what you need to know about the lottery---it sucks and any gamblers with a lick of sense demand better.

Drawing ticket revenues fared even worse, dropping in sales by 90M dollars. Ouch! Stop the bleeding! Actually, don’t, make the lottery bleed more. The state lottery would find itself down about 155M dollars in sales year over year, which represents something in the neighborhood of 60M in gross profits, if not a little more...oh, the pain! It hurts so good!

Play at the casinos when they come in, people! I’m sorry the state took your skill games away!

Washington:

This state had some pretty serious threats related to the initial stay at home orders, if you were out for non-essential travel from March 25th to the end of May, then you could theoretically face up to 364 days in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.

Mask requirements, at least at the state level, were applicable for being indoors at any public place whereas there didn’t seem to be any specific mandate that would cover outdoor venues. There were capacity limits for certain outdoor places, but those weren’t accompanied by any mask mandates other than whatever the business decided to do.

The state had some of the strictest restrictions on travel for those wanting to enter the state. Specifically, they had to quarantine for fourteen days and being able to present a negative Covid test did not make a difference in that whatsoever.

In terms of business restrictions after the end of the stay at home order, the reopening plans were handled in phases that went county-by-county and were based on a number of factors. I’m not even going to attempt to summarize them here, because it’s a hopeless endeavor, so I will quote them from the reference site that I linked towards the beginning of this page:

Washington has reopened retail stores, restaurant dining, personal care services, gyms, and houses of worship in most counties. Casinos and state parks are open statewide. The state allows gatherings of up to 50 people, nonessential travel, restaurants at 75% capacity, bars at 25% capacity, and 50% capacity for gyms, recreational facilities, and movie theatres in counties eligible for Phase 3. Nonessential medical procedures resumed May 18.

June 28: Due to a surge of new cases, the governor froze the state’s reopening plan. Eight counties were eligible to move to Phase 4 (return to normal activity with physical distancing) but will instead stay in Phase 3 until at least July 28.

July 20: Live entretainment is prohibited statewide and gathering limits reduced to 10 people in counties that are the farthest toward reopening.

Aug. 4: The governor extended the pause on reopening indefinitely, prohibiting any country from moving to the next phase.

Aug. 20: Allowed museums to reopen in counties that had reached the second or third phases of reopening. Bowling leagues could also resume in those counties with additional guidelines.

Sept. 11: Gyms in all counties were allowed to reopen.

Oct. 6: Theaters in counties in Phase 2 may operate at 25% capacity and theaters in Phase 3 may operate at 50% capacity, restaurants in Phase 2 can allow up to six people to sit together at a table and restaurants in Phase 3 can allow up to eight, and libraries in counties in Phase 2 can reopen at 25% capacity.

Oct. 13: The governor eased restrictions in five counties, allowing them to enter Phase 2 of reopening.

Nov. 16: Through Dec. 14, indoor social gatherings with members of other households will be prohibited unless participants have quarantined and/or have proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, outdoor social gatherings will be limited to no more than five people, in-store retail - including grocery stores - will be limited to 25% of capacity, and religious services will be limited to 25% of indoor capacity or 200 people, whichever is smaller, with choirs and bands forbidden.

Dec. 9: The governor extended COVID-19 restrictions through Jan. 4, 2021. Outdoor gatherings are limited to five people and indoor gatherings are prohibited with people outside of a person's household unless they have quarantined for a week and received a negative COVID-19 test.

Dec. 23: Until Jan. 2, households can gather with one other household, temporarily lifting a ban on multi-household gatherings for the holidays. If a gathering occurs that involves a household from outside Vermont, all participants must quarantine for 14 days. Participants can end their quarantine early if they receive a negative COVID-19 test taken no earlier than seven days into the quarantine.

Dec. 30: The governor issued an order with additional restrictions in effect until Jan. 11. Under the order, indoor social gatherings with people from outside a household are prohibited unless they (a) quarantine for fourteen days (14) prior to the social gathering; or (b) quarantine for seven (7) days prior to the social gathering and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering; outdoor social gatherings shall be limited to five (5) people from outside a household; restaurants and bars are closed for indoor dine-in service; and indoor business are either closed or must have limitted capacity, depending on the nature of the business.

Right, I apologize, but that’s so convoluted that I am not even going to read the stupid thing, much less am I going to make an attempt to summarize it. We’re even going to put it in small print to make it harder to read, because it’s pretty ridiculous.

With that, the state’s annual lottery report for Fiscal Year 2020 (ended June 30).

When we do our December update page for this page, Washington is one of the states that we will be looking at because the shutdowns weren’t entirely restricted to the date range referenced in the lottery’s Fiscal year. 

Instant Ticket sales would increase for the Fiscal Year by 85.9M dollars despite the closures that should have been expected to impact lottery sales. However, this would be almost totally offset on the revenues side by Drawing Tickets losing 81.8M in total sales. Furthermore, Instant Tickets have a better return than drawing tickets, so you were trading ticket sales with a hold of about 30% for those with a hold upwards of 50%, not ideal. All told, operating income for the state lottery dropped by 30M dollars year over year, which is almost a 15% decline year over year.

That’s a pretty steep drop, but the lottery still did fine overall and will eventually bounce back. They show no signs of slowing down when it comes to Instant Ticket sales and you know it won’t be long until lotteries start producing $500 Instant games. They’ll probably have a return to player of 78% and cost roughly as much to produce as a $5 ticket does.

West Virginia:

Traditional Lottery sales really aren’t great in West Virginia to begin with, but that’s because they have thousands of Limited Video Lottery Terminals locations and give casinos for a state relatively small in population and dead last in median household income. Fortunately, the cost of living in this state is much lower than that of other states.

Anyway, the state doesn’t lean on traditional lottery too much, so any differences in those revenues wouldn’t have a huge impact. On the other hand, shutting down the casinos and VLT locations, which they did for a very short time, would.

Fortunately for the state, any such closures were only in place from March 24th to May 4th, the dates for which residents were under a general stay at home for anything except essential travel order anyway. This order did not really proscribe any penalties for violators specifically, and as someone who was in and out of the state, I never really heard of it actually being enforced.

After the lockdowns ended, the State of West Virginia would institute statewide mask requirements for all places indoors and for all people, excepting those who are actively eating or drinking. There really weren’t any penalties associated with not wearing a mask, though you might be asked to leave by an employee. Some places didn’t even do that, though you might catch a stare of disapproval from employees and patrons, depending on where you were.

The state did not ban travel either into it or out of it and nobody entering the state was asked to quarantine for any length of time or to present a negative Covid test. The best way to summarize the general attitude towards Covid in the state was, keep living your life, but do it with at least a little bit of caution.

The West Virginia Lottery ends its fiscal year on June 30th, so the entire period of their lockdown is covered by this page.

Instant Tickets would increase in sales by nearly 30 million dollars and would enjoy a greater percentage increase than those in most other states. This increase was slightly over 25% in gains year over year, which is both incredible and explainable. 

Incredible because a 25% increase in anything year over year is a pretty staggering number. However, this is explained because residents of the state LOST their VLT’s and parlors for a period of nearly two months, so as a result, they probably made some traditional lottery purchases in the meantime. That’s not the sole reason for the increase, considering all of the gains that we have seen in other states, but it might serve to explain why the increase in this state is so much greater than others. 

Also, have you ever BEEN to West Virginia when bars, parlors and casinos are closed? You’d be bored to tears. You’d be sobbing in a corner just for something to do. I’m surprised that the residents are still sane after that, especially considering that the weather wasn’t always optimal during that time. I’d probably have played the lottery myself, had I been living there at that point, just for something to do. 

Drawing game revenues, highly dependent on Powerball and Mega Millions, dropped by about 21.3M dollars, but that was more than made up by Instant Tickets on a revenue basis. In terms of gross profits, they were better off in 2019, but only slightly. The losses in casinos and VLT revenues are what really hurt them for the year. The drop in lottery was basically a small cut near a gashing wound in comparison.

Wisconsin:

Wisconsin is a state that you might not really think of in terms of shutdowns, most people operate under the assumption that it’s a bunch of snow, then some nothing, then a few lakes, then some lakes with snow on them.

And, while that’s completely true, Wisconsin actually has more in the way of population centers than you might think. There was a stay-at-home order in place from March 25th to May 13th during which time violators could theoretically be subject to a fine of $250 or imprisonment of up to thirty days. As a practical matter, we doubt if people were actually finally penalized very often in the state.

Wisconsin would encourage out of state visitors to limit their movement as much as they could for fourteen days, and preferably to be tested after entering the state, but this was a straight up guideline and there was no actual travel restriction during any time.

Mask mandates would apply anywhere indoors, regardless of ability to socially distance. If you were outdoors, then that was fine.

The state Government tried to enforce closures and occupancy restrictions at the Executive level, but the State Supreme Court stopped them from doing so at every turn and, one might assume, they couldn’t get anything along those lines passed by the Legislature.

In fact, it was the State Supreme Court that ordered the Governor to stop the stay at home orders early as the dates cited above were not the original dates for which it was supposed to end. Originally, it would have lasted almost until the end of May.

Unfortunately, reports for Fiscal Year 2020 have not been released as yet, so we don’t have anything that we could use for our table below. What we will have to do is make Wisconsin one state for which we will come back in December of this year with a follow-up page when more data is available.

Wyoming:

Wyoming is a sparsely populated state that actually has the lowest population density of any state that is not named Alaska. In other words, people are widely spread out here, so social distancing is relatively easy. My favorite Wyoming resident, Eric Bischoff, would ask, “What’s the difference?”, on a podcast of his I like to listen to sometimes.

Specifically, he said he lives up in the mountains on his land and only goes into town about once a week anyway.

Similar to South Dakota, the residents of Wyoming had no stay at home order to worry about.

And while there were similarly no restrictions on travel, residents of Wyoming were subject to an indoor mask mandate that was enforced in any public places, and in theory, private gatherings in which people representing two or more households were present---not likely.

A few types of businesses, most notably gyms, restaurants and movie theaters, were made to close completely for a few weeks, but there weren’t any restrictions on the residents directly. When these businesses reopened, they did so mostly without occupancy restrictions of any kind unless they were very large venues.

In effect, we wouldn’t think this would have a very detrimental impact on the state lottery because the residents weren’t really asked to stop doing most things that they normally would. As we saw in South Dakota, the state lottery actually did better for the FY20, so maybe this will do the same.

The above linked Annual Report covers Fiscal Year 2020, which ended on June 30th of that year. As we can see, all games in this state are drawing games, so I think we know what that means. Simply, the lottery lost almost 13.4M in sales compared to the previous year, which would represent a decrease of almost 37.5%. Ouch!

This lottery would also lose about a half million dollars on a game called Ragtime Raffle during this Fiscal Year.

When it rains, it pours. 

The Table:

Please take a moment to enjoy our excellent table below. When known, it compares the drawing and instant ticket sales for each state that differentiates by sales types (in their annual reports) so that you can look at how the lotteries performed year over year for yourselves! 

Please note that we do not have data for every state that would pertain to calendar year 2020 yet, and for some states, we have presented partial data that would include Covid sales decreases as it was only partially covered by the period the Fiscal Year covers. In all of these cases, we intend to either write a follow-up page in December of this year, or we might go ahead and update this page accordingly. It will probably be a follow-up page, so make sure to look out for that.

Ticket Sales by Year

State

Instant Ticket Sales(2019)

Drawing Ticket Sales (2019)

Instant Ticket Sales FY (2020)

Drawing Ticket Sales FY (2020)

Arkansas

407.83M

107.67M

452.28M

79.16M

California

5.1708B

2.2173B

Unknown

Unknown

Colorado

443.41M

236.37M

490.7M

168.1M

Connecticut

736.44M

504.1M

756.97M

Multi State down 67.4M

Delaware

79.81M

116.5M

92.9M

107.7M

Florida

4.9378B

2.2135B

5.665B

1.840B

Idaho

219.11M

68.8M

Unknown 

Unknown

Indiana

974.88M

372.87M

1.093B

291.05M

Iowa

250.64M 

129.38M

Unknown

Unknown

Kentucky

741.06M

462.38M 

Same Report

Same Report

Louisiana

225.57M

298.39M

264.68M

244.32M

Maine

224.64M

74.816M

251.86M

62.55M

Maryland

812.4M

1.3846B

852.7M

1.3363B

Massachusetts

3.6739B

1.8347B

Unknown 

Unknown

Michigan

1.6555B

2.2419B

2.0382B

2.2184B

Minnesota

435.27M

201.54M

519.35M

149.22M

Missouri

1.0285B

437.53M

1.1445B

368.23M

Montana

18.531M

41.723M

24.239M

35.176M

New Hampshire

250.48M

133.89M

272.27M

119.97M

New Jersey

1.9305B

1.5518B

1.9522B

1.2632B

New Mexico

74.941M

68.69M

79.313M

47.740M

New York

4.2267B

3.9814B

Unknown

Unknown

North Carolina

1.9089B

950.76M

2.089B

927.0B

Ohio

1.663B

1.6977B

1.874B

1.5977B

Oklahoma

135.97M

105.73M

198.28M

69.483M

Oregon

131.24M

250.02M

149.8M

187.3M

Rhode Island

102.91M

160.36M

112.64M

132.44M

South Carolina

1.4504B

530.5M

1.5822B

524.2M

South Dakota

32.234M

30.708M

37.087M

20.995M

Tennessee

1.4489B

363.73M

1.556B

~285M

Texas

4.8456B

1.4059B

5.556B

114.8B

Virginia

1.2219B

1.0716B

1.1668B

981.82M

Washington

523.8M

279.4M

619.7M

197.6M

West Virginia

115.6M

84.501M

145.44M

61.196M

Wisconsin

451.3M

261.8M

Unknown

Unknown

Wyoming

N/A

36.860M

N/A

23.495M

Instant Ticket Increase Theories:

Of the states that are covered in the table above, only Virginia was a state that suffered a loss in revenues of Instant Tickets when comparing Fiscal Year 2019 to Fiscal Year 2020.

It follows that Virginia had some of the strictest lockdown measures in the country which would result in closing down some lottery retailers for a time. Another problem that they had is they were really tough on alcohol consumption, at different periods and I would assume that intoxication leads to some lottery ticket sales---otherwise, why else would you play such a terrible bet?

In fairness and all kidding aside, we would be nothing short of negligent to not mention the Games of Skill machines that were located throughout the state of Virginia at this time and are only now in the closing weeks of the phasing out period. The Pennsylvania State Lottery whines about these games detracting from their revenues, but their revenues went up! Still, it has to be assumed that some monies are being pumped into these machines (and lost) that would otherwise be lost to the lottery, even if that amount is negligible.

Although, it’s always fun to hear lottery departments cry and throw their toys around, as they do in the State of Pennsylvania. You would think the Games of Skill are stopping every resident in the entire State from playing the lottery, if you heard them tell the story. I’ll just stipulate that the state lotteries lose more than zero dollars in would be sales to such machines and leave it at that.

Instant Tickets have seemed to be on an unstoppable upward trajectory for the last several years, basically, ever since the Great Recession. People have some extra money and many of them like to spend it on lottery tickets. While I understand that people think they make great stocking stuffers, store gift cards are better and have a better expected value.

But, some people like stuffing Santa’s socks with stupid scratchers. “Merry Christmas, and a happy waste of money! Ho, ho, ho!”

When we get into Instant Ticket Sales increases, we have found that the states with the least strict lockdowns were the most likely to have gains in Instant Ticket sales significantly exceed 10% on a year-over-year (2020 compared to 2019, or fiscal year) basis as opposed to those states with stricter measures. The only state that did not have extremely strict business restrictions and failed to clear that 10% increase mark was South Carolina. However, South Carolina had one of the strictest early stay at home orders in place, just when they opened up, they opened back up with little in the way of restrictions.

Anyway, the states that did not have significant restrictions due to Covid experienced even greater year-over-year increases in the sales of Instant Tickets, which were already steadily increasing nationwide anyway, so it comes as no surprise.

Additionally, high denomination instant tickets have steadily become more popular than in years past and represent a higher percentage of sales, almost nationwide, than they once did. We suspect that this high dollar tickets also have an impact on the continued rises that we have seen in Instant Ticket category lottery sales figures.

All of these things worked together to result in excellent Instant Ticket sales figures, compared to the previous year or fiscal year, for almost all state lotteries. As far as the state’s with the strictest shutdowns are concerned, we can assume that these increases would have been even higher but for some lottery retailers being shutdown (lots of bars, for example, sell tickets) for some amount of the year or otherwise restricted in their operations.

Another thing that should be noted about lottery ticket sales, in general, is that they are frequently something of an impulse purchase. Basically, someone goes into the gas station to get fuel, sees the tickets (or the advertising) and decides, “What the hell?” Therefore, they buy one. When you have states in which some businesses are closed, or residents are limited only to essential travel, they use less fuel...when they use less fuel, they fill up to a lesser extent...when they fill up to a lesser extent, they go to gas stations less frequently...when they go to gas stations less frequently, they have fewer opportunities to purchase lottery tickets.

It all works hand-in-hand.

Drawing Ticket Sales Declines:

Overall, drawing ticket sales would decline when comparing 2020 to 2019 for virtually every state lottery. We have clearly identified two multi-state lottery games, in particular, that were almost entirely responsible for these declines: Mega Millions and PowerBall.

In-state lottery Drawing Games generally experienced either slight increases in sales numbers, or stayed relatively flat. Some Daily Drawing Games would see slight declines, as some individuals in certain states did not find themselves at lottery retailers (such as gas stations) as they may have in previous years.

For this portion of our study, every state that we looked at experienced overall declines in Drawing ticket sales, although, these declines were relatively flat in both Michigan and South Carolina. We can attribute this to significant gains in in-state lottery games as the declines in Mega Millions and PowerBall ticket sales in these states were still quite substantial.

What we end up with is a chicken or the egg question---which came first?

It’s a fairly widely known fact that PowerBall and Mega Millions ticket sales generally increase tremendously in the relative short-term when they hit huge jackpot amounts. However, a significant percentage of the increases to the jackpots come from player-funded increases, which is to say, part of the costs of losing tickets, so people have to be buying tickets for the jackpots to rise to significant and key purchase levels.

What we are left with is a question of whether or not it was a matter of the jackpots not being high enough for people to generally be able to justify (or even be interested in) purchasing these tickets, whether it was the decline in ticket sales that caused the jackpots to rise so slowly in the first place, or both.

The answer that we are going to go with here is: Both. It is this writer’s opinion that sales definitely slipped due to there not being much in the way of massive jackpots, for either of the two lottery games, for the year 2020. However, this writer simultaneously believes that the, “Regular buyers,” of tickets, who contribute substantially to the initial seeding that creates large jackpots to begin with, also slipped off a little bit. People didn’t buy in because there was no prize pool and there were also fewer people contributing to the Grand Prize pool in the early stages.

The reason that this had such a huge effect is because the multi-state lottery is essentially all of the states having a lottery game in which they act as one big state. Because the jackpot numbers are what determines the number of tickets purchased, but the early jackpot ticket buyers are mainly who gets the Grand Prize amounts to key values that trigger additional buying, any decrease in the latter will ultimately result in decreases in the former category.

We also note that the top prize was hit in both January of 2020 and February of 2020 as relates the Powerball drawing, so the pandemic started to come into play when the jackpots were pretty close to their base value anyway. The jackpot was also hit on April 8th, 2020, which would have been about two weeks into the stay at home orders that were enacted in better than half of the states and would have resulted in the jackpot returning to its base value.

It is this writer’s opinion that the combination of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the Powerball jackpot being at or near its lowest point during the early stages of the lockdowns, combined to subdue lottery spending on this particular game from what it might have otherwise, and dare I say, normally, have been. Simply put, the jackpot would have been reseeded faster in the early stages.

It’s essentially the whole, “Cold on an Island,” cliche, when one person on an island gets a cold, everyone gets it. Even though the stay at home orders were not applied in every state, they were applied in over half of them and were almost Universally applied in the most populous of states, which resulted in fewer opportunities for those states’ residents to purchase Powerball tickets. Overall, the culprit is basically just the entire situation and some poorly timed (for the lottery) Grand Prize winners that would keep the top jackpot relatively low throughout the year and fail to generate substantial interest.

Similarly, the top Mega Millions prize was hit in February of 2020, relatively close to the time that the state began shutting down. A 400+ million jackpot would also be hit in June of 2020 and three other jackpots, all under 125M, were hit during the rest of the year. It’s the same thing with the jackpots never hitting key levels, except perhaps in the early days of the pandemic, such as to generate any significant interest in the game.

There was also the same problem that Powerball had in that residents were simply not going out as often, so many of those people who would purchase the tickets even when the jackpots are low (and be the early ones to seed the jackpots) didn’t have as many opportunities to do so.

In our earlier study on the lottery, what we found is that the population density of a particular state (lots of people living in a relatively small space) is a key indicator for lottery performance, which is true in both drawing games and Instant Ticket games. Densely populated states, almost as a rule, tend to have the greatest losses to the state lotteries on a per resident basis, which means they also generate the most traditional lottery revenues on a per resident basis. 

The reason that this comes about is because states with a high population density are such that a greater percentage of residents are convenient to a lottery retailer of one kind or another. Most of these residents are going to have a lottery retailer, or multiple ones, within a mile of them. Residents of bigger cities might have a lottery retailer on the same block as them, and almost certainly usually pass one by in their daily travels.

The result is that these lotteries are essentially a form of convenience gambling and impulse lottery purchases are often made by these residents. They’re passing the building by, see the lottery’s advertising materials and think, “Sure, what the hell?”

When you have widespread lockdowns, then some of the opportunity is taken away, mainly because the residents are having their daily travels curtailed a bit, especially in the stay at home phase (for some states) of the pandemic.

You might be asking: Why didn’t this impact Instant Ticket Sales? Again, I believe that it did. I believe that, without the lockdowns and restrictions on certain businesses that might simultaneously be lottery retailers, Instant Ticket sales for the year would have been even better.

On the other hand, many folks on unemployment were getting an extra $600/week on top of what they would have been getting from unemployment anyway, and then you have the stimulus checks, so it’s possible that some of the Instant Tickets were purchased, perhaps ironically, with money that originally belonged to the Government anyway. After all, many of these situated people found themselves unemployed, and as a result, had a better year financially than they would have the year prior---as crazy as that sounds!

Conclusion:

In conclusion, we hope that this page has done a good job of identifying the difference in lottery revenues both prior to and, to the greatest extent that we possibly could, during the Covid-19 pandemic. The reason that we partially restricted the states included in this study is because some of the lottery Annual Reports from our previous study did not differentiate drawing and instant ticket sales, so we would only have been able to compare overall sales.

Overall sales, as we can see, were basically all over the place for state lotteries in Fiscal Year 2020 as compared to Fiscal Year 2019. The main question is whether or not the almost Universal gains in Instant Ticket sales were enough to overcome the almost Universal declines in drawing ticket sales, and more specifically, declines in both Mega Millions and Powerball games. This varied on a state-by-state basis and largely had to do with how much of a percentage of overall lottery revenues would generally come from Instant Tickets to begin with.

In terms of gross profit for Fiscal Year 2020 as compared to Fiscal Year 2019, many state lotteries stayed relatively flat in this regard, but again, it depended on how the increases in Instant Ticket Sales compared to the declines in drawing ticket sales, which were mostly brought about by declines in Mega Millions and Powerball. A fairly accurate formula would look something like this:

(Increase in Instant Ticket Sales * .3) - (Decrease in Drawing Ticket Sales * .5) = Difference in Gross Receipts

In other words, one dollar in Instant Ticket sales gained represents roughly an increase of $0.30 in gross revenues, given that Instant Ticket returns to player average something close to 70% nationwide, though mostly depend on the ticket cost. Powerball and Mega Millions ticket sales usually have a hold of more than 50%, or $0.50, of every dollar bet, but we are using 50% because those declines are partially mitigated by the fact that in-state drawing games did slightly better for the year in most states...so 50% will suffice.

In essence, while you’re trading a dollar for a dollar in sales, you’re trading $0.50 for $0.30 in gross profits.

When overall sales were close to equal or leaned more towards Instant Tickets, overall lottery costs not directly related to prizes also tended to go up a little bit. Retailer commissions are usually going to be based on net sales, so even big gains in Instant Ticket sales (compared to losses in drawing ticket sales) are going to be nullified somewhat. Also, the manufacture and distribution of a physical Instant Ticket costs ever so slightly more than does that of a drawing ticket.

It is our hope that you found this page educational and entertaining. We also hope that you will stop back in December of this year (2021) when we hope the remaining reports we need to fully complete this study will be published. Until then, may the odds forever be in your favor, just remember that they definitely won’t be if you’re a lottery player.

Lotteries

Games

Articles

Are Lottery Players Smart? - Do the US states with better lottery returns tend to have a greater loss per resident than the states in which the lotteries return more poorly?

The Lottery Sucks - A Comprehensive Lottery Report

Calculators


Written by: 

Wizard Recommends

  • 300% + 100 Free Spins Play
  • $11000 Welcome Bonus Play
  • $3000 Welcome Bonus Play

On This Page