Global Lottery Growth Eases In FY2017 Amid Draw Game Decline In Europe And United States

The World Lottery Association’s (WLA) latest global lottery data compendium shows that growth in lottery sales across its members slowed to 3.2 percent in fiscal 2017 from 6.8 percent a year earlier, affected by lower draw game sales in the United States after a bumper 2016.  

According to the fifth edition of the industry body’s annual review of the lottery industry, global lottery and sports-betting sales across 145 contributing WLA members rose 3.2 percent year-on-year in constant currency terms to US$283bn in fiscal 2017.

Including turnover from 27 NASPL-affiliated lotteries in North America and the Caribbean that are not members of the WLA, the association “conservatively” estimates that global state-regulated lottery sales totalled $303.2bn over the period, passing the $300bn mark for the first time.

The latest reported upside represents steadier growth than the 6.8 percent recorded in fiscal 2016, mirroring the deceleration observed in WLA data between fiscal 2014 and 2015.

As was the case in fiscal 2015, traditional draw-based sales, which remain the industry’s principal product segment, acted as a drag on overall growth with segment sales increasing by a modest 0.7 percent to $148.7bn following a 5.8 percent uptick in fiscal 2016.

Betting on fixed-odds and pari-mutuel sports products continued to be the fastest-growing segment within WLA members’ combined product mix, up 10.4 percent year-on-year to $58.5bn, while growth in scratch card, pull-tab and online instant win sales eased to 2.6 percent from 5.8 percent a year earlier.

Draw-based lottery games accounted for 53.7 percent of the sales total, which excludes $41.6bn in gross gaming revenue (GGR), reported net of prize payouts, from other categories such as video lottery terminals (VLTs) and electronic instant lotteries, down from 54.9 percent in fiscal 2016.

Instant win games, meanwhile, generated 25.2 percent of combined lottery and betting sales, flat year-on-year for the second year in a row, with sports-betting products accounting for the remaining 21.1 percent, up from 19.8 percent a year earlier.

Lotteries based in the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 40.7 percent of US dollar-denominated member sales, surpassing Europe and the Middle East with 34.9 percent, North America and the Caribbean with 21.5 percent, Latin America with 2.3 percent and Africa with 0.6 percent.

Using the NASPL-adjusted global sales estimate of $303.2bn, the WLA estimates that North America and the Caribbean’s global share was in fact roughly 26.3 percent.

The global lottery data compendium includes product-specific sales data both regionally and on a member-by-member basis, allowing for a comparison of the relative regional weightings of global draw-based, instant and sports game sales.


The WLA data indicates that Asia-Pacific and Europe together accounted for 80 percent of draw-based sales in fiscal 2017, with the former region contributing sales of $62.9bn, up 5.8 percent year-on-year, versus the latter’s $56bn, down 2.7 percent year-on-year.

North American WLA members generated sales of $23bn from number lotteries in the same period, representing 15.4 percent of the segment total, while members in Latin America and Africa yielded equivalent turnover of $6.1bn and $0.8bn respectively.

Draw-based sales from participating North American lotteries fell by 4.8 percent year-on-year to $23bn. This total was dragged down by a decline of around 7 percent among US lotteries against a particularly steep prior-year total, when a world record $1.5bn Powerball jackpot catalysed atypically high double-digit growth.

Asia-Pacific continues to figure less and less prominently in the breakdown of instant game sales, providing $4.8bn, or 6.9 percent, of the WLA member total in this category, down from 10.3 percent three years prior in fiscal 2014.

GamblingCompliance estimates that China’s lottery duopoly accounted for around three-quarters of Asia-Pacific’s relatively small $4.8bn instant lottery contribution, with members based in Japan and Australia next in line with regional shares of around 10 and 8 percent respectively.

In the absence of any significant scratch card offerings in Latin America and Africa, Europe and North America together accounted for around 93 percent of global instant lottery sales across WLA members over the period.

The WLA’s 25 North American members drove a majority 51.6 percent of total sales in the instant segment despite the absence of scratch card powerhouse the Massachusetts Lottery from the membership, broadly in line with the share registered in fiscal 2016.

Asia-Pacific, by contrast, continued to dominate the sports-betting comparison, driving $45bn, or 77 percent, of global lottery turnover from fixed-odds and pari-mutuel betting products, broadly in line with fiscal 2015 and 2016.

GamblingCompliance estimates that horseracing and football betting powerhouse HKJC (the Hong Kong Jockey Club) accounted for 46 percent of the WLA sports-betting total, with combined horseracing and football betting turnover of US$26.9bn in the year to June 2017.

The China Sports Lottery, meanwhile, drove an estimated 30 percent or $13.5bn of global WLA sports-betting volumes over the period, up significantly from 21.2 percent in fiscal 2016.

The fast-growing Sports Lottery, now the larger part of China’s lottery duopoly by sales, further ramped its share of global sports-betting volumes among lottery operators in 2018, when it took 55.2bn yuan ($8bn) in stakes on the FIFA World Cup alone.

Lotteries across Europe and the Middle East, meanwhile, accounted for 20 percent of the betting product total, down slightly year-on-year despite strong growth and product expansion in the sports offerings of lotteries in Greece, Portugal and Hungary and the integration of horseracing products into the portfolio of expanded Finnish monopoly Veikkaus.


The above graphic provides country-by-country breakdowns across each of the three core product categories, calculated after converting each member’s sales data into US dollars.

China remains a clear leader in the highly fragmented draw-based comparison with 26.3 percent of WLA member sales in fiscal 2017, surpassing the US with 12 percent, Spain with 7.8 percent, Italy with 6.9 percent, Germany and Japan each with just under 5 percent and the UK with a diminished 3.5 percent.

Although only 20 out of 45 US state lotteries figure in the WLA data, this group accounted for an imposing 48.8 percent of global instant lottery sales across the WLA membership, amid a continued transition in player activity towards higher-priced scratch-offs.

Incorporating figures for non-participating US lotteries from GamblingCompliance’s consolidated US lottery data report, the United States as a whole is estimated to have generated roughly 56.7 percent of global instant lottery sales in fiscal 2017, with a combined total of around $47bn.

Italy is the second largest contributor in this category, with Lottomatica’s lucrative "Gratta e Vinci" game having accounted for $10.3bn, or 14.8 percent, of global instant lottery sales in fiscal 2017, steady year-on-year but down from a 19 percent share in fiscal 2014.

France, the UK and China rounded off the top five in the country-by-country instant lottery comparison with segment shares of 12 percent, 5.3 percent and 5.2 percent respectively, while Portugal’s Jogos Santa Casa continued to punch well above its weight with a share of 2.4 percent.

World Lottery Association data can be found here.