Matt Shelby, Manager of Community & Corporate Engagement at the Oregon Lottery, has commented on the extent the effect COVID-19 has had on the operator, revealing that cuts will be made to its next budget cycle, thus impacting crucial state programs and services that it funds.
The revelation comes only a year after a record-setting 2019 saw many lottery operators enjoy successful fiscal results with billion dollar jackpots in games such as Powerball and Mega Millions.
Shelby stated: “For us, we were hit pretty hard. We offer video lottery at bars and restaurants throughout the state and by far that’s our highest revenue product and literally overnight when bars and restaurants shut down, that revenue line went to zero.
“Things like schools, parks, natural resources, watershed development, most recently veterans’ services and then we also fund problem gambling and treatment across the state. When our revenue goes down, we feel it first because we operate like any other business, but those state programs that rely on our dollars will feel that crunch in the next budget cycle.”
Echoing Shelby’s comments was Gary Kessler, the Deputy Commissioner of Liquor and Lottery for the State of Vermont, who also revealed that the government-mandated shut downs resulted in a near 30% drop in lottery ticket sales.
The loss of revenue will now impact the educational services of the state which receives funding from the operator, with Kessler now encouraging players to buy lottery tickets in advance to help boost sales
The Deputy Commissioner commented: “They could buy them out 20 draws in advance. So, they could be safe and stay in the game at the same time. That was really our message that we tried to get out to our players and players really did respond. We saw quite an increase in our subscription services, which is where you can buy for six months or for an entire year and know that those numbers are set.”