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Does online sports betting have a real impact on lottery sales?

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Bill Dettloff, Lottery Geeks, explores the question of whether online sports betting really is to blame for declining sales of lottery in certain states.

The lottery commissions in the US prepare for an attack that they believe will hurt their bottom line. The fear is that online sports betting will harm their business. Is their fear justified? Is there another factor at work?

Mark William Bracken, Director of the Massachusetts Lottery is leading this call to action. Bracken, for the second consecutive year, used the March meeting of lottery commissioners to warn against the status quo due to the increase in online sports betting. Bracken cited the 6,8% drop in sales of lottery tickets that his state experienced between February 2023 and February 2024. The lottery has also reported a net profit of $28,4m, which is $29m less than the previous year.

Is Bracken’s reasoning sound? Online sports betting is affecting lottery sales.

According to a study by universities in Alabama and Nevada, online gambling revenue has a positive correlation with lottery revenues. The Effects of Sports Betting On Casino Gambling and Lottery, published in December 20,23 determined that “… Each dollar of online betting was associated with an average $0.21 increase ($0.26) in lottery revenues.

Critical Mass

What accounts for Massachusetts’ sluggish lottery sales if this study proves to be accurate?

Gene Johnson, Executive Vice-President at Victor-Strategies – a consulting company for the gaming industry – said that “the Massachusetts Lottery’s story sounds like an explanation for their other scratch-off problems.”

Ohio’s scratch-off sales have grown significantly since sports betting was legalised. Kentucky has also seen a growth in lottery sales since the OSB was introduced. Their highest-growth area is iLottery, something Massachusetts doesn’t have.”

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