The Lotto Matrix: Alabama Gaming Bill Dead, Mega Confirmation, Zeal’s ‘Strong’ First Quarter, More

Christian Holmes

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lottery matrix

Welcome to this week’s “Lotto Matrix,” a weekly Friday compilation of the lottery industry’s most significant, interesting, or absurd happenings.

The Wait Goes On, Alabama

As Alabama’s legislature session came to a close for the year Thursday, its constitutional amendment that would allow voters to decide whether to authorize a lottery and casinos remained in bureaucratic purgatory. Get this: Gov. Kay Ivey also said there will be no special session.

The lottery and casinos bill fell one vote shy of the required 21 in the 35-member Senate last week. A successful vote would have put the question on the ballot for voters on Aug. 20. But instead, attention turns to next year.

That being said, if you’re a glass-half-full person, this is the closest a lottery bill has been to the finish line in the state since then-Gov. Don Siegelman’s plan lost 54% to 46% in 1999.

Read Casino Reports‘ Erik Gibbs’ full breakdown of the news here.

Mega Millions increase more or less confirmed

At the La Fleur‘s 2024 conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, this week, Jay Finks, executive director of the Oklahoma Lottery, is reported by the website PlayiLottery to have effectively confirmed an impending price increase for a Mega Millions ticket from $2 to $5. 

“With the game change in April coming with Mega Millions, certainly, I think bigger jackpots are going to be something that will fuel it. But there’s a value proposition there that we hope that the jackpots can cover up but we’re going from a $2 or maybe a $3 purchase to a $5 purchase. So, there’s some risk there.”

The Georgia Lottery, which leads the Mega Millions consortium, has yet to finalize the price change but has not disputed it. Lottery Geeks first reported that the consortium leaders are set to vote on the change at meetings in June in Puerto Rico. After that, systems testing will proceed ahead of an April 2025 rollout of the reformed game, which has breached the billion-dollar jackpot threshold six times. You can read our original report here, exploring the dynamics and considerations around the price shift.

One additional consideration? Because the Multi-State Lottery Consortium, which runs Powerball (among other draw games), and Mega Millions have a cross-sell agreement and effectively share proceeds, if purchaser allegiances do shift from Mega to Powerball in response to a desire to stay at the $2 price point, well, those sales would still be captured within the cross-sell partnership. The point is that if ultimately sales are increased between the two draws, the net effect may still be positive. Stay tuned. — Brett Smiley

Lottery growth cranking up Zeal’s Q1 revenue

Zeal, an e-commerce group offering lottery products, had one heck of a start to 2024, with revenue up 35.2% to $38.8 million in the first quarter. Why the boost? Its core lottery division.

According to Zeal, EBITDA and net profit increased noticeably from Q1 of last year. Specifically, the unheralded accountants attribute such successes to the company’s lottery business in Germany. Now, as much as Zeal wants to talk up its lottery offerings, it did break into the German iGaming business in June 2023, which has paid off well in the present, helping to boost revenue.    

Zeal’s chief financial officer, Sebastian Bielski, said they also know a thing or two about getting a customer in the metaphorical door. He told the media that Zeal secured more than 320,000 new players in Q1, up approximately 124% from the same quarter last year. Hubba hubba, Zeal has the rizz game on God mode.

“We made a very strong start to 2024 and were able to significantly accelerate our revenue growth, particularly in our core business of lottery brokerage,” Bielski said. “We are also particularly proud of the fact that we were able to achieve EBITDA slightly above the previous year’s level in the past quarter.

“This shows that our measures to acquire new customers are paying off very quickly. We are generating income across the entire breadth of our customer base.”

May the fourth be with you

James Jorgensen, a wannabe Jedi Master and huge Star Wars geek, cashed in masterfully, winning a $5.37 million lottery jackpot prize on May 4, the day that The Force is at its strongest.

Jorgensen was joined by his partner-in-crime Jennifer when he claimed his winning “Megabucks” ticket on May 6. Using the knowledge of The Force to his advantage, Jorgensen chose to receive his prize in a one-time payment of just over $3.6 million before taxes. Unfortunately, not even an accountant with a knowledge of the Dark Side could get him home tax-free.

Jorgensen purchased his winning ticket at Lowe’s Variety Market and Meat Shop in Northborough, Mass. According to the state lottery, the store will receive a $50,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

Of course, with the triumph coming on May 4, the Star Wars fan was dressed for the occasion. 

“The best thing is I’m a huge Star Wars fan, so I was all decked out in a Star Wars hat and Star Wars shirt, and I won on May 4th, which is an unofficial Star Wars holiday,” Jorgensen told the lottery.

Jorgensen said he will use his winnings to buy a home and pay for his young Padawans’ college education.  

Fortune favors the brave

Do fortune cookie lottery number suggestions actually work? Healthcare worker Kyung Hee Lee certainly thinks so after winning a $100k Encore prize.

Strangely enough, Hee Lee has won big prizes before. She cashed a nice $5k score, but this latest win was special. 

“I went to a local restaurant, opened a fortune cookie, and decided to play the numbers on my fortune,” she said. So she played that set of numbers when she purchased an Ontario 49 ticket with Encore.

When Hee Lee went to check her ticket, she was in disbelief. The darned numbers actually worked. 

“When I went to replay the ticket, only then did I realize it was a winner,” Lee recalled. “I was shaking! I went to work and was still in shock!”

Lee plans to share the money with her family and put the rest toward her retirement. It’s nice to see the healthcare workers get a dub!

Best of the rest

Beginner’s luck: Virginia woman wins lottery jackpot with first-ever ticket purchase

Hustle. Loyalty. Respect.: Doug Hood, AGCO: No one should have their head in the sand on sports integrity

It’s on the cloud: IGT to launch cloud-based iLottery solutions for Atlantic Lottery in Canada

Going for gold: New Jersey Lottery launches EQL Games $10 Team USA Fast Play ticket in stores across the state this week

What are the odds?: The San Jose Sharks kept winning the NHL Draft Lottery causing multiple redraws

In other news, ALIENS: Top senators believe the US secretly recovered UFOs

Have a good weekend!