The Coronavirus Pandemic and the World of Lotteries
How are you faring in this new world of social distancing and quarantines? The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on just about every aspect of life. Unfortunately, lotteries haven’t been spared.
If you’re wondering whether the coronavirus has harmed the world of lotteries, you’ve come to the right place. We’re about to take a look at the coronavirus situation in the USA, as well as how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the gaming industry in other parts of the world.
The Worldwide Situation
It’s no secret that the COVID virus is anticipated to have a profound effect on the world’s economy. It has already ruined numerous industries and sectors, with tourism and restaurant businesses being some of the most heavily affected.
Believe it or not, the lottery world has also been beaten up by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a World Lottery Association publication from April 6, 2020, lotteries, sports betting opportunities, and gaming sectors have been nearly destroyed by the Covid-19 pandemic in many parts of the world.
In the Asia Pacific region, where the coronavirus pandemic started, there are already some signs of recovery. Chinese lotteries remained suspended for 49 days, beginning on January 22, 2020. This was a part of the national government response against the viral spread. The shutdown had a very pronounced effect, reducing lottery sales by 43.3 percent on a year-on-year basis.
While lottery playing has been re-initiated, the redemption of lottery prizes in China is still suspended. Chinese sports betting, however, has been hit very hard. National estimates suggest that the sector will not recover throughout 2020 because many sports events have either been postponed or canceled altogether.
South Korea enacted similar restrictive measures, and while some betting facilities have remained open, others needed to shut down completely to prevent the accumulation of people.
New Zealand went on a four-week-long lockdown that affected lottery venues, as well. In Australia, only keno and racing games are still being open.
We also need to take a look at Europe – one of the continents hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Approximately one quarter of the World Lottery Association member lotteries across the EU member states report that their venues are currently closed and not accepting bets. For lotteries that haven’t been affected by lockdowns, traditional draw-style rules still apply. These lotteries, however, have registered a definite reduction in the number of tickets purchased since the start of the pandemic.
According to preliminary estimates, lottery ticket sale revenues have gone down anywhere between 15 and 30 percent for the lotteries that remain operational. For those that had to discontinue operations due to lockdowns, the revenue losses have reached up to 95 percent on an annual basis.
Spain and Italy, the two countries hit the worst by the coronavirus pandemic, have both declared a state of emergency. Lottery operations have been discontinued, and the same applies to the redemption of more substantial prizes. In Italy, games like SuperEnalotto and Eurojackpot have been stopped entirely, and even online ticket buying isn’t available.
Even multi-national games like EuroMillions have been hit hard by the coronavirus measures.
EuroMillions is probably one of the most popular and beloved lotteries across Europe due to its spectacular jackpots. For its March 24, 2020 drawing, however, EuroMillions registered some of the worst ticket sales figures in a very long time. There were only 9.9 tickets purchased, a decrease of 46 percent compared to the averages for the past 16 years of the game’s existence! Even in the UK, where the lockdown measures were introduced much later than they were in other European countries, ticket buying was reduced by almost a third.
EuroMillions drawings are still scheduled to take place as per usual. There are no announced restrictions or discontinuations, regardless of the reduced ticket sale volumes.
Coronavirus: USA Lottery Impact
With coronavirus predictions suggesting that the infection could continue circulating for a long period, it’s not clear how the lottery world will recover.
This is especially true for the US; one of the countries hit the hardest by the viral threat.
On March 27, 2020, the US overtook China when it comes to the number of infected individuals. To slow down the spread of the virus, numerous states have gone ahead to introduce some sort of a lockdown measure.
Currently, no US lotteries, including Powerball and Mega Millions, have gone ahead to suspend sales entirely. Claim centers, however, have been shut down in many parts of the US, making it impossible for those who won recently to move forward with claiming their prizes.
Initial reports suggest that lottery revenue in the US has already gone down 15 percent on an annual basis. Instant games (scratch card lotteries) have seen reductions in buying ranging from 15 to 20 percent.
In New York, non-essential business services have been shut down completely. This ban encompasses lotteries, betting opportunities, and other games of luck. All of the New York State Lottery offices are closed. Drawings continue taking place, and the lottery is currently suggesting the use of the mail delivery option for those who have won something.
In Louisiana, lottery headquarters, agencies, and claim centers have all been shut down. Scratch-off tickets were distributed to retail venues until March 23, 2020. It has been announced that additional shipments of new scratch-off tickets will not take place until the end of the lockdown period.
On a national level, games like Powerball and Mega Millions are making some adjustments to handle the situation.
Powerball, for example, has announced changes in prize payouts. Once the latest jackpot has been won, Powerball will be bringing down the minimum guaranteed top prize. Before the Covid-19 lockdown, the guaranteed Powerball jackpot was 40 million dollars. The sum will now be cut by half to offer players 20 million dollars. The reduction in the minimum guaranteed jackpot is required as ticket sales for the most massive game in the US have gone down.
Also, the prize increase from now on will be two million dollars for each roll-over drawing instead of the previous 10 million dollars.
While Canada has had fewer cases of Covid-19 infections than the US, it has put similar preventative measures in place. Tickets are still available for buying, but players are asked to use mobile and online buying options as much as possible.
Staying Safe and Enjoying the Lottery during the Covid-19 Lockdown
Having to go through a lockdown isn’t easy, but the measures are essential when it comes to saving lives.
Are you feeling bored at home?
Well, you still have chances to play the lottery while the coronavirus pandemic lasts.
Many national lottery operators offer online ticket buying options. If such a possibility is available in the country where you live, do make good use of it instead of leaving home and potentially endangering yourself or others.
You can also rely on online lotto agencies that give you access to some of the world’s most prominent games like EuroMillions. Lottery agencies aim to buy tickets on your behalf if you do not live in a country where the respective game is taking place. While you may be incapable of claiming a more massive prize at the time being, this is still something fun to do while being stuck home.
We know one thing – this too shall pass, and we will go back to a healthy life sooner or later. While the world is struggling under the burden of the pandemic, however, do stay home and keep yourself and your loved ones safe!
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