Louisiana Lottery officials—prompted by national data from recent years showing millennials aren’t spending as much on lottery tickets as older generations—are exploring ways to make the buying process more of an experience in order to appeal to younger state residents.
Consumer demand is critical in a state like Louisiana, where 35% of all lottery revenue is transferred to the state treasury and helps fund, most significantly, K-12 education, with another $500,000 going to the Office of Behavioral Health each year.
On a positive note, fiscal year 2019 marked the agency’s highest-grossing yet, with high scratch-off sales and a major Mega Millions jackpot contributing to overall revenues totaling $526 million. The state received $184.3 million of that amount, up $12 million from the year before.
Yet midway through fiscal year 2020, overall sales are down about 13% from the same time last year—a downward trajectory that’s being driven by declining Powerball and Mega Millions jackpot sales, according to Louisiana Lottery CEO Rose Hudson.
“We’re looking for ways we can bring lapsed players or new players into stores to purchase our products,” Hudson says. “It’s up to us to come up with ways to make it part of their entertainment spending.”
To do so, they must tap into one consumer demographic, which, according to the most recent available U.S. Census data, is vastly underrepresented: millennials, who spend well below the per capita national average of $600 per person annually.
Per capita, Americans between 25 and 34 years old spend $484 on lottery tickets per person annually, while those under 25 spend only $91 each. On the other hand, baby boomers between 65-74 spend an average $1,585 per year, while Americans age 75 and older each fork over $891.
Hudson says that’s likely because millennials, who might be faced with student loan debt or other major expenses, tend to value experiences over prizes.
In an effort to improve the buying experience, Hudson says the agency is pushing to eliminate a 30-year-old Louisiana statute that prohibits the online sale of lottery tickets, which she believes would help boost sales, particularly among younger age groups.
“We’d like to see movement in the area of eliminating that so we can meet our players where they are,” she says. “We aren’t at the point of drafting legislation yet—just having internal preliminary discussions to get a sense of what the numbers could look like.”