- The online lottery launched in Pennsylvania in May 2018, meaning that this milestone comes near the online lottery’s second anniversary.
- Online lottery sales are helping to buoy Pennsylvania during the COVID-19 crisis; lottery tickets are a major source of funding for the government, but most retail establishments are closed.
- Online lottery sales have increased greatly during the pandemic, and other states could view Pennsylvania’s success during this crisis as a justification to add online lottery sales to their own portfolios.
HARRISBURG, Penn. – The Pennsylvania Lottery has now passed $1 billion in total lifetime iLottery ticket sales.
Pennsylvania’s online lottery launched in May 2018. In its first full year of operation, only about $342 million worth of online tickets were sold, but sales have increased greatly in the second year.
Scientific Games International, the company contracted to provide infrastructure for Pennsylvania’s online lottery, said that online lottery revenues have increased by over 80% since the Coronavirus-related lockdowns began in March.
Daily online lottery game sales are now averaging over $3 million, and recently hit an all-time high of $4.2 million.
New player registrations have also increased drastically during the pandemic, up 200% since the stay-at-home orders began.
Other forms of USA online gambling in Pennsylvania have also seen increased betting traffic since the stay-at-home orders began. Online casino gaming revenues increased by 73% in April, reaching an all-time monthly high.
Increased access to the lottery has proved to be a huge boon to Pennsylvania, which uses lottery revenues to fund improvements to education, infrastructure, etc.
Online Lottery Sales And COVID-19
States across the country are currently operating under stay-at-home orders that have temporarily shut down non-essential businesses.
Lottery tickets are sold at essential businesses like grocery stores, but many are also sold at nonessential businesses like liquor stores. Additionally, few people are willing to leave their homes right now to purchase lottery tickets.
For these reasons, online lottery sales are essential to maintaining something approaching pre-COVID-19 revenue levels. In Pennsylvania, for instance, the two most popular lotteries (MegaMillions and the Powerball) are currently only selling tickets online.
While there are more important things in the world than state lotteries, the tax revenue generated from Pennsylvania’s lottery sales, as well as from other forms of online gambling, will be crucial in providing economic relief.
Most states, including Pennsylvania, are likely to face a severe economic downturn even after the worst of the pandemic is over.
Unfortunately, only six total states offer online lottery ticket sales.
Of those six, Pennsylvania has been by far the most successful financially. States looking for ways to increase their tax revenues to offset COVID-19 losses could look at Pennsylvania’s online lottery as a model.