The New Zealand Lottery Commission (Lotto NZ) has released its performance expectations statement for the Fiscal Year ending 30 June 2021 in which it predicts an 8.4% decline from forecasted sales for 2019-2020.

As a result of the estimate, sales are expected to fall from 2019-20’s reduced forecast of NZ$1.34bn to NZ$1.23bn in the coming year. 

Additionally, the statement also revealed that the amount set to be paid to support charitable causes through the Lottery Grants Board is also expected to see a decline, with a 6.7% reduction from $300m to $280m being predicted. Operating expenses are also predicted to increase from 5.3% of total sales in FY19/20 to 6.6% for FY20/21, no doubt adding to the revenue decline.

A statement from Lotto NZ read: “At this point it is too early to accurately predict what the impact of Covid-19 will be on New Zealand, and therefore on Lotto NZ’s performance.

“However, given the unprecedented nature of what we are witnessing we have taken a conservative approach to setting targets for the 2020/21 year, and have set our sales and profits targets slightly lower than the modelled long-run median.”

As has been seen throughout the industry, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been cited as a main contributing factor for the estimated figures as well as ‘exceptional Powerball jackpots in 2019-20”, which included a must-be-won $50m draw.

These impacts have seen forecasts for the 2019-20 Fiscal Year also receive a predicted downturn, with a 5% decrease now expected to $935.2m compared to the $984.4m target predicted at the start of the financial year. 

Despite this, the operator did reveal that it expects to increase its digital sales revenues in Fiscal Year 20-21 by 2.8% following the closure of NZ Lotto retail locations which in turn saw many players shift to online play.