The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on everyone – even Lady Luck. For those hoping to strike it rich on California Lottery Scratcher tickets, the odds have dwindled since the start of the pandemic as the popular Scratchers have been in short supply.
Scratchers are games of chance and luck in which players rub foil-covered tickets with the edge of a coin to instantly reveal whether they’ve won.
Retailers around the state have reported running out of lottery tickets and not being able to order new ones. Some popular convenience stores in the Coachella Valley report being sold out of some types with an occasional delivery – and it’s all related to COVID-19.
“In order to maximize the health and safety of our team members and the public during this pandemic, the California State Lottery instituted strict social distancing protocols at our distribution centers,” Jorge De La Cruz, a lottery spokesperson, told Uken Report “We continue to ship Scratchers® products from our two distribution centers in Northern and Southern California, but there is an approximate three- to four-week delay in fulfilling retailer orders. We are currently implementing a number of strategies to mitigate the impacts and improve delivery timeframes to meet the needs of our players and retailers.”
The National Association of Convenience Stores says scratchers, which have 57 different games, make up more than 75% of lottery sales. The scratcher shortage means stores lose out on sales, and less money is raised for public education.
The losses – now going on five months — will likely result in millions of dollars in lost revenue, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, although De La Cruz said there are far too many variables involved to “reliably estimate” the losses in Lottery revenues, including the amount directly attributable to the Scratchers distribution challenges. The California State Lottery continues to do everything possible to follow our mission to maximize supplemental funding for education, he said.
“We encourage players to try one of our eight draw games available at all Lottery retailers if their favorite Scratchers game is not available,” De La Cruz said. “More information on these games, including draw days and times, is available online.”
The Scratchers shortage is only a portion of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the lottery. Powerball and Mega Millions saw sales plummet as much as 35% in April, according to De La Cruz. However, he said, sales have since partially recovered and are now only down about 10%.
- Scratch tickets: Shutterstock