Most nations or states around the world run their own lottery for citizens to play. The lotteries themselves take many forms, such as with a different number of balls, the regularity of draws, and the prizes on offer.

A common theme among most lotteries, however, is that they are widely available through retail stores and tend to fund state projects and give back to good causes. In fact, in the UK, the National Lottery alone contributed £1.7 billion to good causes around the country, with over £360 million more coming from large society lotteries in 2019/20.


As storied and commonplace as lotteries are in the country and around the world, the state of play may be changing. It’s been seen across most industries: the online space offers too much convenience to access to not influence the trends of a market. In the case of lotteries, people from all over are being connected to lotteries from faraway lands, but is it taking customers away from retail sellers of tickets?

Playing the lottery is still an in-person activity

Much of the gambling industry has pivoted a great deal to the online space, which has granted it more customers and growth. However, the public perception of the lottery seldom ties it to the likes of sports betting and casino gaming, particularly because you don’t have to go to designated gambling venues to partake.

With retailers selling tickets and scratch cards at the tills, the lottery is a normalised activity. As such, it’s not surprising that the lottery-playing crowd continues to pick their numbers in person. The National Lottery has around 44,000 retail partners around the UK. While not every lottery ticket purchaser comes in for the sole purpose of playing, experts suggest that the presence of the lottery increases sales.

Along with the ticket sales, 95 per cent of purchasers will buy something else in the store – especially if they return a winner. As 75 per cent of National Lottery players are more likely to participate in person, the benefits granted by retail lottery sales cannot be overstated. The benefits grow further when the jackpots rollover to encourage more people to buy tickets.

State of play of online lottery betting

The National Lottery and EuroMillions are the most popular draws in the UK, and they offer their tickets online. However, as the internet grants players access to the rest of the world, many who enjoy playing the lottery explore options from abroad. While it’s not always possible to buy a ticket from these massive overseas draws, it is possible to bet on the outcome.

Now, it’s possible to participate in lotteries like the South African Powerball via alternative lottery operators. Here, users outside of the country of origin can bet on the outcome to win a percentage share of the final jackpot. Also included are world-famous beasts like Spain’s El Gordo and the Italian mega draw SuperEnaLotto.

Due to the popularity of the online lottery platform and its alternative method of betting on the draws, there’s still a distinct difference between online and traditional play. So, the domestic lottery remains a primarily in-person game via retail stores, while the online platform is available as a complementary option.