The gambling industry in the United States has been significantly impacted due to COVID19.
The shutdown of land based casinos throughout America has caused operators to lose out on billions of dollars in revenue and state budgets will be impacted as they witness a decline in gaming taxes.
State lottery operators who do not have digital operators have also complained about a massive drop off in lottery revenue.
A number of prominent state lottery executives shared their views and plans to revive lottery operations during a session titled “State of Play — U.S. Lotteries During the Coronavirus” during the SBC Digital Summit.
There are many states across America who have no migrated to an online lottery system and continue to favour the in-person, all cash business model. These states include Maryland and Oregon state lotteries who do not allow players to bet with their mobile phones or credit cards.
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Oregon has over 2,800 lottery retails spread across the state which have hundreds of video lottery terminals that allow patrons to buy tickets in person. When Oregon imposed a lockdown, over 70 percent of this business was cut off immediately. If the lockdown continues, the Oregon lottery will continue to lose money and the state will struggle to raise sufficient funds to support its budget.
The same thing happened with the Maryland as bars and restaurants account for over 15 percent of their lottery retailers. When Maryland went into lockdown mode, lottery sales dropped by 20 percent in the first week and then by 30 percent in the second week.
The state lottery plays a big role in generating funds for Maryland. The lottery generated as much as $593 million in 2019 and a total of $16.7 billion since 1973. This shutdown has caused lottery revenues to plunge in Maryland.
Lotteries Must Take Digital Approach
The common consensus among state lottery operators at the SBC Digital summit is that the COVID19 pandemic has shown them how essential it is to have digital lottery operations in each state.
A number of states have already brought in online lottery operations in recent years. Some of these states include Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky and North Carolina.
One of the reasons most states have resisted taking the digital lottery route is because they felt it would increase problem gambling concerns but digital state lottery operators claim that there is no evidence to support those concerns.