Online gambling has proven to be quite a big deal during the duration of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, something that was a breath of fresh air for the gamblers and several gaming operators. Though unforeseen, the Pennsylvania Lottery has turned out to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the surge in online gambling traffic. Clearly, the decision to allow the state’s residents to buy lottery tickets online was a pretty good idea.
Even though the state-run lottery is yet to publish the revenue report for the 2019-20 fiscal year, Drew Svitko, the Pennsylvania Lottery’s Executive Director pointed out that their revenue and profit were just 0.06 percent lower than what they posted for the previous fiscal year. While this drop may seem like a bad thing, it is a pretty big deal especially considering that the previous revenue and profit were the best in terms of 12-month performance for the lottery since 1972.
It is very impressive that the lottery has been making all those strides despite all that has been happening with the pandemic. Things have certainly returned to normal in some sense but, just like other aspects of gambling in the Keystone State, the lottery also felt a bit of a pinch when everything slowed down. The plunge in lottery revenue was not too surprising and after it happened, a lot more effort was put into the online product which was already doing pretty well.
The Lottery’s sales have since rebounded – this was after taking a significant hit when the statewide shutdown took effect. In other states where only retail lotteries exist, huge revenue deficits have been reported as not many people are buying retail tickets when they head out to stores.
Pennsylvania is currently one of the 13 states in the United States that have online lotteries and it has been working hard to push that offering forward. Its retail lottery sales dropped by as much as 25 percent owing to the closure of close to 30 percent of retail venues across the state. However, as that was happening, there was a considerable 25 percent rise in online ticket sales – this served as a safety net of sorts for the lottery.
“Our online play helps us create a better relationship with players. Those players go into retail stores and are more attracted to our products and more likely to play.”Drew Svitko.
The lottery officials are still compiling the revenue report which will be released very soon but already, it is safe to say that things are looking up. There is definitely enough interest to keep the lottery gaming thus helping it achieve its mandate of helping older Pennsylvanians.