The Texas Lottery plans to expand its practices with Dollar General, the nation’s first “in-lane” offering of lottery tickets, to other big-box retailers, beginning later this year. Several other states also are moving toward the practice, long a lottery industry priority. The move comes as state lotteries are facing increasing competition from new casinos, legalized sports betting and commercialized fantasy sports games. Meanwhile, seven states (Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) now allow people to buy lottery tickets online.
Texans to buy lottery tickets in the checkout lanes of the state’s more than 1,500 Dollar General stores. Shoppers at the discount giant can now grab Powerball and Mega Millions tickets while in line to pay for their other purchases. Clusters of $4 and $10 game tickets reminiscent of gift cards hang from a colorful jackpot display by the register, virtually impossible to overlook.
Other larger retailers in Texas also sell lottery tickets, but customers must buy them at the stores’ service centers or through cash-only vending machines.
Dollar General Store
Dollar General, which has 10 San Antonio stores among its 1,500 statewide, also insists the new venture is valuable to all of its customers. The new lottery agreement will give Dollar General customers two QuickTicket options; $4 for a two-ticket card or $10 for five tickets. Winners will have to collect their money at a claim center.
A new concept with H-E-B is also in the works “to deploy a separate in-lane solution called receipt ticket. Dollar General will initially sell only tickets for the two multi-jurisdictional games; Mega Millions and Powerball. The Tennessee-based company, which has 16,000 stores nationwide, will be monitoring the rollout in Texas before it considers expanding lottery sales in any of the 43 other states where it currently has stores.
New lottery option well received
Texas Lottery officials say in-lane sales could dramatically boost revenue. Dollar General does not release sales projections, but spokeswoman Crystal Ghassemi said the new lottery option has been “well-received” by the chain’s customers.
Texas Lottery retailers earned $335.9 million in commissions and incentives in fiscal 2019, from nearly $6.3 billion in sales, both all-time highs. Since it started in 1992, the Texas Lottery’s sales of scratch tickets and draw games have generated more than $30 billion in state revenue for education, veterans and other programs.
All but five states now have lotteries. Mississippi in November 2019 became the latest state to add a lottery, which sold $8.9 million in its first six days.
Other states to follow
Texas’ arrangement with Dollar General appears to be the first of its kind, but other states are exploring the concept. Lottery officials in Kentucky and Arizona say they are moving toward the implementation of in-lane programs.
According to Tom Delacenserie, CEO of the Kentucky Lottery, the reason they’re trying to work so hard to get this in-lane is that it offers us another distribution point and it probably helps impulse sales. For the consumer, it just makes it easier because it’s one less step they have to make in that store. Of the $91.3 billion in sales by U.S. lotteries in fiscal 2019, $25.1 billion went to state and local governments for services such as education, infrastructure, health care, pensions, conservation, and elderly assistance, according to data from the state and provincial lotteries association. Lotteries paid out $52.8 billion in prizes, and the rest went toward retailer compensation and lottery operations.
In Texas, public schools are the biggest recipients of lottery revenue, though one review by the Center for Public Policy Priorities, an Austin-based nonprofit, found that the $1.5 billion a year the lottery funnels to schools cover less than a week of operating expenses. (Source: News portal)