Young adults in the US aren’t playing the lottery, and there’s fewer of them playing now than in 2003 and 2007, which means that the lottery is becoming less and less appealing to the younger generation. People in other age groups, particularly those aged 50 to 64, 61 per cent of which bought a ticket in the past year, still have a habit of buying lottery tickets but the perfect system is in danger of collapsing. Only a third of Americans aged 18 to 29 bought a ticket in the past year, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Millenials find lotteries boring
With the emergence of so much other forms of entertainment and gambling, the fast-living Millenials aren’t enticed by the prospect of buying a good old-fashioned lottery ticket and waiting for a week in from of the TV to see if they became millionaires.
While lottery is still by far the most prevalent form of gambling in the US, the competition is fierce as the technology moved forward as well as the demands of the new generation of consumers, and the lottery system is a dinosaur that hasn’t progressed with the times.
Just like the bingo industry, the lottery will need to find a way to appeal to the millenials or lose ground beneath its feet. State lottery officials are anxious to find ways to engage with millennials but find their hands tied by state laws that are slow to adapt to changes in the market.
In contrast, the likelihood of buying a lottery ticket has increased in other age groups over the past ten years. But still, the overall trend is deeply concerning for the lottery officials as the very existence of the lottery concept itself is under threat. Lottery revenues are driven by ticket sales, which are driven by huge jackpots, which are boosted by ticket sales. It’s a perfect circle. But as the ticket sales dwindle, so do the jackpots, and it becomes an ever-decreasing circle. In short, the lottery’s days may be numbered.
Adapt or Die
Lotteries contribute over $20 billion per year across USA to help fund everything from education to programs to support military veterans, and, in many cases, lottery revenue helps to supplement a state’s general fund. For the 44 states that operate lotteries, their demise would be a big loss.
This means that either millennials need to change their habits or state lotteries do, and since lottery officials can’t rely on the former, they must assume the latter is the only way forward.
Casinos have reacted to the fact that millennials are bored by slot machines by introducing video-gaming-slot hybrids to the casino floor. In many cases this required a change in local gaming laws to permit variable payouts, which means that players who are more skilled at the game have better odds of winning.
Previously, everyone had to have exactly the same chance to ensure a fair game.
Millennials’ preferred forms of gambling involve technology, strategy and skill. They like daily fantasy sports and live, in-play sports betting (in countries where it’s legal and available).
They have created their own forms of gambling, such as esports and skins gambling. They like instant gratification, instant interaction, challenges, puzzles and games of skill.
Just as states like Nevada and New Jersey have changed their laws so that their casinos can offer skill-gaming, states will increasingly change theirs to adopt online lotteries as they realize the potential damage to revenues by failing to engage millennials.
Their sites will likely offer new kinds of instant-win games, involving puzzles and social gaming,
“The next generation of lottery players grew up with technology and approach making purchases and playing games differently,” Paula Otto of the Virginia Lottery told Reuters this week.
“They want an experience, not just a prize,” said Rose Hudson, president of the North American Association of State & Provincial Lotteries.
Of course, the existence of online lotteries are just as dependent on the current interpretation of the Wire Act as the online gaming industries of Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.
This makes new US attorney general Jeff Sessions’ declaration that he would “revisit” the opinion an alarming prospect for 44 US states.