Select US Lotteries Utilizing Raffles To Help Improve Year-To-Year Sales

As the US gambling landscape has expanded, it has left some lotteries scrambling.

Sports betting is available in 38 different states and Washington D.C.

That has challenged the spending dollar for residents that were avid lottery players before sports betting arrived.

While retail scratch tickets and lottery draw games still do healthy business, a handful of state lotteries are looking to new means for sales and revenue.

One of those means is through raffles.

Once a big part of the US lottery industry, the raffle is now down to just about a dozen states.

However, that could be changing as states look to find ways to grow sales and revenue.

US lotteries had $53 million in raffle sales last year

According to La Fleur’s, the US lottery industry saw 22 of 42 states selling various raffle games in 2008.

That generated $173.1 million in sales.

In 2023, only 11 lotteries sold a raffle product. Total sales tallied around $53 million.

Raffles differ from the typical draw game. Raffles will only run for a limited amount of time, and customers simply buy a ticket without selecting any kind of numbers as their own. The winner has the matching ticket.

Draw games run throughout the year and have varied prize totals.

Last year, the 11 states that ran a raffle paid out between 50-52% of the sales accumulated.

Most states increase lottery sales year-over-year

Of the states that are still doing a lottery, most increased their ticket allotment and total sales from fiscal year 2022 to 2023.

In the case of the Idaho Lottery, it jumped its total from $2.5 million to $4.5 million.

Other states made minimal jumps around $1 million or less.

Those ticket increases have carried into FY24.

The Montana Lottery bumped its sales up from $5.6 million in FY23 to $7.6 million in FY24. That’s a 35.7% jump.

North Carolina hasn’t put a lot of weight into its lottery, but is still expanding the product. In FY23 its raffle sales were just over $600,000. This year, the North Carolina Lottery has bumped purchases up to over $650,000.

Lotteries battling with sports betting

The 11 states that are still running lottery-run raffles have sports betting as an in-state competitor in most cases.

Eight of the 11 states currently have at least retail sports betting. Of those eight, six feature online betting.

Sports betting has largely trumped the lottery when it comes to customer spend.

In 2023, Pennsylvania had $7.68 billion in sports betting wagers compared to $5.12 billion in lottery sales, according to Statista.

Virginia had $5.59 billion in sports betting handle in 2023. In lottery sales, the state tallied $3.64 billion.

Both states feature raffles as part of their lottery options. Each also has sold over $10 million in annual raffle sales.

While these games aren’t making a big splash when it comes to growing year-to-year overall sales, lotteries are looking for reliable and predictable results to help their bottom line.

Raffles provide that, even if it is in a small total.

As more state lotteries seek ways to overcome sales losses in other game categories, revisiting raffles may be an option they turn to.


Photo by Mega Pixel via Shutterstock

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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