Lotteries have proved to be resilient to the global pandemic lockdown, faring better than their gambling competitors in the difficult operating conditions of 2020. Research by GBGC for the 15th edition of the Global Gambling Report has shown that global lottery revenues will contract less than casinos or betting. In 2020, global gambling revenues will fall by around 20% across all sectors. But global lottery revenues will decline by a more modest 10%.

No gambling sector has been totally immune from the pandemic’s impact and lotteries across the world have been forced to halt retail operations temporarily. It was back in January 2020 that China’s state lotteries extended their annual new year suspension to halt the virus’ spread. Other lotteries followed.

South Africa closed its lottery shops. New Zealand suspended retail lottery sales for four weeks and only re-opened about 45% of its network at end of April. Italy halted lotteries at the beginning of April, whilst Vietnam suspended lottery draws for 15 days in the same month.

But lotteries in many jurisdictions have been able to continue holding draws and offering games, even though retail outlets were closed. This has enabled those lotteries with established digital sales channels to mitigate the retail restrictions.

One of the benefits to emerge from the shutdown could be greater investment in lotteries’ online sales channels. Lottery revenues still account for only 10% of all global interactive gambling and there is an opportunity for lotteries to take a much bigger share of the i-gaming sector.

The outlook for all gambling sectors, however, remains uncertain. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has written that “many countries face a multi-layered crisis comprising a health shock, domestic economic disruptions, plummeting external demand, capital flow reversals, and a collapse in commodity prices. Risks of a worse outcome predominate.”

The future recovery for lotteries depends on multiple factors:

• The lifting of national lockdowns.

• The risk of ‘second waves’ of infection, resulting in further partial lockdowns.

• Recession and unemployment reducing consumers’ disposable income and desire to spend.

• Sustained changes in consumer behaviour and spending habits.

Whilst many countries are still battling their pandemics, it is hard to predict which factors will be the most influential and how they will interact with each other. Subscribing to GBGC’s specialist gambling reports will enable clients to keep up to date with developments in the world’s gambling markets over the next 12 months.

GBGC’s comprehensive Global Gambling Report is in its 15th edition in 2020. In the new edition GBGC has extended the forecasts until 2025 and has given its view as to how gambling will fare in the post-COVID world. There are also updated reports for more than 250 individual gambling jurisdictions.