Virginia Lottery Gets Massive Sales Boost Thanks to Online Lotto

Posted on February 5, 2021

The Virginia Lottery concluded 2020 with strong overall sales figures thanks to its new online lotto offerings.

The VA Lottery is midway through its current fiscal year, which began on July 1.

In the final six months of 2020 (July 1-Dec. 31), the commonwealth’s official lottery recorded $1.43 billion in total sales.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Virginia Lottery Board, executive director Kevin Hall shared the results. The total sales represent a 37% increase over the same period last year. The $350 million in profits was also up 21% year over year, he said.

The primary takeaway from the meeting? Virginia online lottery sales were a significant part of that growth.

Leading the US in Online Lottery Sales

The VA Lottery rolled outs its online lotto platform on July 1 of last year.

Players located in Virginia can purchase lottery products online, including:

  • Jackpot draw games such as Mega Millions, Powerball, Cash4Life
  • Instant win games such as Virginia Cash Expander and Queen of Diamonds
  • Specialty instant win games such as Blackjack Doubler, Instant Keno Multiplier and Wheel of Fortune

Through the first six months of the program, the lottery has generated $264 million in online sales.

“That is more than we expected for the entire first year that we launched,” Hall said.

Based on the impressive early figures after launch, the VA Lottery in the fall doubled its forecast for online sales. Yet, sales are still 7% better than even the revised projections.

Additionally, the $35 million in revenue (sales minus players’ winnings), which goes to K-12 education in VA, was 50% better than the revised forecasts.

As Hall said:

“A lot of our overall growth is coming from from i-lottery – from online sales. … It launched more successfully than any other lottery in the country. I’m proud to say i-lottery’s performance continues to simply amaze us.”

Brick-and-Mortar Sales Unaffected by Online Lottery

Some lawmakers and industry folks balked at the Virginia Lottery’s move to online sales. Those parties were concerned about how it might cut into brick-and-mortar sales.

After all, 5,300 convenience stores, groceries, pharmacies, and other retail partners rely on lotto sales as part of their businesses.

Hall, though, said there was no negative impact.

“While online sales do represent a vital new tool of the lottery, it’s important to point out that sales have also increased for traditional lottery products that are sold only at brick-and-mortar retailers,” he said.

In fact, those year-over-year increases include:

  • Scratch-off tickets/”scratchers”: Up 9%
  • Daily draw games (Pick 3, Pick 4, Cash 5): Up 21%

“We are very pleased to see that online sales are not cutting into retail sales like we’ve seen in other states,” Hall said. “I-lottery appeals to a different type of customer, who’s more comfortable in the digital space and who places a premium on convenience. But at the same time, we continue to work really closely with our retail partners. We value those relationships.”

Sports Betting Revenue Updates Coming Soon

In addition to the traditional lotto products, the VA Lottery also now oversees Virginia online sports betting.

As we reported earlier this week, William Hill became the fifth online sportsbook that’s operational in Virginia.

The first, FanDuel Sportsbook in VA, was first out of the gate on Jan. 21.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Gina Smith, the VA Lottery’s deputy director for gaming compliance, said the first reporting for sports betting is due Feb. 20.

Officials will then make those figures public, which should give stakeholders a better understanding of the VA sports betting market and potential revenue.

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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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