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Holiday 2023 Review: Part 1

Featuring Arizona - Iowa

April 23, 2024

NASPL Insights Online



Details for each lottery’s holiday instant games may be found in the November/December 2023 edition of Insights magazine.

 




Arizona Lottery

Arizona’s holiday lineup included six games: one each at $1, $2, $3, $5, $10 and $20.


Most successful game(s):

Our $2 game Snow Much Fun had the largest year-over-year growth, reaching +13.3% above the previous year’s game. Increased inflation, increased entertainment choices, and merchandising challenges at convenience stores all contributed to the increased popularity of lower-priced instant tickets.


Launch and end dates:

Holiday games launched on the first Tuesday of October, which is consistent with past years. For the past two years, a multiplier family has been launched at the end of December, encouraging retailers to replace the holiday games with this new family. The one exception is the $20 game, 100X, which was launched with a holiday pulse. The holiday pulse ran through early December and then transitioned to a “normal” design that fits with the multiplier family.




General holiday strategies:

The $1 Holiday Cash was designed to encourage gifting and has a lower-than-average top prize to provide more winning experiences. The $2 Snow Much Fun also emphasized gifting with a “To & From” label placed on the ticket, but was also designed as a fun impulse purchase. The $3 and $5 games, Naughty or Nice Crossword and Snow Globe Cash, were extended play tickets. The $10 game, 25 Days of Winning, is a continuation of a popular Advent calendar theme offered for the past several years. Lastly, as noted the $20 100X was designed with two pulses, one for the holiday family and one for the January Multiplier family. 


Other holiday games, promotions or activities: 

Two Fast Play games were included in the holiday lineup, $2 Reindeer Riches and $5 Christmas Cactus Cash.


Major lessons learned in 2023:

Although the Advent calendar and extended play games were popular in the past, this year’s holiday sales suggest that the themes are getting stale. Plans are underway to explore new themes at the $5 and $10 price points in 2024. We will also only offer one Fast Play holiday game in 2024 based on 2023 sales.



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Arkansas Scholarship Lottery

Arkansas’ holiday lineup included two games: one each at $1 and $2.

Most successful game(s):

We launched two holiday tickets, the $1 Betty Boop and $2 It’s Gold Outside. Both games were equally successful.


Launch and end dates:

We launched at the end of October. Ideally, we like to start the end of game process in March or earlier for holiday games.


General holiday strategies:

We typically use lower price points ($1 and $2) for holiday games. There was digital and in-store POS support that included the $2 It’s Gold Outside ticket. The theme was Winner Wonderland.


Other holiday games, promotions or activities: 

We launch two holiday-themed Fast Play games every year, $1 Holiday Cash and $1 Candy Cane Cash.


Major lessons learned in 2023:

We will continue launching a $1 and $2 holiday games next year, and will consider adding a $3 holiday game.

 



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Atlantic Lottery

Atlantic’s holiday lineup included four games: one each at $3, $5, $10 (national game) and $25.


Most successful game(s):

Our most successful holiday offering was the $25 Holiday Pack, which players see as a great gifting option. The pack offers $40 of play value for only $25, a guaranteed winner of at least $10 in every pack and a $2 promo code to redeem for play on alc.ca.


Launch and end dates:

We always launch our holiday tickets in early- to mid-October and we remove them from market in February/ March to give players enough time to redeem their prizes and pick up another product if they wish to do so. Of note, we only launch two individual holiday tickets and rely on the entire lineup for sales as opposed to launching several holiday tickets.


General holiday strategies:

We had record sales in December and during Christmas week specifically due to a few games, including the $25 Holiday Pack, $10 Gift Pack, $4 Set for Life ticket and $5 MEGA 360 ticket, which launched in October. The holiday tickets helped to achieve these records, but other regular games were big contributors to our record sales, especially MEGA 360. The media strategy to support the holiday campaign leveraged multiple mediums and tactics, including digital (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Video, Display, Spotify; scratchable ad units, a gamification tactic; digital out-of-home), television, radio, and out-of-home billboards. In addition to these paid media tactics, the campaign leveraged the following owned channel placements: POS (in-store takeover), email marketing, alc.ca website takeover and organic social media. Holiday tickets could be entered into our 2chance program like any other tickets.





Insights on eInstants: 

This holiday season we launched three seasonally-themed digital instant games: $crooge, Yeti Wild Wins and Festive Money Maker. We continue to develop holiday games with our vendors, as they have become very popular among players during this time of year. The digital instant lifecycle varies from Scratch’N Win, as we typically do not remove any games, even if theme-specific. The iGames team is also involved in promotions like December to Remember and Winter Winderland, which help to bring awareness to these holiday games. Additionally, our players continue to play these games year-round, with some remaining in our top-30 games overall.


While we do not typically cross-promote with scratch tickets, during the last two years we have ensured December to Remember – our biggest promotion of the year – matches in appearance and color with the holiday scratch pack. This allows us to bring some synergy between the brands. December to Remember requires players to have an online account, and offers a chance to win daily prizes by engaging with various lottery games across all channels (different games or product lines each day), as well as the healthy play features available through their accounts. This encourages them to try our entire portfolio.


Major lessons learned in 2023:

No major lessons learned as we did not change course significantly from what has worked well in previous years.            

 


 

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British Columbia Lottery Corp.

BCLC’s holiday lineup included 11 games: two each at $1, $2, $3, $5, $10 (one was the national game), plus one at $20.


Most successful game(s):

$10 Countdown to Christmas was our top performing holiday ticket. This ticket was designed to look like an Advent calendar and featured a symbol match game play. Adding to its allure, this ticket sparkled with Pollard’s Scratch FX and used eye-catching traditional Christmas symbols for each day of the calendar. The print run was 250,000 and we sold out in just six weeks, three weeks sooner than the $10 Holiday ticket from 2022. Another best seller was our $1 Gift Tag Greetings. These gift tags came in four festive designs and were the perfect toppers for gifts. $1 Gift Tag Greetings was the top performing $1 holiday ticket over the past five years.


Launch and end dates:

We launched our tickets in two waves, as per our usual holiday cadence. We launched the first five tickets (1 x $20, 1 x $10, 2 x $5, and 1 x $3) on October 10, after the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and the remaining six (1 x $10, 1 x $3, 2 x $2, and 2 x $1) on October 23. All tickets were in market until the end of the year.


General holiday strategies:

We launch eleven holiday season tickets, which gives us the ability to offer variety in price points, game play and ticket design. For each price point, we generally have two tickets: one that uses more classic Christmas color palettes and designs to appeal to the Christmas traditionalists and a second that is more whimsical and modern. This was the twelfth year that we offered our extremely popular digital second chance contest, Tech the Halls, which is advertised on all our holiday tickets. Players entered a scratched-off code from any of the holiday tickets onto a contest site for chances to win cash prizes as well as the grand prize of an entertainment system, which included a TV, sound system and gaming system.


For promotional support, we provided our retailers with POS materials, including store posters, banners and digital signage to promote our Christmas Scratch & Win campaign. The POS materials were in market from the end of November to the end of December. For select retailers, we created a premium holiday greeting card that they could give to customers who purchased a minimum of $25 in Scratch & Win tickets and provided scratchers that they could give away to players. This promotion ran for the month of December.


Our media campaign coverage included digital/social ads, digital news placements, out-of-home billboards, traditional and digital radio and TV traffic tags, and ran for the month of December. The creative for both POS and media focused primarily on gift givers and secondarily on core players with two messages and creatives. The first message focused on the emotional connections people make during the holiday season and the ease of gifting Scratch & Win tickets, while the second message drove trial of the Tech the Halls second chance contest.


Other holiday games, promotions or activities: 

We created an omnichannel offering at the $5 price point called Winning Tree. Our first omnichannel holiday game, this ticket had a bonus section that offered free play bonuses on our i-gaming platform, PlayNow, and drove players to an eInstant version of Winning Tree, a popular holiday eInstant game with a progressive jackpot.





Insights on eInstants: 

This year we excluded one of the $5 holiday tickets, $5 Winning Tree, from the Tech the Halls Contest. Instead, we chose to create an omnichannel product, using a popular eIinstant holiday game with a progressive jackpot. We created a Scratch & Win ticket that leveraged creative from the Winning Tree eInstant game. We drove players to the eInstant game by adding a bonus section on the instant ticket where players could win free play bonuses for our iGaming platform, PlayNow.


This was our first-ever omnichannel offering during the holiday season. Because our players are used to all our tickets being eligible for the second chance Tech the Halls contest, we were concerned this omnichannel ticket would not perform as well as our second $5 holiday ticket offering. However, we did not see a decline in performance for the omnichannel offerings. Both tickets had comparable sales performance.


Major lessons learned in 2023:

Players love Advent calendar tickets during the holiday season. They are festive and offer a lot of game play and excitement. Players and gift givers love new and exciting ideas. Our first ever $1 Gift Tag Greetings tickets were a holiday hit, reinforcing that the $1 price point appeals to mass gift givers. Our $5 omnichannel ticket, Winning Tree, also did well despite not being eligible for Tech the Halls, proving there is an appetite for omnichannel holiday offerings. And after twelve years, our players are still engaged in our second chance contest with over a million tickets entered in 2023. Our $3 winter-themed ticket, Merry Multiplier, did not do as well as our $3 ticket that was more Christmas themed. Our players prefer overt Christmas themes, designs and colors to general winter themes.

 



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California Lottery

California’s holiday lineup included four games: one each at $1, $5, $10 and $20.


Most successful game(s):

Our $10 Merry Multiplier and $1 Gift Tag Greetings. Both games have features players love and reflect the ways players give Scratchers as gifts. Merry Multiplier focused on the multipliers that are always popular with our most loyal players. These players prefer to gift $10+ games to others and are also buying one for themselves, and the giftable Merry Multiplier was our best performing $10 holiday game in the past five years. Players also emphasize the importance of the “to” and “from” tags on holiday games – Gift Tag Greetings made this the focus with a design reminiscent of a large holiday gift tag. Gift Tag Greetings sold the most tickets amongst the holiday games during the 2023 gifting season.





Launch and end dates:

Similar to prior years, we launched our holiday games in late October (October 23) and typically end them in January or February, depending on the game. In addition to a specific holiday suite of games, we also launch giftable games in November that include whimsical and elegant options that can last beyond the season, like our popular Pet Payout game with its playful illustrations of cats and dogs and the beautiful designs of our Lunar New Year games.


General holiday strategies:

California Lottery’s overall holiday strategy remains consistent, emphasizing Scratchers as a fun and wonderful gift with the ongoing holiday tagline Give the Gift of Scratchers. We also incorporate the headline Give the Gift of Play to reinforce the fun and entertainment in our games. Our holiday marketing is a fully integrated campaign across consumer touchpoints to reach our distinct player segments at key moments in their path to purchase. This includes traditional paid media support such as TV, radio and out-of-home advertising along with robust retail point-of-sale, digital marketing, streaming video, streaming audio, social media, email marketing and influencer marketing. 


Other holiday games, promotions or activities: 

We did continue an ongoing element we have utilized in other campaigns that was different from holiday 2022: Digital ads through the Uber mobile app that consumers see during the period of dispatching, waiting for a driver, and during the drive to their destination. Scratchers messaging is also shown on in-car tablets in select vehicles of top-performing Uber drivers in select markets.


Major lessons learned in 2023:

Our key takeaway would be to continue our holistic strategy of considering not only the holiday suite, but all the games in market during the holiday season. CA Lottery has focused on creating a specific section of the portfolio focused on growing brand awareness and shifting consumer perceptions as a way to appeal to more California adults and expand playership. Our gifting analysis highlights that many of these games were also selected by players to gift, making it important to have these types of games in the mix during the valuable holiday period.

 



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Connecticut Lottery

Connecticut’s holiday lineup included three games: one each at $1, $2 and $5.


Most successful game(s):

The $5 Holiday Riches has been a best seller. We increased the ticket quantity by 200,000 and it still sold out.


Launch and end dates:

Holiday games launched in late October, and were removed in February. The schedule has largely remained the same over the years.


General holiday strategies:

We focused on traditional holiday themes and didn’t make any changes in our themes; price points, payouts and structure remained the same as in previous years. We will be including second chance drawings this year. We have never had a 2nd chance drawing on holiday games. We will actually implement a 2nd chance strategy that will include 10-15 games, including holiday games, that will give consumers a chance at one prize equivalent to the ticket top prize, along with three smaller prizes. If a game has been designated for a 2nd chance drawing, all pertinent information would be posted on the 2nd chance platform. Note that once the last top prize is claimed for such game, the drawing will occur on the next available draw date, which is once a quarter, and that information will also be on the platform. 


Major lessons learned in 2023:

We will likely adjust our print run with a slight reduction on $5 tickets going forward. Although Holiday Riches did sell out even with the additional tickets, it lasted into February and ideally we want tickets selling out in early January.

 



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DC Lottery

DC’s holiday lineup included three games: one each at $1, $5 and $10.


Most successful game(s):

Our $10 Winter Winnings was our most successful holiday ticket this year. This is the first time in many years that we’ve included the $10 price point in our holiday offerings, and it really paid off. Our holiday sales went up 36% year-over-year.


Launch and end dates:

We launched our holiday games the first Wednesday of November. We reduce the print run at each price point and traditionally go with a winter theme instead of one that is Christmas-specific. This allows the games to have relevance in the market well after the holiday are over.





General holiday strategies:

Our strategy this year was to boost sales year over year. We didn’t have the best holiday the year prior, so we decided to remove the $2 price point and add a $10 holiday game to the collection. Additionally, we brought back our Sleigh Ride to Riches 2nd Chance contest to give away an additional $100,000 in total cash prizes! This strategy proved successful as we were able to increase sales 36% and bring in new players.


Insights on eInstants: 

Our latest holiday eInstant game launch, Christmas Carol, proved to be one of our most successful games in general. In its first two weeks it ranked #13 in launch-week sales of over 75+ games on iLottery. In general, we always implement a Buy X Get Y holiday promotion to coincide with our themed eInstant launches. This year, we put additional emphasis on progressive jackpot style games as they have been some of our best sellers (Christmas Carol was a progressive jackpot game).


Other holiday games, promotions or activities: 

We relaunched a Fast Play holiday game called Candy Cane Cash; however, we did not include this game with the rest of our holiday promotions. We wanted to focus on the scratch product line as we were looking to boost sales from the previous year.


Major lessons learned in 2023:

On the scratch side, we learned that adding a higher price point and engaging players for the holidays always helps. The Sleigh Ride to Riches 2nd Chance Contest brought in new players and kept them engaged and eager to play throughout the holiday season. Going forward, we would look into finding ways to cross-promote with our eInstant and online product lines as it would be a great opportunity to build awareness and boost sales for the entire game portfolio.


On the eInstant side, we did not have any new findings this year, good or bad. Primarily, this season verified that placing emphasis around the holidays is important, as players are eager to play but also distracted by family priorities. Implementing promotions that require participation within a certain time frame keeps their focus on playing throughout a joyful holiday week/month with family and distractions.



 

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Florida Lottery

Florida’s holiday lineup included five games: one each at $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20.


Most successful game(s):

The $5 $1,000,000 Triple Match was the big hit for the Florida Lottery. The $5 price point remains the most popular for personal purchases and gifting during the holiday season.


Launch and end dates:

The October 30 launch included four holiday Triple Match games at $1, $2, $5 and $10 price points. The $20 game launched in September, $5,000,000 Triple Match, featured a limited-quantity pulse of holiday ticket art that allowed it to be promoted alongside our other holiday games. The Triple Match family of games will remain in market until established criteria to end these games is met.


General holiday strategies:

The 2023 holiday-themed Triple Match family of games featured three ways to play and three ways to win with a key number match, instant win and match three play styles. The holiday family included 20 prizes of $1,000,000 or more and more than 28 MILLION instant winners. This “something for everyone” product lineup, with games at five price points and a Bonus Play value proposition, served to attract new and existing consumer segments and incentivize early, multi-price point and higher price point sales throughout the holiday period. The Bonus Play promotion is another appealing feature that drives purchases and adds play value; it provided the opportunity to instantly win gift cards and coupons, as well as entry into drawings to win cash prizes. The $5,000,000 Holiday Bonus Play included more than $4,000,000 in instant-win Spending Spree e-gift cards and over 50,000 Lottery coupons, plus three drawings for cash prizes up to $20,000.


Other holiday games, promotions or activities: 

Jackpot Triple Play draw game tickets purchased during each of the three Bonus Play entry periods were also eligible for entry.


Major lessons learned in 2023:

The $5 price point continues to be the most popular ticket for players purchasing for themselves and for gift giving. We have seen success with offering bonus entries to players who enter the entire family of games; in a recent survey, 74% of respondents reported intentionally purchasing the complete Triple Match family to receive bonus entries into the Bonus Play. Multiple ways to play and win was the most appealing holiday scratch-off feature, followed by the top prize offered and the Holiday Bonus Play promotion. The Holiday Bonus Play promotions continue to influence many players to purchase eligible tickets.



 

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Hoosier Lottery

Hoosier’s holiday lineup included five games: one each at $1, $2, $3, $5 and $10.


Most successful game(s):

The $10 Holiday Cash Blowout is considered the most successful. We saw sales increase on this game, even though the holiday version was just an art refresh of the current Cash Blowout game.


Launch and end dates:

We launched $3 Very Merry Crossword and $10 Holiday Cash Blowout in October; $1 Festive $50, $2 Holiday Jingle and $5 Holiday Wishes launched in November.





General holiday strategies:

Whether it’s a twist on old traditions or the start of new ones, we focused on positioning scratch-offs as gift experiences that create shared memories. Our myLOTTERY player program highlighted the holiday gifting message in a few different ways:


  • Connecting with players through our website, app, social and CRM channels. Email, mobile push and in-browser notifications, and in-app messaging continue to play a vital role in generating awareness with our myLOTTERY members.


  • 2nd Chance promotion eligible for all non-winning holiday scratch-offs where one grand prize winner won $10,000. There were also four $5,000 prizes and 20 $500 prizes. The promotion began with the launch of our first two holiday tickets on October 3 and wrapped after the holidays on January 8. We promoted it with our holiday campaign work.


  • Holiday Game Night is our digital activation where myLOTTERY members can turn up the cheer and play free online games. They earned points, climbed the leaderboard and had opportunities to win entries for chances to win one of ten $250 Hoosier Lottery Prize Packs. Whether it is playing the Jolly Jogger Holiday Race and dodging snowballs and other obstacles, or powering up their chainsaw in Chainsaw Chisel to carve an ice sculpture as fast as they can, players could celebrate the season and start a new tradition with Holiday Game Night! The games ran alongside our campaign and 2nd Chance promotion efforts.


  • Creating new traditions with local influencers. This year, we tapped into even more communities across the state by partnering with three local artists to bring their holiday traditions to life with their art. Each artist created Hoosier Lottery artwork inspired by their own unique holiday traditions. These designs turned into covetable pieces of custom merchandise (mugs, sweaters, blankets, posters, etc.) available as prize packs for myLOTTERY members to win!


  • We showcased our holiday work throughout retail with shopper marketing, holiday-themed coffee sleeves, out-of-home placements like pump toppers along with key account promotions that align with our campaign. We also layered holiday messaging and tickets into our sponsorship footprint and through statewide retail events. We participated in the Christmas Gift and Hobby Show, a popular multi-day holiday event where Hoosiers kick off their holiday shopping. We also took part in an annual lighting show and retail events throughout the state.


Other holiday games, promotions or activities: 

This year, we continued to include Fast Play games in our holiday offering with $1 Jingle Bucks, $2 Peppermint Payout, $3 Holly Jolly Bingo and $5 Snowflake Cash; they launched in November.


Major lessons learned in 2023:

We will continue to evaluate holiday offerings in the Fast Play category to optimize sales and variety within the category. We will also look at scratch-off learnings this year for continued holiday success.

           

 


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Idaho Lottery

Idaho’s holiday lineup included six games: two at $5 and one each at $1, $2, $10 and $20.


Most successful game(s):

There are two ways to measure success. In terms of sales, the $20 Candy Cane Christmas (peppermint scented) game was the most successful both for the season and in the Idaho Lottery’s history for a $20 holiday game. From an engagement perspective, the $5 O’Christmas Spree game with its community involvement aspect (see below) definitely created a lot of excitement for the players. Perhaps more importantly, though, was the success of the 17th edition of our Idaho $1,000,000 Raffle game. This year’s Raffle increased the number of tickets, added a second $1,000,000 prize, and still sold out shortly after Thanksgiving with the fastest daily average of ticket sales ever for any of our Raffle games.


Launch and end dates:

All our holiday scratch games went on sale in mid-October, a week later than our traditional launch window. Our Idaho $1,000,000 Raffle game began on October 21. By the end of March, four of the six holiday games had ended, one with the last top prize being claimed and three as sellouts. The remaining two games are nearly sold out.


General holiday strategies:

Joy Worth Sharing, a holiday theme developed for 2019, was used for the fifth consecutive year in 2023. We also offered players a second-chance opportunity to win one of five $1,000 cash prizes by entering non-winning holiday scratch games through our VIP Club. This year after they entered their 8-digit alphanumeric number, players got to “spin” a holiday wheel to see how many entries they received for the drawing. Since the holidays typically bring in new players, we wanted to make this second chance more fun and engaging. It worked! This promotion ran from October 10 through January 31. Over 177,000 tickets were entered, nearly double the amount from just two years ago.


The O’Christmas Spree ticket was unique in that it offered five players the chance to win a shopping spree at a local Kroger family store location in Idaho. The in-store, Facebook Live event plays like Deal or No Deal with five boxes. Inside the boxes are prizes of $1,000 to $5,000. As a box is selected, that prize is removed until there is one prize left. At this writing, four of the five shopping spree events have been claimed; this game is still active on the market with both $50,000 top prizes and one shopping spree remaining. The promotional aspect was a unique partnership with Kroger and we were able to receive additional advertising opportunities through it.





Other holiday games, promotions or activities:

As noted, we also offered our seasonal Idaho $1,000,000 Raffle game during the holidays. For 2023, there were 450,000 tickets available at $10 each, with two guaranteed top prizes of $1,000,000. That was an increase of 200,000 tickets and an additional $1,000,000 prize compared to the year before. And it sold out at a faster pace than any previous edition of the game!


Major lessons learned in 2023:

The first takeaway would be return the holiday season launch window to its traditional time frame in early to mid-October and avoid any possible conflict with the launch of the very successful Raffle game. That holiday success has been astonishing; Raffle has sold out in record time each of the last two years, both around Thanksgiving. This quick sellout lends itself to supporting only holiday scratch tickets during the balance of the holiday season. We will continue to offer highly entertaining offerings for new and existing players during this time of the year.

 



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Illinois Lottery

Illinois’ holiday (and seasonal) lineup included eight games: two each at $2 and $10, plus one each at $1, $3, $5 and $20.


Most successful game(s):

Our most successful holiday tickets were the lower price points (i.e., $1-$3), with double-digit percentage sales increases year-over-year and players claiming (via the brand tracker) the second chance opportunity increased purchase intent.


Launch and end dates:

Our holiday games launch in October to ensure complete distribution and placement in the market. We aim to capture the festive spirit early and maximize sales during peak shopping periods. If games don’t sell out, we typically replace all five games with a new multiplier family in January.


General holiday strategies:

We offered a second chance on all five holiday games with an enhanced entry method that reduced the barriers to entry. The promotion delivered exceptional results: A 20.6% redemption rate (1 in 5 tickets were entered); over 2.3 million tickets entered; over 450,000 unique emails captured; and over 84,000 new players opted into marketing communications. Due to the success of the second chance offer, we will consider running them for future holiday campaigns and other relevant periods throughout the year.


Major lessons learned in 2023:

Insights gained from the FY24 holiday season have informed future strategies in the following ways:


  • Further increase the number of prizes at the low tier to boost winning experiences for $1-$5 games to allow for continued engagement after the holidays (providing a licensed property in January has proven successful for those redeeming lower price points).


  • Explore adding a $30 price point to the holiday mix.


  • Optimize distribution channels to maximize sales opportunities by increasing the number of low-price-point inventory orders sooner to reduce out-of-stock during peak sales weeks, which was driven by this year’s successful second chance promotion.



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Iowa Lottery

Iowa’s holiday lineup included seven games: two each at $5 and $10 and one each at $2, $3 and $20.


Most successful game(s):

The Iowa Lottery’s $2 holiday game, Oh Ca$hmas Tree, was our most popular in terms of the number of tickets sold during the 2023 holiday season. In addition, that game also supported increased sales at the lower end of the price points in our 2023 holiday selection, as we did not offer a $1 holiday scratch game for the 2023 holiday season. In terms of top revenue generation, our $10 holiday game, Holiday 50X The Money, was our biggest revenue generator by far.



Launch and end dates:

The Iowa Lottery’s holiday games debuted in the marketplace on October 2, and our holiday promotion followed soon that, opening for entries on October 24. We removed the holiday games from the marketplace just after the entry period in our holiday promotion closed on January 8. That schedule is similar to our approach in previous holiday periods, with the start and end of sales in our holiday games coinciding closely with the entry dates in our holiday promotion.


General holiday strategies:

In 2023, we reduced the number of holiday games in the market to strategically review ticket quantities and game performance for the holiday season. While the Iowa Lottery released 13 holiday games during each of the past few years, we had seven holiday games in 2023. That left more room in ticket dispensers and self-service kiosks for non-holiday games. We are continuing to evaluate the season’s overall performance as well as pinpointed figures by price point. The goal is to continually revise sales strategies and refresh game offerings based upon results. Ultimately, the goal of releasing a smaller number of holiday games was to keep top-selling games in the market and reduce the operational effort to introduce – and then later remove – a significant number of holiday tickets from the marketplace. The results across the board were successful.


Unique circumstances this past year also allowed the Iowa Lottery to give a boost to the prizes offered in the 2023 holiday promotion. In September, a $1 million-winning Mega Millions prize won in central Iowa expired without being claimed. And in Iowa, the money from unclaimed prizes goes into the lottery’s prize pools for future games and promotions. In the case of that particular prize, the Iowa Lottery dedicated the $1 million to the 2023 holiday promotion. As the name indicated, the “Million Dollar Holiday” promotion gave away a total of $1 million in prizes. In the promotion’s drawings from mid-November through early January, we gave away 89 cash prizes ranging from $1,000 up to the grand prize of $500,000.


Major lessons learned in 2023:

Overall, our strategy was very successful in terms of total scratch-ticket sales with a strong increase in sales year over year for the holiday period. In addition, the Iowa Lottery also made changes in placed advertising for the promotion, essentially starting in November as opposed to October. We did not see any negative impact to sales from this strategy and were able to be more effective cost-wise for the overall holiday promotion. For the 2024 holiday season, we anticipate again limiting our holiday offerings to seven scratch games. The one change we are looking at is whether we will include Crossword games this year as part of our holiday mix, which we did not do in 2023.



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