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How many VA lottery retailers are there?

The Virginia Lottery is an important part of the state’s budget and economy. With hundreds of retailers across Virginia selling lottery tickets and scratchers, the lottery generates significant revenue for public education in the state. But just how many lottery retailers are there in Virginia? And how does this compare to other states’ lottery networks? In this article, we will take a deep dive into the number of Virginia lottery retailers.

How Many Retailers Sell Lottery Tickets in Virginia?

According to data from the Virginia Lottery, there are currently over 5,000 lottery retailers in the state. These retailers are located across Virginia, from the bustling streets of Arlington to remote country stores in rural counties.

The 5,000+ retailers form the core of the Virginia Lottery’s retail network, which spans gas stations, convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants, drug stores, and dedicated lottery outlets. This extensive network allows Virginians from all walks of life easy access to playing the lottery at their neighborhood retailer.

To put the 5,000+ figure in context, it means there is approximately 1 lottery retailer for every 4,200 Virginia residents. This level of penetration helps drive strong ticket sales across the Commonwealth. It also compares favorably to other states – Virginia has one of the largest lottery retail networks in the country relative to population size.

How Has the Number of Retailers Grown?

The Virginia Lottery has steadily expanded its retailer network over the years since starting in 1988.

The Early Days – Late 1980s

When lottery sales began in Virginia in September 1988, there were approximately 3,000 retailers participating in the program. Most were small convenience stores, gas stations, and groceries. This initial network allowed the Virginia Lottery to generate around $41 million in revenue in its first partial year of operations.

1990s Expansion

Through the 1990s, the Virginia Lottery continued growing its retailer network across the state. By 1999, the number of retailers had climbed to over 4,400. These additional sellers helped drive continued growth in lottery revenues, which topped $959 million in 1999.

21st Century

Growth in the lottery retailer network has accelerated in the 21st century. In the early 2000s, the number of retailers surpassed 5,000. Steady expansion has continued over the past two decades to bring the current total to over 5,000 today.

Key drivers of the growing retailer network include:

  • Rising Virginia population – more potential lottery customers.
  • New retailer categories like supermarkets and big box stores.
  • Geographic expansion into previously underserved rural counties.
  • Higher sales potential encouraging more retailers to participate.

The expanding retailer network has supported overall lottery sales in Virginia, which now regularly exceed $2 billion annually.

How Does This Compare to Other States?

With over 5,000 retailers, Virginia has one of the largest lottery retailer networks among U.S. states relative to its population:


– Population: 39.5 million
– Lottery retailers: 21,000
– Retailers per capita: 1 per 1,880 residents


– Population: 21.5 million
– Lottery retailers: 13,000
– Retailers per capita: 1 per 1,654 residents

New York

– Population: 19.5 million
– Lottery retailers: 16,000
– Retailers per capita: 1 per 1,219 residents


– Population: 8.5 million
– Lottery retailers: 5,000+
– Retailers per capita: 1 per 1,700 residents

As the numbers show, Virginia has significantly more lottery retailers per resident than large states like California and Florida. Virginia also outpaces New York, which has the biggest lottery program in the country by revenue.

The robust size of Virginia’s lottery retailer network relative to population helps make lottery games highly accessible for citizens across the state. Given the convenience and visibility of lottery tickets at local retailers, it is easy to see why annual sales regularly top $2 billion in Virginia.

Retailer Categories

The 5,000+ lottery retailers in Virginia come from a diverse mix of business categories. Here is the breakdown:

Convenience Stores

Convenience stores represent the largest retail category, accounting for around 2,700+ lottery retailers in Virginia. You can find lottery tickets at familiar convenience chains like 7-Eleven, Wawa, and Sunoco, as well as many independent corner stores. These retailers sell lottery tickets at the checkout counter along with staples like coffee, snacks, and cigarettes.

Gas Stations

Similar to convenience stores, gas stations make up a large portion of Virginia lottery retailers. An estimated 1,300+ gas stations offer lottery tickets in Virginia. Major chains with lottery games include BP, Exxon, Shell, and Marathon. Gas stations provide easy access to purchase lottery tickets while filling up.


Grocery stores are an increasingly important category, accounting for 500+ Virginia lottery retailers. Major supermarket chains like Food Lion, Safeway, Giant, and Harris Teeter all sell lottery products at checkout. Supermarkets provide lottery access while grocery shopping.


Restaurants, bars, and other dining establishments make up around 300+ lottery retailers in Virginia. Customers can buy lottery tickets while grabbing a bite to eat or ordering a drink at these establishments.


The remainder of lottery retailers in Virginia are specialized lottery outlets, tobacco stores, pharmacies, big box retailers, and general merchandisers. For example, around 200 retailers are dedicated lottery outlets like Lotto South. Pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens also participate. And retailers like Walmart, Target, and Dollar General round out the network.

Geographic Distribution of Retailers

Virginia lottery retailers are generally distributed across the state in proportion to population centers. However, some regions have higher retailer density than others.

Northern Virginia

The counties encompassing Northern Virginia contain the highest concentration of lottery retailers in the state. In total, around 1,750 lottery retailers are located in Northern Virginia. The region accounts for 35% of the state’s population and a similar proportion of lottery retailers. Major urban centers like Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, and Loudon host hundreds of convenience stores, gas stations, groceries, and restaurants selling lottery products. The affluent Northern Virginia population provides a solid customer base.

Central Virginia

The central region of Virginia accounts for nearly 1,500 lottery retailers. This includes a high concentration in the Richmond metropolitan area, which contains over 300 retailers within the city and surrounding counties. Other urban centers like Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke add to the retailer tally, as does the I-95 corridor. Central Virginia’s mixture of urban and rural areas supports lottery ticket sales.

Hampton Roads

Hampton Roads is another major population center with around 1,000 lottery retailers. Cities like Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Newport News allow extensive lottery access in the southeastern corner of Virginia. Military personnel stationed in the region help drive lottery purchases.


The remaining lottery retailers are scattered in the more rural western, southside, and southwestern regions of Virginia. Major cities like Danville, Bristol, and Martinsville may have dozens of retailers. Beyond that, most counties contain 10-20 lottery retailers located in small towns and communities along major highways and interstates. Penetration is lower but provides basic coverage.

Sales Potential of Different Retailers

Although there are around 5,000 lottery retailers across Virginia, they do not all generate equal sales. Sales potential varies significantly based on business type, size, and location.

Convenience Stores & Gas Stations

Convenience stores and gas stations make up about 60% of Virginia lottery retailers. However, these tend to be lower volume locations. The average Virginia convenience store sells just under $100,000 in lottery products annually. For gas stations, average sales are around $60,000 per year. While they provide extensive distribution, convenience and gas generate less than 30% of total lottery revenue in Virginia.


Supermarkets constitute around 10% of Virginia lottery retailers. However, they punch above their weight in sales. The typical Virginia supermarket sells around $260,000 in lottery tickets and scratchers annually. Some high traffic locations exceed $1 million in annual lottery sales. Overall, supermarkets generate around 25% of Virginia lottery revenues.

Big Box & National Chains

Retail giants like Walmart and Target participate in the Virginia lottery. And pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens have become major retailers. These large national chains report average annual lottery sales around $480,000 per store. Chains represent a small portion of overall retailers but drive significant profits.

Dedicated Lottery Outlets

Virginia has around 200 dedicated lottery outlets without gas or convenience offerings. These specialized retailers depend on lottery sales, scratchers, and keno games for their business model. Average annual revenues are around $400,000 per dedicated lottery outlet in Virginia. Specialists retailers generate nearly 15% of total lottery profits.

Non-Traditional Retailers

In addition to the traditional retailers like convenience stores and supermarkets, the Virginia Lottery has expanded into some non-traditional channels:


Virginia has over 260 self-service lottery kiosks located in high foot traffic areas like shopping malls, airports, large employers, and universities. Players can purchase scratchers and draw game tickets from these machines.

Mobile Apps & Online

The Virginia Lottery allows mobile app and online purchases. Players must set up an account and deposit funds. Once activated, they can use the app or website to buy draw game tickets and some digital-only scratcher games. These emerging channels provide added convenience for tech-savvy lottery users.

Subscription Services

Virginia lottery players can set up subscription plans to have draw game tickets automatically purchased and entered into upcoming drawings. Subscriptions can be managed online or through the mobile app. This allows customers to play consistently without weekly purchases.

By embracing new technologies like self-service kiosks, mobile apps, websites, and subscription plans, the Virginia Lottery expands access beyond traditional physical retailer locations. These innovations help attract new, younger players.

Ongoing Growth Projected

Given steady population growth across Virginia and continued geographic expansion, the number of lottery retailers in the state is projected to continue growing over the coming years.

here are a few key expansion opportunities:

  • Additional convenience stores, gas stations, dollar stores, and pharmacies in high growth exurban counties across Virginia.
  • Ongoing penetration into grocery stores and big box chains like Walmart.
  • Rural county growth by adding more small town retailers.
  • New lottery specialist outlets in gaming hotspots.
  • Expanded kiosk, mobile, and online sales channels.

If these opportunities are realized, the total number of Virginia lottery retailers could potentially exceed 6,000 by 2030.

This continued expansion will allow the Virginia Lottery to maximize revenues that support K-12 education across the Commonwealth. More lottery retailers throughout the state will provide easy access for consumers to play the latest draw games, scratchers, and keno offerings. Based on the current trajectory, expect more growth ahead for Virginia’s already extensive lottery retailer network.


In summary, the Virginia Lottery currently has an estimated 5,000+ licensed retailers across the state selling lottery products. This includes convenience stores, gas stations, supermarkets, restaurants, pharmacies, dedicated lottery outlets, and other business types. When measured against population, Virginia has one of the largest lottery retailer networks in the country. Stores are generally distributed in proportion to population centers, with the highest concentration in Northern Virginia. While convenience stores make up the bulk of locations, supermarkets, national chains, and dedicated lottery outlets typically generate higher sales volumes. Non-traditional channels like kiosks, mobile apps, and online provide additional lottery access. With continued growth opportunities ahead, the number of Virginia lottery retailers is expected to expand beyond 6,000 over the next decade. This extensive and growing retailer network helps drive over $2 billion in annual lottery revenues for public education funding in Virginia.