I want to encourage everyone to read the upcoming report that compares Fiscal Year (or actual year) 2020 Lottery revenue data to Fiscal Year 2019 lottery data to see what the effects of Covid might have been. This particular study required a ton of research and time, so I can honestly say that I am pretty happy with it.
How to profit from the lottery right now
1.) Instant Ticket Sales Went Up Almost Across the Board
-I will get into more details as to what caused this, but Instant Ticket sales basically just continued their trend of rising year-over year. There are a number of reasons for this to be the case, which include:
A.) Available denominations for Instant Tickets have been increasing over the years, with most states (assuming they offer Instant Tickets at all) having individual ticket prices of $20, or more. Some states even have $30 and $50 price points for individual tickets.
While the percentage return to player on these ticket types might be higher, (please see my, “The Lottery Sucks,” Wizard of Odds page and look at the state of Maine to get an idea), these types of tickets simultaneously have a greater expected loss per ticket purchased. Simply put, 25% of $25 is much more than 40% of $1.
Currently, the Texas Lottery (to name one) offers Instant Tickets as high as the $50 price point, but they are currently considering introducing a new Instant Ticket type that will be priced at $100. We can only hope that people will actually bother to look at the game rather than just scratching off the barcode and scanning to see if it wins!*
*Also, even if the ticket looks like a loser, I would hope that they would scan it anyway, just in case! Could you imagine throwing a winner into the garbage on a ticket that you paid $100 for?
B.) In general, Instant Tickets have also had an increasing variety of themes and cross-licensing of popular brands and fads. Examples include increasing amounts of Monopoly-branded tickets, Slingo tickets and Plants v. Zombies tickets, to name a few.
C.) Instant Tickets are frequently purchased for birthday cards, Christmas cards, wedding gifts and Christmas stocking stuffers. As anyone who knows about gambling is aware, store gift cards would provide a much better value relative to the price than do lottery tickets, but that doesn’t change the fact that Instant Tickets make popular gifts.
In fairness, I guess there is something to be said for giving someone a $5 gift that could, though the probability is low, be worth as much as $10,000 to them.
D.) I have found that, while the sales increases to Instant Tickets for 2020 were basically Universal, drawing ticket sales declined almost across the board, which we will discuss shortly.
The main reasons for the decline are a lack of Mega Millions and PowerBall ticket sales compared to previous years. GIven that some folks can be presumed to have a, “Lottery budget,” my assumption is that some people who would normally buy Powerball or Mega Millions tickets when the jackpot amounts are high enough for their liking instead spent some of that money on Instant Tickets.