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Rising gas prices may impact lottery sales

Mar 14, 2022, 8:48 am

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Arkansas Lottery Director says they are not surprised about potential dip in sales

By Kate Northrop

With gas prices on the rise, players may be cutting back on their lottery spending in the near future.

State lotteries may begin to see a downward trend in their revenue stream in the upcoming months should lottery players start to rethink their budget to accommodate for rising gas prices.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette interviewed Vicki Skaggs of Benton, Arkansas, an office manager who says she's planning on reducing her lottery ticket purchases as a result of higher gas prices.

"You are going to be only able to afford to go to work and home," the player surmised on Thursday. She had just bought several scratch-off tickets totaling $20 at the Casey's gas station convenience store on North Reynolds Road in Bryant.

Normally, Skaggs will buy about $20 worth of lottery tickets every other day. However, her spending habits might change since she anticipates gas prices will soon surpass $5 a gallon.

According to the AAA Arkansas Weekend Gas Watch, the price of regular unleaded fuel in Arkansas was on average $3.90 per gallon. The record for the highest average price for the same type of fuel was seven cents higher, recorded in July 2008.

The Arkansas Lottery says they are prepared for the potential dip in sales revenue and that a decrease was to be expected. 

"As gas prices continue to, quite literally, jump daily, we expect to see additional taper," Lottery Director Eric Hagler told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Thursday. "This was forecasted in our budget, so we are not completely surprised."

At least for the Lottery, there is a silver lining amidst the timing of hiking prices at the gas pump.

"On a positive note, tax returns are in the mail, and spring is around the corner," Hagler continued. "Historically, March delivers the highest performance, and we are seeking good sell-through of our games."

In February alone, the eighth month in the 2022 fiscal year, the Arkansas Lottery generated $42.3 million in sales, about $300,000 more than the same month last year. Online records made public by the Lottery show that the year-to-date sales top nearly $380 million. That's down from $388.1 million compared to the same time in 2021. So far this fiscal year, the Lottery has transferred $61.9 million to the state scholarship fund.

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