Report Shows How State-Run Lotteries Prioritize Live-Event Promotions

When most people consider the lottery, they probably think about purchasing tickets at a gas station or convenience store.

But, most state lotteries put a lot of effort and energy into player outreach on the ground through live-event promotion.

You may not always notice, but you likely are seeing lottery marketers at key events in your state all year long. There, they provide bonus lottery tickets like scratchers, and supply information about what programs their lottery helps fund.

On-site promotion is a crucial aspect of the industry, and it’s constantly evolving.

La Fleur’s recently reached out to many states about their approach to location-based promoting and event strategy. It gave insight into what events the state focuses on, what they do at the events, and how they have impacted business.

What was asked, and what states responded to the lottery survey?

For the La Fleur’s survey, four questions were posed to each lottery:

  • What events will you sponsor/engage with this year?
  • If you have a physical presence at an event, what types of activations/engagement opportunities do you employ and why?
  • In the past few years, have you made any changes to your event strategy that were either a success or a failure? What did you learn?
  • Do you have certain KPIs (key performance indicators) you measure success with for events?

In total, 11 different state lotteries responded to the survey. Those who answered were:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • West Virginia

What events do lotteries target for promotion?

While each state has a slightly different approach from the others, many of the same types of events kept coming up in the survey:

  • Sports events
  • Festivals
  • Concerts
  • State fairs

States with professional sports teams or hold events like a NASCAR race are likely to see a lottery booth set up outside the venue.

Fairs and other state-run festivals are also hotbeds for lottery promotion and often get sponsored by the lottery in some capacity.

Kansas has turned its attention to the biggest gatherings in the state as a way to improve its loyalty program:

“The biggest change in strategy we have made is focusing on high-impact events that draw the largest crowds. Over the past eight years, we have heavily invested in our digital platform, the PlayOn loyalty program, where we have over 290K in membership. This provides us with the unique ability to interact with our players monthly.”

Though not as common, smaller events like farmer’s markets also came up in responses.

Overall, the lotteries stressed the importance of being part of the community to connect with customers. Sponsoring in-state events and causes shows they care about making an impact in the state outside of just selling lottery tickets.

What types of promotions do street teams employ?

When you see a state lottery at a local event, you will likely come across a lot of signage where its promotions are taking place.

Many states utilize a promotion van or bus to stand out.

Another common visual is a prize wheel. The prize wheel tends to offer free prizes or a special purchase opportunity, depending on the state.

In some cases, lottery tickets are sold, but only by certified lottery employees.

Select states also provide information about the lottery and its funding, as well as information on responsible gaming.

Colorado primarily aims to educate the people it interacts with:

“Our event strategy aligns with Colorado Lottery’s three pillars: Revenue, Responsibility, and Conservation. As such, our event plan supports marketing initiatives, partnerships with proceed partners, and conservation.”

Have any changes been made to lottery event strategy?

Most of these states were making minor adjustments to their live-event presentation.

While some states are focusing on major events, others are looking at how to best promote.

Social media advertising has become a bigger part of the event process. Making sure customers know to look for the lottery tent is key.

Two states, Texas and West Virginia, have recently adapted their prize wheel from a physical wheel to a digital one:

“This change resulted in expedited event execution and player satisfaction from a seamless experience and shorter wait time to spin the wheel,” Texas told La Fleur’s in why it changed to a digital wheel.

Financial impact of live-event promos

Though the survey asked for the financial impact of these events, few of the lotteries that responded provided that information. Arizona was one of the states that did so.

In fiscal year 2023 (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023), Arizona’s team produced $185,000 in lottery sales through live-event promotions.

That jumped up to $228,000 in FY 2024. It was a 23.2% increase.

Arizona focused on improving on-site upgrades in the last year, including offering VIP seats to the events it was at for people participating in promotions.

In Texas, it documented 15 different events where it held live promotions. The state lottery tallied over $2.6 million in sales, averaging over $4,200 in sales per hour.

The Texas State Fair led to over $2 million in sales alone.

West Virginia saw similar success at its live-event lottery promotions from its state fair:

“Our most successful event last year was the State Fair of West Virginia. Ticket sales for the 10-day event were $862,237, and our ROI (return on investment) was $336,882.”

 

Photo by Tony Gutierrez / AP

About the Author

Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis

Lead Writer
A member of Catena Media since 2020, Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer at PlayiLottery, where he handles coverage of the online and retail lottery industry in the US. He previously spearheaded news content at PlayMichigan, where he covered one of the most prominent online lottery industries in the US — among the many other aspects of Michigan's sprawling iGaming market. You can email him at [email protected].
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