Lottery: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Once again I have survived another winter, and with it, the pressure of the gift buyingexperience for my family, friends and co-workers during the holidays. To some people, giftgiving is easy and painless. To others, it is an evil necessity. I probably have one foot firmlyplanted in both camps. Personally, I find that when the clues are there, it helps enormously.There are the pre-determined lists (the most helpful of which are my children’s lists to SantaClaus), the subtle hints from my spouse (“I haven’t been to the spa in ages”), and then the‘always difficult to buy for’ cousin (in this example, Kasey) who I may see only once a year.

Depending on the time and situation,I can certainly reflect on having tomake a judgment call on a potentialholiday gift on the way to a holidayparty, and like most people I have takenthe easy way out … the gift card. Now itappears that the lottery industry is tryingto catch up to the walls of gift cards seenin major stores and convenience shopsalike, according to Leger’s December U.S.omnibus research. The demand for lotterytickets as gifts appears to be on the rise.

As a whole, lotteries and their scratchoffproviders have been known to utilizethe seasons to good effect in designinglottery tickets to complement a seasonor an occasion. MLB themed tickets arelaunched around baseball’s spring training,while in late September, the HalloweenSpooktacular scratcher tickets are verynoticeable in their orange and blacksplendor. However, it is the holiday periodthat really brings out the best in NorthAmerica lotteries.

State and provincial lotteries conducteda considerable amount of holidaypromotions and ticket designs in 2017,and across the U.S. and Canada there weresome 227 holiday instant games on themarket, including some seasonal offerings.The New Jersey Lottery, for example,offered two different holiday gift ideasfor their players (and potentially lapsedand non-players) that centered aroundeither the Lottery’s holiday instant gamesor its holiday sampler of draw games,with a campaign to match that includeda Facebook Ugly Sweater contest and aHoliday Magic sweepstakes. Meanwhiledown in Texas, a $5 scratch offering,Holiday Gift Pack, was one of the TexasLottery’s gift giving focal points.

Leger’s research among 1,002 Americansin December perhaps offers the bestillustration as to why an even greateremphasis has been made on gifting lottery,and it all appears consumer driven. One ofthe most surprising key research findingsis that nearly a third of all US adults haveever bought lottery tickets to give as a gift(32 percent). Unsurprisingly, this numberjumps to 47 percent among past-monthlottery players, meaning that almost half ofthe core lottery player segment is simplylooking for an excuse to spread their loveof lottery to their friends, family and coworkers,especially around holiday time.

Conceivably more surprising is the factthat more than 60 percent of Americanswould consider gifting scratch-offs/instant games, almost three times the levelof those who would consider gifting aMega Millions or Powerball ticket. Thisscratch-off/instant games number isdriven by a significantly higher potentialof gifting by females (70 percent) thanmales (53 percent).

Overall for 2017, one in six Americansplanned on buying lottery tickets togive as gifts during the 2017 Christmas/Holiday season, increasing to almostthree out of ten among past-monthlottery players. Perhaps an even moreimpressive statistic is the fact that thosepeople who planned on gifting lotteryskew to some of the most desirabledemographics, including an over-indexby males, those aged 30-39, householdswith kids, and even a regional biastowards those living in the Northeastregion of the US.

Lottery gifters are generous too.Of those Americans who plannedon gifting lottery games in the 2017holiday season, 40 percent claimed theywere going to spend at least $20 onlottery gifts.

Perhaps the over-index of lotterygifting towards those aged 30-39, andthose individuals with children, canbe explained very easily – the needfor that last minute gift. Conveniencestores, historically a stronghold forlottery sales, offer the consumer fewviable quality gift options unless yourco-worker is particularly partial to anextra-large Mountain Dew or a pack ofCamels. The option of a lottery gift pack,or even an individual lottery game witha connection to a particular holiday orseason, appears to resonate as a feasiblepresent.

Gifting lottery also appears to besomewhat of a tradition! Accordingto Leger’s research, almost half ofall players (46 percent) who havepreviously bought lottery tickets as agift planned to gift again during the2017 holidays. This fact alone seemsto indicate that previous attempts togift lottery tickets have had at least amodicum of success.

However, gifting lottery is not somethingthe gifter takes lightly. In fact ‘immediatefamily’ and ‘close friends’ are the chiefrecipients of gifted lottery tickets duringthe holiday season. Perhaps this factor alsoplays into another key finding from Leger’sDecember 2017 omnibus – that on average,respondents who planned on gifting lotterymentioned they will spend around $20 onholiday lottery tickets during the season.

Plausibly, the key reason why scratch-offs/instant games are the core lottery gamesto gift in the United States is the simplefact that the tickets themselves are usuallydesigned with the holiday season in mind.Draw games generally remain in their sameformat throughout the year. Lotteries’holiday tickets are always prominent factorsin their overall gifting campaigns.

Gifting lottery is certainly not exclusiveto the holiday season. Among those whohad ever gifted lottery games, almosttwo-thirds have cited either birthdays and/or Christmas/Holidays as the top occasion for doing so. However,past month lottery players skew higher for gifting lottery games forbirthdays and also as part of graduation presents.

Although the holiday themes serve as a great attention-grabber,consumers continue to have their priorities of importance whenmaking the purchase decision to gift lottery games. Unsurprisingly,the top three reasons a lottery gift purchaser chooses to gift lotterytickets are the same top three reasons that scratch-off players statewhen they choose which tickets to play for themselves. The ‘price ofthe ticket,’ followed by ‘odds of winning’ and ‘top prizes,’ are the keyfactors when looking for a holiday lottery gift.

Leger also asked the U.S. audience about a lottery gift concept;after all, wouldn’t it be nice if the recipient had a guaranteed wininstead of coming up empty after receiving lottery tickets as a gift?More than one-quarter of Americans indicate they would definitelyor probably purchase a $20 lottery game as a gift if every ticketwas guaranteed to win at least $5. Unsurprisingly, this number issignificantly higher at 47 percent, among pastmonth scratch-off players. This confirms resultsseen by the Western Canada Lottery Corporation;WCLC’s $20 Player’s Choice Mega Pack (with 10games) has a guaranteed prize of $4 per pack,and has consistently been one of their best sellingproducts.

Ultimately, based on the number of Americansthat have bought lottery as gifts, or even putlottery games in their consideration set, itwould seem logical for lotteries to continuetheir expansion in this area. The research showsthat there is still room for growth in the holidayseason, including the possibility of attracting newconsumers who might not have entertained thethought about lottery as a gift previously, thuspotentially widening the player base.