Atlantic Lottery has achieved record-breaking digital sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the beginning of its fiscal year in April, digital sales on the Atlantic Canadian lottery operator’s plat­form increased by more than 500% over the same period in the prior year, while gross gaming revenue also saw a record-breaking 200% year-over-year increase.

Despite the lottery serving four Atlantic Canadian provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador) which have a much smaller population than most Canadian and international lottery jurisdictions, its per capita digital sales numbers are impressive.

In comparison to the UK’s Camelot Group, which reported record-breaking numbers in 2020, Atlantic Lottery’s digital sales have been 69% higher per capita.

Joey Cormier, Head of Channels for Atlantic Lottery, said: “We’ve been growing steadily, year over year. Then things went off the charts during the pandemic, which was possible because of the investments we’ve made to improve the player experience.”

The lottery recently expanded its portfolio in response to player demand, launch­ing more interactive digital games with increased play value and casino-style games.

The new offerings combined with the recent investment in a modern internet plat­form and high jackpots on national lottery games have helped contribute to the sales increase.

Digital growth was also expedited by the ongoing pandemic when customer acquisitions for increased by more than 380% over the previous year.

Cormier continued: “In the first four months of the fiscal year we had nearly as many digital signups as we had in the entire previous year.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we adjusted our advertising to remind customers, especially during the lockdown period, that playing at home was a safe alternative at the time.”

Atlantic Lottery said it wanted to ensure the safety of both its players and retail partners by promoting digital play as an alternative, but it also didn’t want its retail partners to suffer during an already difficult time, hence it created the Retailer Affiliate Program.

The Retailer Affiliate Program allows new players to identify the retailer that referred them to play online. The retailer will then receive a commission on all products purchased by that player on for six months.

Chris Keevill, Atlantic Lottery President and CEO, added: “Our retail partners are a priority for us, and we wanted to show our appreciation for them and provide an additional source of revenue during this challenging time.

“Strengthening the bond between digital and retail platforms is a focus area for us, so we came up with the Retailer Affiliate Program as a way to help achieve that goal.”

The lottery has other plans in development that will look to meet player expectations and invest further in innovation and digitisation for the retail space, including new self-serve options providing additional touch points and revenues for retailers.

Cormier concluded: “We expected to see a strong level of growth, although we certainly didn’t expect to see this high of a percentage. We are always looking to improve the experience for our players in any way we can, and we continue to listen for their feedback in order to do so.”

Back in October, the lottery announced returns of $395.4m in profit to its four provinces for the 2019-20 fiscal year.