Will Mega Millions survive the price increase to $2?

By the end of October, Mega Millions, one of two national lottery games in the United States, will have moved its base price for a single ticket from $1 to $2. Leger’s team of Lottery experts weigh in on the key factors that will drive positive revenue streams, while examining the possible alienation of key lottery player groups.

Currently, one quarter of the U.S. population is aware of the forthcoming change to the Mega Millions game, with the ticket price rising to the same cost as Powerball. However, awareness almost doubles among current Mega Millions players, to 47%.

On a more reassuring note, more than four out of five heavier spending Mega Millions players ($50+ per month) are aware of the imminent price change. “Perhaps one of the more surprising factors is that men have twice the awareness of the $2 change compared to women right now. That gives the Mega Millions game a good underlying strategy to boost awareness ahead of the launch,” notes Simon Jaworski, President of Leger.

“Compared to the Leger June Omnibus, purchase intent of the new $2 Mega Millions ticket has increased significantly from 28% to 35% of U.S. adults, with higher indexes among households with children, $100k+ income, and also non-white households.”

One critical factor coming out of the research is that two-thirds of both current and lapsed players claim they will purchase a $2 Mega Millions ticket, with approximately a quarter of players still undecided.

State lotteries will have to find a way to appease the 14% of current Mega Millions players who state they will stop buying Mega once the move to a higher priced ticket happens at the end of October. Among this group of dissenting players, almost half state they will stop playing Mega Millions due to their own personal issue with the price increase.

In Leger’s September omnibus, 17% of Americans feel their Mega Millions spend will increase after the price change, a significant jump when compared to the 11% Leger’s research showed from the same questions asked in June of this year. “This is definitely a positive trend for state lotteries, and alludes to the power of the Mega Millions brand across the 44 U.S. State lotteries – which may have been bolstered with renewed interest due to Mega Millions having a blockbuster jackpot peaking at $393M over the summer” says Lance Henik, Sr. Account Manager with Leger.

However 30% of current Mega Millions players state their Mega spend will decrease with the change in ticket price. This is being driven by two groups in particular; those who are unaware that the change is coming, and also those players who prefer the Powerball game.

Finally, when asked for their preference for a $2 national lottery game, 32% of the U.S. population chooses Powerball, 22% chooses Mega Millions, and 46% elects to choose neither game.

“Interestingly, Powerball’s popularity is driven more by its significantly higher index among males, and $100k+ household incomes,” claims Simon Jaworski, “while Mega Millions approval comes more from an over-index among non-white Americans and households with children. It appears that while both games will sell for the same price for the first time in more than five years, each jackpot game still has a more unique audience than the overriding data trends suggest.”

With this in mind, one key question remains; how can state lotteries strategically leverage this price change with Mega Millions to reach a new audience of potential players while appeasing its current loyalists?

For more information on these Mega Millions results, or any lottery and gaming research needs, please feel free to contact Simon and his Leger team at sjaworski@leger360.com or 609-558-1019.

Simon Jaworski, President of Leger U.S., has conducted research on behalf of 23 of the 44 state lotteries in the U.S., and Gaming research in 13 countries across five continents, and is one of the world’s leading experts on Lottery and Gaming research.

Leger’s September 2017 omnibus interviewed n=1,000 people (online) in the United States, and the results were balanced to the U.S. population by gender, age, ethnicity, household size and region.

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