Michigan’s demand for at least one form of online gambling is undisputed. Whether record Michigan iLottery sales over the past year will translate to any other form is debatable, however.
The online component of the state’s lottery reported more than $100 million in sales over the past fiscal year. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the hunger for iGaming or online sports betting is as voracious in Michigan.
Why we shouldn’t read too much into record Michigan iLottery sales
The biggest reason that these sales shouldn’t automatically be exciting for future iGaming and sportsbook operators in the state is that there traditionally isn’t a lot of carryover. People who buy physical lottery tickets at retailers don’t tend to also frequent brick-and-mortar casinos.
The inverse is usually true as well. There’s no reason to expect people to behave drastically different just because the products are online.
Most of the people who spent over $116.3 million on iLottery games in Michigan from Oct. 1, 2018, to Sept. 30, 2019, won’t depart from those games. That will likely remain true even when legal online sports betting and iGaming emerge.
There is one subsection of iGaming that may see some market translation, however. It all has to do with similar packaging.
Online slots and iLottery: Too similar to distinguish?
Many iLottery games closely resemble online slots. Because of that, some dedicated iLottery customers may give online slots a try when iGaming goes live in Michigan.
Much of that will depend on how well the iGaming operators market their products. Pulling in new customers for new products always depends on consumer awareness and education campaigns.
It seems like if any segment of the iGaming industry could cannibalize iLottery in the Wolverine State, it would be online slots. There’s still no guarantee, however.
The state lottery has advantages of being in the market for a lot longer than the online casinos. The results from the past fiscal year prove how successful the lottery is in the state.
Online casinos probably won’t seek to supplant the lottery, however. They will likely make a better strategy of appealing to a demographic more likely to play their games.
If they can pull any iLottery customers, that would be a bonus. The brick-and-mortar casinos should be more worried about losing customers than the lottery.
That’s probably reassuring for state officials. The lottery seems to never have been more popular than it is right now.
Further details of the lottery’s latest financial report
The report states that the lottery contributed over $1.07 billion to the state’s School Aid Fund in the past fiscal year. That’s a new record for Michigan.
That wasn’t the only record, however. Total sales reached a new record of $3.9 billion, prizes paid out a record $2.3 billion and the cut for brick-and-mortar retailers tallied a new mark of $287.6 million.
If the lottery has its way, those records won’t stand long. The lottery has a goal of increasing ticket sales by a further 2.1% in the current fiscal year.
If that happens, Michigan could see over $4 billion in lottery sales this period. There is doubt, though, about how much other forms of gambling can pull from that total, especially through internet channels.