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High gas prices may be cutting into lottery sales

Sep 21, 2005, 4:23 pm

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New Hampshire LotteryNew Hampshire Lottery: High gas prices may be cutting into lottery sales

The evidence is far from conclusive, but some people in the business think high gasoline prices have cut into lottery sales in New Hampshire.

Rick Wisler, executive director of the state Lottery Commission, is among them, at least with respect to instant tickets. He reasons that with prices so high, many drivers are using credit or debit cards to pay for gasoline. That means they don't have cash in hand, which depresses impulse purchases such as instant lottery tickets.

"We believe, although there is no conclusive proof, that increasing gas prices over these past few months is having a downward effect on instant games," Wisler said.

Two weeks ago, lottery ticket sales dropped $100,000 from the previous week even though there was a big Powerball jackpot, Wisler said. The drop came as Hurricane Katrina devastated oil production and refining operations in the Gulf states.

On the other hand, Powerball sales this week were "just about where they should be" given the jackpot size, Wisler said Tuesday.

And David McLaughlin, who handles operations for the nine-store Kwik-Stop chain, said lottery sales have been strong in his stores.

"We find that in tough times, anything that's a vice increases -- beer, cigarettes, lottery go up," McLaughlin said.

Paul Haddock manages Mr. Mike's convenience store in Manchester. If anything, he believes instant lottery ticket sales are up this month.

"Once they're hooked in, they're hooked in no matter what," Haddock said.

The lottery expects to sell $75 million in tickets this budget year, which ends June 30. That would be an increase of 8 percent over the previous year.

Wisler said two changes are expected to boost sales. Changes to Powerball should create more rollovers with big jackpots. And New Hampshire will introduce a $20 scratch ticket in early November, just in time for the holidays.


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9 comments. Last comment 16 years ago by lchoro.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #379
June 5, 2002
11296 Posts

I believe his claim. I've been making fewer trips to Connecticut because of the higher gas prices.

    Northern California
    United States
    Member #19947
    August 9, 2005
    154 Posts

    These "pay at the pump" and now "high gas prices" theories have been around for a while.


    I'm not at all convinced that there is any merit to them.  Good lotteries (in terms of sales performance) continue to drive double-digit growth in instant ticket sales.  Their states have pay-at-the-pump and high gas prices too.


    I think this is more of a convenient excuse in case sales fall short for those responsible for delivering higher sales.

      Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
      United States
      Member #487
      July 15, 2002
      17638 Posts

      I believe that high gas sales do effect everything even lottery ticket sales..Many people are not spending anything for extras because they don't know what is going to happen..also, many folks donated to the hurricane relief..now we have Rita..

      If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

      You never know when you will get another hit.

        emilyg's avatar - cat anm.gif

        United States
        Member #14
        November 9, 2001
        31615 Posts

        I believe that high gas sales do effect everything even lottery ticket sales..Many people are not spending anything for extras because they don't know what is going to happen..also, many folks donated to the hurricane relief..now we have Rita..

        I Agree!

        love to nibble those micey feet.



          BabyJC's avatar - Lottery-031.jpg

          United States
          Member #3271
          January 7, 2004
          148 Posts

          It's good to hear that people are being more responsible and using their money for necessities like expensive gas instead of gambling.

            dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

            United States
            Member #2338
            September 17, 2003
            2063 Posts

            I said this a while ago. Nice for someone to understand basic economics. This is like saying Katrina and Rita aren't going to also have a negative impact on lottery sales on a national level.

              United States
              Member #1424
              April 25, 2003
              696 Posts

              This is an insteresting thread. 

              Many lower income lottery players are hip pocket bankers.  They have no credit cards or checking accounts.  When they run out of cash, they have no other purchasing power.  In this case it is a true zero sum game. 

              Hip pocket bankers must often choose between milk, gas or lottery tickets.  When push comes to shove, a hungry child or an empty gas tank trump a long-shot at lottery millions.

              The real question is how many lottery players are hip pocket bankers.  Statistics unsullied  by politicans with an agenda show that an uncomfortable number of lottery players are people who cannot afford to play. 

              Mark Twain once said that figures don't lie, but liers figure.  If there are any liers in this world a good number of them are found in government.  This includes state lottery commissions that must see improved sales every year to keep their jobs. These are the braindead parasites who make games harder and harder to win until the public wises up and goes home.

              I will probably hear from a certain toady from Northern California claiming this isn't true, but we have a saying down here in Texas.  The guilty dog barks first . . .

              Do higher gas prices affect lottery sales?  Depends on whether you can stretch things on a credit card or must pay out of your hip pocket.  The way things have been going with Katrina and Rita the good folks down here won't have any money for lottery tickets anyway.

              Pray for Pick 3 Fairy, nNothing and others from the Gulf Coast area.  They can use some luck right how.  The kind of luck only God can provide . . .

              Orangeman                                            Drum

                Todd's avatar - Cylon 200.jpg
                Chief Bottle Washer
                New Jersey
                United States
                Member #1
                May 31, 2000
                26502 Posts


                A harsh way to say it, but I Agree!.

                Stay safe.


                Check the State Lottery Report Card
                What grade did your lottery earn?


                Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                  United States
                  Member #5565
                  July 11, 2004
                  260 Posts

                  Another thought. Nearly all of the top 10 stores in the Virginia Lottery are located near the North Carolina border.  The passage of the lottery in that state may be giving cross-border gamblers pause unless they have regular business that requires they travel to Virginia.