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Arizona Lottery opens retail location in Sky Harbor Airport

Arizona is the latest state to jump on the airport lottery bandwagon, with the Arizona Lottery having opened a retail location in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in August.


The state joins a relatively new trend of state lotteries opening locations in airports, which North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries Executive Director David Gale said began about five years ago.


"It's an alternative solution for lotteries to offer their games to transient folks," Gale said. "There certainly is a built-in market there with the foot traffic."


Cashing in on foot traffic

Foot traffic is certainly something Sky Harbor receives — more than 44 million passengers traveled through the airport in 2015. And all that traffic gives the lottery exposure to travelers who aren't from Arizona, according to Arizona Lottery spokeswoman Nikki O'Shea.


"It's kind of touching those demographics or those consumers that we maybe have not touched before," O'Shea said. "Maybe some Arizonans who aren't currently players, but they're waiting for their bags so they decide to get a lottery ticket and play."


O'Shea said the Arizona Lottery looked at other lottery ticket sale models and saw that the Georgia Lottery found success with airport sales.


Airport kiosks have become the top retailers in Atlanta for the Georgia Lottery, with more than $7 million in yearly sales since their opening, according to the state lottery. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has consistently been ranked the world's busiest airport, with more than 100 million passengers coming through the airport in 2015.


'Good business decision'

Gale estimates that at least half of the 44 lotteries in the United States have airport locations — what he calls a "good business decision." He added that though state lotteries look into location and foot traffic when deciding where to sell tickets, airport sales seem to be the latest trend.


The retail space, on the first floor of Terminal 4, is the Arizona Lottery's third retail location in the state, following locations in Phoenix and Tucson.


O'Shea said most of the lottery's revenue comes from individual retailers, such as grocery stores or gas stations, that sell tickets. She added that the Arizona Lottery does not have any immediate plans to open a fourth location.


The location in Sky Harbor sells tickets for all of the draw games, as well as scratch cards. Lottery ticket sales across the state amount to more than $3.4 million per week.


Near baggage claim

Deborah Ostreicher, assistant director of Sky Harbor, said the Arizona Lottery approached the airport about leasing the space, which is located near baggage claim.


"We lease much of our space here at the airport with services that people coming through the airport desire and this is one of the services we thought people would enjoy," Ostreicher said.


It's a service Gale said benefits more than just a state's residents.


"Lottery tickets should be available to their playing audience, and you don't have to be a resident within a particular state to play that state's lottery game and to win," Gale said. "You just have to purchase a ticket within the state's borders and obviously an airport accomplishes that."


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