Indiana Residents Can’t Get Enough Scratch-Off Lottery Tickets

Posted on November 24, 2020

It’s been a fantastic year for scratch-off lottery tickets in Indiana.

Hoosiers spent over $423 million during the first third of the state’s budget year.

According to some new data released during the State Lottery Commission’s Nov. 17 meeting, the big sales numbers don’t seem to be going anywhere.

We already knew that sales were strong earlier this year, but it’s encouraging that the numbers are still holding up this late into 2020.

Scratch-off sales were up 31% from July-October compared to that same stretch in 2019. That increase has created millions of dollars worth of extra revenue for the state of Indiana.

Self-service kiosks boost Hoosier Lottery

A big part of the scratch-off growth is the availability of the lotto.

Self-service machines are all over the state now, so gamblers can easily buy themselves a ticket with a few dollars.

Many of those self-service machines are inside of grocery stores and other retailers. Walmart has been one of the companies aggressively adding the machines to its locations.

That’s on top of all of the traditional places to buy tickets, such as gas stations.

Scratch-off sales have also received a big boost from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scratch-offs have thrived while every other part of the gambling industry has taken some big hits from the health crisis.

Indiana’s casinos shut down for three months earlier this year, and with sports on hold, sports betting took a big hit as well.

That left scratch-offs as Indiana’s main gambling option.

Sales have remained strong even after casinos reopened. With gamblers looking to avoid large crowds, lottery tickets have become the natural alternative to visiting a casino with new anti-COVID rules.

However, that scratch-off growth hasn’t rubbed off on every type of lottery ticket.

Powerball and Mega Millions sales down

The big jackpot games have started to slump while scratch-off sales have been soaring.

The Powerball, Mega Millions and the Hoosier Lottery jackpots have all seen a big dip in sales this year.

The culprit? Frequent winners.

Gamblers have been winning those jackpots at increased frequencies this year.

With constant winners, the jackpots haven’t had to chance to pool up over time. Those large pooling jackpots are what draw in casual players.

When people see that the Powerball jackpot is at an massive number, it becomes news. Those insane jackpots bring in customers that don’t typically buy lottery tickets.

Sales have slumped without that flow of new customers, so it’s probably just a matter of time before the jackpots start to pool again and sales return to normal.

Indiana draw games go up as well

The Hoosier Lottery’s sales increased by $101 million from July-October, compared to the same timeframe last year.

Scratch-offs have been the main sales driver, but draw games have been the other side of the coin.

Sales are up 14% for those Indiana-based draw games like the Daily 3, Daily 4, Superball and Fastplay.

According to Carrie Stroud, the Hoosier Lottery’s chief of staff, the boosted sales numbers should be sticking around into 2021.

“We saw a fantastic fourth quarter in fiscal year 2020 that has continued into fiscal year 2021. We’re thrilled with the results we’ve seen so far in 2021.”

The lottery’s fiscal year wraps up at the end of June, so the Hoosier Lottery is already in fiscal year 2021.

Indiana generated a record $312 million in revenue during the last fiscal year, and by looks of things, 2021 could be another killer showing for the Hoosier Lottery.

That might change if the lottery loses its pandemic boost, but its hard to predict how the health crisis will play out over the coming months.

The big jackpot games returning to normal sales could help make up for any slack.

There’s no way to know if it will last, but at least for now, Hoosiers are buying more lottery tickets than ever before.

Photo by Associated Press
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a sports writer based in Indianapolis, IN. He's an Indiana University graduate who's spent time as a sports reporter covering teams at the prep, collegiate and professional levels.

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