While lotteries have long sponsored sports teams, state fairs and other properties to promote new games and drive ticket sales, a growing number are adding new objectives to their sponsorship strategies.

Those new objectives are driven by a demographic group that is having a major impact on just about every category: Millennials.

Lotteries are increasingly partnering with music festivals and other events that draw young adults, an audience that does not play the lottery as frequently as their parents do.

A study by the State of Minnesota revealed that the number of local lottery players between the ages of 18 and 34 has declined 70 percent since 2002, according to a report by International Game Technology, a consulting firm that specializes in the lottery and gaming industries.

Globally, only one-third of Millennials surveyed by Gallup said they had played the lottery in the past year, per the report.

Declining interest in the lottery is leading to new sponsorship and activation strategies aimed at educating Millennials about lotteries and their beneficiaries.

Case in point: The Arizona Lottery has expanded its sponsorship portfolio over the past year with ties to music festivals and other properties that draw young adults.

Those include the Lost Lake music festival in Phoenix, Country Thunder in Florence and next week’s inaugural Innings Festival in Tempe, Arizona.

“Our sponsorship mix is heavily sports oriented. We needed to get more well-rounded to reach different types of players,” said Chris Rogers, Arizona Lottery deputy director, marketing and products.

Targeting Millennials also has impacted the types of assets the Arizona Lottery looks for in sponsorship packages, with a focus on experiences.

Rogers points to the lottery’s 2017 partnership with iHeartMedia as an example. The lottery leveraged the partnership with the Arizona Concert Cash Bash, a $5 scratch game that dangled tickets to exclusive concerts in Phoenix and other instant prizes. The game also included a second-chance drawing that offered the opportunity to win tickets to the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas, the Jingle Ball Jam presented by Capital One in Los Angeles, and VIP meet-and-greets.

The location of the concerts in Phoenix were not announced until several days before the show, which helped drive consumer interest, said Rogers. To add additional excitement, the lottery distributed bracelets to attendees over the age of 21 at each concert; attendees whose wristband glowed a special color received a $1,000 cash prize.

“The ticket was unique to the industry,” said Rogers, noting that the Arizona Lottery has received inquiries from other lotteries looking to replicate the promotion.

The Arizona Lottery leveraged the inaugural 2017 Lost Lake music festival with an on-site mobile retail unit, which will also visit next week’s Innings Festival.

Other lotteries are joining Arizona in using sponsorship to engage Millennials. The Colorado Lottery this year is rolling out a new activation strategy at events that draw young adults, with a focus on experiences over sales.

“We’ll have some sponsorships that won’t include sales. It will be strictly engagement, with the goal of bringing awareness to the Colorado Lottery and what we do,” said Marie Valtakis, Colorado Lottery sales and marketing promotions manager.

The need to promote experiences over sales is driven in part by necessity, said Valtakis, noting that many Millennials prefer cashless payment options over cash.

“We’re a cash business. We can’t accept credit or debit cards.”

More Focus On Promoting Beneficiaries
In addition to reaching Millennials, lotteries are increasingly using sponsorship to promote who their money benefits.

The beneficiaries can range from arts and education organizations to environmental causes and business development initiatives, depending on the state.

Lotteries are promoting the beneficiaries through on-site activation programs and games.

The Arizona Lottery created the Cash Adventure ticket to promote the Arizona Game and Fish Department, one of several lottery beneficiaries. The ticket dangled second chance prizes in support of outdoor activities including camping gear and fishing poles, with a $25,000 cash prize or a bass boat as the grand prize.

The lottery will announce the grand prize winner at next weekend’s Arizona Game & Fish Department Outdoor Expo in Phoenix.

The Arizona Lottery also promotes beneficiaries via on-site activation programs. That includes an interactive display at the Lost Lake festival where attendees could write on a wall to share their vision of community.

In a different twist, the Colorado Lottery activated the Cherry Creek Arts Festival with art made from scratch tickets. The artwork featured a mosaic of the Colorado outdoors, the lottery’s sole beneficiary.

“People who live in Colorado take advantage of the outdoors. The Colorado Lottery gets to tell a compelling story with their give back messaging,” said Monica Hemmert, associate account director with Cactus Marketing, agency of record for the Colorado Lottery.