Powerball, MegaMillions games still impacted by pandemic
CLIVE — Iowa Lottery scratch tickets are moving out of stores quickly — but the multi-state lotto games are still feeling the impact of the pandemic.
Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer says the sales boost from the two big Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots in January tailed off when they were won. “That category has had some difficulty, and it’s something that all the lotteries and the games are continuing to talk about and try to figure out a better way forward,” Neubauer says.
Neubauer says the scratch ticket sales stayed strong because they have provided people with a game they could take with them and play during the pandemic. The lotto game sales dropped off with people staying home and that is not good for a game that depends on large pools of people in multiple states buying tickets. “Jackpot amounts have lagged — that in turned means sales have lagged — because sales in those games are so jackpot driven,” Neubauer says. “And so, it’s kind of become a self-fulfilling prophecy there that those games have just had some lag to them.”
Neubauer says the two January jackpots were the exception for those games. “That jackpot run in January — which was months in the making because the jackpots had slowly built over time and finally reached those really high numbers in January — that jackpot run made a difference, but that category is still lagging and it’s something that we are quite frankly finding our way through,” Neubauer says.
For now, the tried and true scratch tickets are making up the difference in sales and have the Iowa Lottery ahead of its budget projections.