Published: March 10, 2019

Global lotteries enjoy good start to 2018

Global lottery sales increased a healthy 5.7% during the first quarter of 2018, with Africa celebrating thanks to outstanding growth in South Africa and Morocco.

Lotteries around the world enjoyed a strong first quarter of 2018 with every continent recording positive growth. The last occasion lotteries worldwide enjoyed such a favorable start to the year was 2015.

Africa was the most spectacular performer, with contributing lotteries across the region posting quarter-on-quarter growth of 17.7%. Latin America followed closely behind with quarter-on-quarter growth of 13.9% in aggregate. Growth in the Latin American region was almost wholly attributable to the strong performance of Brazil’s Caixa Econômica Federal.

For their part, the North America and Asia Pacific regions both enjoyed aggregate growth rates of around 7% quarter-on-quarter. Growth in the Asia Pacific region was underpinned by China’s Sports Lottery, which enjoyed stellar Q1-on-Q1 growth of 18.3%.

Africa: Jackpots at Ithuba take off as Morocco's run continues

South Africa’s Ithuba began 2018 in fine form with a quarter-on-quarter jump in sales of 12.7%. The increase in sales at the South African National Lottery was driven by large jackpots for LOTTO and POWERBALL, with the top prizes for both games rolling over from the end of the previous year. The LOTTO jackpot ultimately went on to become the then-largest in the lottery’s 18-year history, with four winners eventually sharing the record ZAR 110 million prize. When combined with the rollover of the POWERBALL jackpot from the previous month, this brought Ithuba to record-breaking sales for January 2018.

Beyond this, Ithuba’s January sales also featured a record-breaking week, which brought in ZAR 232 million. The sterling performance of Africa’s lottery powerhouse helped the continent’s contributing lotteries in posting a quarter-on-quarter increase in sales of 17.7% in aggregate.

Not to be outdone, Morocco’s two lotteries again reaped rewards in the first quarter of 2018 after enjoying a fruitful 2017, with Loterie Nationale and La Marocaine des Jeux (MDJS) celebrating quarter-on-quarter growth rates of 26.1% and an indicator-leading 35.8% respectively.

Loterie Nationale was among the WLA’s fastest growing members in Africa during 2017 and is showing no signs of wanting to relinquish this crown in 2018.

Latin America: Brazil’s CAIXA powers Latin American growth

Contributing Latin American lotteries enjoyed growth of 13.9% for Q1 2018, as against Q1 2017. Once again Brazil’s Caixa Econômica Federal was almost solely responsible for the ostensibly strong growth rate across the region. CAIXA’s first-quarter on first-quarter increase in sales of 18% pushed up the continent’s aggregate growth to the reported 13.9% figure.

Elsewhere in Latin America, Mexico’s Pronósticos boosted its first-quarter sales by a creditable 3.5% over the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Its sister lottery Lotería National para la Asistencia Pública had a relatively flat first quarter, which saw sales decrease marginally.

North America: OLG and the California State Lottery bolster North America

The North American region also performed robustly, with contributing North American lotteries reporting a healthy 7.2% increase in sales in aggregate for the first quarter of 2018, as against the first quarter of 2017.

The good performance of lotteries in North America was built on the back of results from Canada’s Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) and America’s California State Lottery, which led the way with quarter-on-quarter increases in sales of 15.1% and 13.7% respectively. The increase in sales gains at the California State Lottery were largely attributable to the performance of the multi-jurisdictional Mega Millions and Powerball games, and strong sales for the lottery’s Scratchers (instant) tickets. Mega Millions experienced faster jackpot progressions after its matrix change and move from the USD 1 to USD 2 price point in October 2017, resulting in higher sales per draw. The average jackpot level for Mega Millions in Q1 2017 was USD 100 million, reaching a high of USD 188 million. During Q1 2018 the average grew to USD 221 million, and broke the USD 500 million mark for the first time since 2016, further driving sales. During this same period, Powerball also broke the USD 500 million barrier in Q1 2018, reaching USD 570 million in January 2018; in March 2018 the feat was almost repeated, with the jackpot reaching USD 455 million. This compared to Q1 2017, where only one Powerball jackpot over USD 400 million was recorded.

Sales of the California Lottery’s Scratchers also fared very well in the first quarter of 2018, and were nearly USD 100 million higher compared to Q1 2017. These gains were attributed to the USD 3, USD 5, USD 10, and USD 20 price points, with half coming from USD 20 games alone. During Q1 2017, no new USD 20 games were launched and only three to four USD 20 games were being sold in any given week, whereas in Q1 2018 two new USD 20 games were launched and there were an average of five to six USD 20 games on the market.

Even as OLG and the California State Lottery were the pick of the North American lotteries, the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation could be pleased with a solid 6.8% boost in sales on the previous year.

For their part, the New York State Lottery, the Kentucky Lottery Corporation, and the Connecticut Lottery Corporation all recorded Q1-on-Q1 growth rates of between 3 and 4.5%, while Canada’s BCLC enjoyed a first-quarter on first-quarter increase in sales of 2.9%.

Asia Pacific: China Sports Lottery enjoys an outstanding first quarter

Asia Pacific’s lotteries enjoyed yet another good quarter, with contributing lotteries reporting an aggregate increase in sales of 6.9% for Q1 2018, versus the corresponding revenue period of the previous year. The outstanding performance of the China Sports Lottery was responsible for much of the region’s growth.

The Sports Lottery’s performance for the January–March period was largely driven by growth in sports betting sales, which were up by 36.2% quarter-on-quarter to CNY 22.7 billion. Numbers games also performed creditably, with sales up 5.5% quarter-on-quarter to CNY 64 billion.

From January to March 2018, sales increased in 26 provinces across China, most notably across the Hunan, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shaanxi, and Jiangxi provinces.

Elsewhere in Asia Pacific, the Hong Kong Jockey Club also fared well, with total sales for Q1 2018 up a decent 6% on Q1 2017. In Australia, LotteryWest came close to matching its counterpart in Hong Kong, enjoying a quarter-on-quarter increase in sales of 4.6%.

Europe: SAZKA Group shows the way in Europe

Contributing lotteries in Europe were up a comparatively modest 3.7% for the first three months of 2018, as against the first three months of 2017. Leading European lottery group SAZKA Group may be pleased with performance of companies where it has significant interests. The fully-owned Czech Republic subsidiary Sazka was the star performer, reporting a stellar Q1-on-Q1 increase in sales of 29.8%. Its excellent growth was driven by a combination of the growth of retail instants, the high performance of Eurojackpot, and the contribution of e-instants, which were only launched at the end of the comparable period (March 2017).

SAZKA Group also owns almost one-third of Greece’s OPAP and as such will be pleased that a 2% increase in sales (5.1% increase in GGR) at the Greek national lottery for the Q1-on-Q1 period resulted in a healthy 20% profit hike. Revenues at OPAP increased thanks to an increased contribution from VLTs and meaningful betting growth, while profits were boosted by increased contribution of products with lower taxation rates.

Hungary’s Szerencsejáték Zrt. enjoyed a buoyant 2017 and continued its run of good form into 2018, with total sales up 6.2% for the period January–March 2018, as against the same timeframes in the previous year. The Hungarian national lottery reported increased play across all game categories, with particularly good results from its new instant tickets.

Poland’s Totalizator Sportowy was the region’s second-strongest performer during the quarter with total sales up 12.5% for the first quarter of 2018, versus the corresponding period in 2017.

Increased sales of KENO and scratch cards had the biggest impact on growth, while the lottery also started accepting non-cash payments and launched EuroJackpot at the tail end of 2017. Counterpointing these developments, the Polish national lottery flagged the possibility that a decrease in sales of the company’s main Lotto product may have resulted from cannibalization by EuroJackpot.

Elsewhere in the region, Switzerland’s Loterie Romande could be more than content with a Q1-on-Q1 increase in sales of 11.2%, while the UK’s Camelot reported a healthy Q1-on-Q1 growth in sales of 7.3%.Looking forward

The WLA will continue to track the progress of global lottery sales in future editions of the WLA QLSI. Once again we thank all WLA member lotteries participating in this initiative, and look forward to bringing you the second quarter 2018 results shortly.

Luca Esposito

WLA Executive Director

* Based on sales of participating lotteries. Participating lotteries by region:
Africa Latin America
Ghana: National Lottery Authority Brazil: Caixa Econômica Federal 
Mauritius: Mauritius National Lottery Chile: Polla Chilena de Beneficencia 
Morocco: La Marocaine des Jeux et des Sports Mexico: Lotería National para la Asistencia Pública 
Morocco: Loterie Nationale Mexico: Pronósticos 
South Africa: Ithuba Holdings (RF) (Proprietary) Limited North America
Asia Pacific Canada: BCLC
Australia: LotteryWest Canada: Loto-Québec
China: China Sports Lottery Canada: Ontario Lottery
China: Chinese Welfare Lottery USA: California Lottery
Hong Kong: HKJC USA: Connecticut Lottery Corporation
Japan: Mizuho Bank Ltd. USA: Florida Lottery
Europe USA: Kentucky Lottery Corporation
Czech Republic: SAZKA a.s. USA: New York State Lottery
Finland: Veikkaus Oy USA: Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation 
France: Française des Jeux  
Greece: OPAP  
Hungary: Szerencsejáték Zrt.  
Italy: Lottomatica S.p.A  
Norway: Norsk Tipping AS  
Poland: Totalizator Sportowy Sp. z o.o.  
Spain: Loterías y Apuestas del Estado  
Spain: Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles  
Sweden: AB Svenska Spel  
Switzerland: Loterie Romande  
United Kingdom: Camelot UK Lotteries Limited  

All WLA members receive the WLA Quarterly Lottery Sales Indicator. Individual sales figures are confidential, and are available only to participating lotteries. Participating lotteries receive a separate, more detailed breakdown of quarterly sales figures. For enquiries regarding participation in the WLA Quarterly Lottery Sales Indicator, please contact Dr. Matthew Spinks (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) at the WLA Basel business office.

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