The Irish National Lottery (INL), also known as the Irish Lotto, exceeded all expectations in 2016 with record sales topping €750 million (£670 million). The 12% year-on-year increase in revenue was due to more than two million players regularly anteing up via an enlarged network of live and online vendors.
According to the stats from the lottery’s operator Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), the number of sales outlets grew from 4,002 to 5,290. In line with an increased number of shops selling tickets to the Irish Lotto, online sales also increased by 77% to €40 million (£35 million) in 2016.
Despite the marked increase in online sales, live sales also improved by 10%. However, with more people now turning to their laptops and smartphones in order to place a bet, PLI has moved to increase investment in this area. PLI CEO Dermot Griffin told the Irish Times:
"Several important initiatives were activated during the year, including the continued refresh of our game portfolio, major investment in our online and retail channels and the launch of the new National Lottery App."
The success of Ireland’s prosperity in the online arena comes in the wake of the UK lottery showing a similar trend. In 2016, UK Lotto owner Camelot reported record year-on-year revenue for 2015. Of the £7.6b in sales, digital sales accounted for £596m.
Although still a fraction of the overall sales, that total was 53% more than it was in 2014. However, in contrast to Ireland’s recent success, the UK Lotto’s takings slipped overall in 2016. Following a boom between 2014 and 2015, sales dropped by 8.8% to £6.9 billion.
On top of outlet sales falling, smartphone, desktop and tablet revenue also took a hit in 2016. However, despite a £63.3 million tumble, players still spent £1.5 billion via the operator’s digital platform. This, in spite of the overall decline in sales, is a sign that players are gradually gravitating towards the online side of lottery gaming.
Part of this move towards online gaming has been due to the increase in lottery betting sites. Through a combination of internal lotteries created by specific operators to lottery hubs where players can speculate on games from around the world, punters now have access to many more draws.
At the click of a button (or touch of a screen), players can not only go online and play the Irish Lotto and others, but also pick up bonuses, reduced game entry and more. This growth of online lottery gaming has opened up the game to a new tech-savvy audience and, moreover, spawned a wave of innovations.
For PLI and players in Ireland, this has resulted in better sales in 2016 and, therefore, more money in the system. Moreover, it seems to have rejuvenated interest in lottery gaming across Europe as a whole. The recent EuroMillions draw on October 6, 2017, featured the largest jackpot ever recorded this side of the Atlantic.
After failing to crown an outright winner since the start of September, the EuroMillions jackpot hit £168 million. With a place in the top 1,000 richest Brits up for grabs, players anted up in their droves, but the winning ticket eventually emerged in Spain.
The as-yet-unidentified player was the sole recipient of the mega prize and will now go down in the history books as the biggest lottery winner in Europe. However, despite winning a life-changing sum of money, the Spaniard’s haul pales in comparison to the $758 million (£591 million) Mavis Wanczyck won in August 2017.
The 32-year-old from Massachusetts took a shot at the record-breaking Powerball draw like millions of other Americans and came away with the biggest win in history. These stories, coupled with the rise in access via digital platforms, have contributed to the INL’s recent growth and should serve as a fitting tribute to the lottery’s 30th birthday!
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