Lottery gaming is everywhere.

How will you attract players – and keep them?

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Steve Mason
by Steve Mason
EVP Group Account Director, Lottery

It’s a jungle out there in the world of lotteries: and for marketers, competition for the attention and loyalty of players has never been a bigger challenge. Nearly 30 states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting1. Six states have legalized online casinos and five more appear ready to do so. And lottery marketers have more to contend with than just ever-growing online competition: as of 2020, the total number of brick and mortar (or floating) casinos in the US had grown to over 4602. The opportunities for adults who seek entertainment through gaming and gambling are everywhere.

Despite these challenges, the lottery industry remains a juggernaut with estimated total sales in the US of $105.3 billion in FY2021, an increase of 18.5% from the year prior.3 While many factors contribute to lottery growth, a key growth driver is the successful efforts of lottery marketers to build relationships. Those marketers seeking relationships consider players to be clients as opposed to customers.  Below are a few ways they are pushing that player relationships forward along with ideas on how marketers may expand player offerings:

    1. Instant Ticket Product Strategy: Instant tickets, sometimes called scratchers, continue to represent over 66% of lottery sales. Lotteries are constantly working with their gaming systems partners and ticket vendors to develop and select a dynamic menu of instant tickets to offer players. The portfolio of tickets typically includes player favorites in play style and game names, with a variety of price points. In recent years, players have shown increased interest in higher-priced tickets with greater top prizes. Lotteries have reacted to the demand by offering more expensive tickets with larger prize pools.

      Opportunity: Keep a spotlight on premium, higher-priced instant tickets. These higher price-point tickets merit sustained visibility through advertising and POS, with an emphasis on total cash prize pool and top prize amounts. As standouts in the portfolio of scratchers, there’s good reason to keep them in the forefront.

    2. Unique, Licensed Games: Continuing with the Instant Ticket Product Strategy, an effective way to connect with new lottery players is through licensed instant games with exciting, experiential prize offerings. For example, the Big Country Cash with Lee Brice instant ticket provided players with an opportunity to go on tour with the country music star and his band. This kind of “can’t buy it anywhere” prize is an incredible offer for country music fans of all ages and associates the lottery with a lifestyle brand. For one of our lottery clients, an activation engine for younger lottery players to an exclusive loyalty club attracted new players in their twenties and thirties.

      Opportunity:  Develop more licensed games—with high-value, experience-based prizes. We see outsized opportunities in developing/implementing more licensed games with higher-value prizes including experiences players couldn’t find anywhere else. Such games can strategically attract new and younger players—a coveted demographic—while advertising them gives lottery brands opportunities for fresh new looks in the marketplace.

    3. iLottery: Given how much of our lives are now online, digital lottery growth is inevitable. Just like instant tickets, the development of an “e-instant” portfolio offers a key way to connect with your players. Game themes executed with exciting, appealing graphics and prizes make for a great play experience, while CRM integration (e.g. new game announcements, etc) lets lotteries maintain closer relationships with registered players.

      Opportunity: Show new prospects what they’re missing, with digital ads that bring gameplay to life. The great challenge with iLottery is acquiring new players for games that won’t be seen unless someone engages with and explores the new game offering. So why not engage prospects via animated digital advertising, that demonstrates the look and action of a leading game? Combined with a compelling first-play offer, it’s a proven way to generate trial.

    4. Loyalty Programs: Many lotteries do a great job with their loyalty programs, especially those who communicate the benefit of additional value to players who register and join up. These programs let lottery brands get closer to players, and maintain an ongoing and meaningful relationship. “Second chance” promotions provide a powerful tactic to generate increased registrations: one of our lottery clients generated more than 100,000 registrations through second-chance promotions alone.

      Opportunity: Make “second chance” promotions part of your loyalty program—and your annual marketing plan. Establishing a regular cadence of second-chance promotions capable of driving registrations should be a part of every lottery’s approach to loyalty. This approach steadily increases membership in the loyalty program, providing additional opportunities for meaningful interaction with core players.

    5. Experiential Marketing: Lotteries across the country typically plan and execute a wide variety of events and activations. After being forced to put a hold on in-person events throughout the pandemic, lotteries are now able to get back out there in 2023. Physical interactions are highly effective in engaging players and prospective players. Whether in smaller numbers or at larger events, such as those held in conjunction with major promotions, anniversaries and second chance wrap-ups. On behalf of two of our lottery clients, we organized and held events with thousands of participants, with the experiential efforts combining stage shows and memorable prize presentations. For another lottery client, we supported their mobile lottery vehicle which integrated events and giveaways into the fabric of the community.

      Opportunity: Get your brand out there, with thoughtful experiential programs. There’s something magical about person-to-person engagement. Crafting an experiential marketing plan for lotteries should be part of the annual marketing mix. Experiential should tie into strategies in support of traditional numbers games, activation for iLottery, promotion of monitor games and the ability to spotlight new instant tickets.

With the competing efforts of online betting and expanding physical casino footprint across the nation, it’s going to remain a jungle out there; lottery marketers will need to fight for player attention and retention, for the foreseeable future. And what began as a traditional and modestly straightforward industry will doubtless keep evolving in unexpected ways. But staying on top of (and ahead of) new trends can not only establish your brand as a leader: it can garner loyalty and buzz from players across the spectrum. We’re willing to bet money on it.

  1. Where is sports betting legal? Updates for the US., New York Post, Oct. 19, 2022;
  2. Number of Commercial Casinos in the US 2005-2021,
  3. Flying High, NASPL Insights Magazine, November-December 2021