Looking Back at ICE 2016: How to Achieve Digital Success for Lotteries?
ICE Totally Gaming 2016, the largest and most comprehensive trade event for the gaming sector, concluded last week. What did we learn about the (digital) future of lotteries?
Developing a digital proposition will not cannibalize retail channel sales in the lottery sector, according to Neil Brocklehurst, director of European business, Camelot Global, who was one of five expert speakers on an Omni-Channel Lottery Forum at ICE Totally Gaming.
“Even in mature markets, you don’t have to grow digital at the expense of retail. The two can grow together,” he said.
Jari Vahanen, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Veikkaus Oy made a similar point during a session entitled Reimagining Lotteries for the Digital Age:
“We have managed to keep our retail sales at the same level over the past ten to fifteen years, although retail now only accounts for 45% of total sales as a proportion,” he said.
“My main piece of advice would be to let your customer decide what they are going to do. […] You should offer services to them on mobiles and tablets, but you shouldn’t try to move your customers from retail.”
“Certain players prefer retail and prefer to be anonymous. Some people don’t want to take up a digital account,” Brocklehurst also said.
Another notable moment came when Scientific Games took home the 2016 “Lottery Supplier of the Year” award for the second year in a row.
Meanwhile, Harrie Temmink, Deputy Head of the Public Interest Services Unit at DG Internal Market, European Commission, told his audience at a regulatory briefing that the EC had no interest whatsoever in introducing harmonization in the gambling or lottery sectors, stating that such an attempt would amount to political “suicide.”
German Interstate Treaty on Gambling Takes Another Hit
On Thursday, the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) issued a ruling stating that Germany could not impose sanctions against sports betting operators on the basis of the German online gaming legislation that has already been found to be against EU law by national Courts.
Representing independent lottery resellers, Norman Faber, President of the Deutscher Lottoverbandes (DLV), said that the verdict would also have consequences for the “unsustainable restrictions” on the “over-regulated” German lottery market.
Should Dutch Sports Rely Exclusively on De Lotto for External Funding?
For over fifty years, Dutch sports lottery De Lotto has functioned as the main source of funding for Dutch sports. Declining revenues, however, have put stress on that traditional relationship.
Searching for alternatives, the Royal Dutch Cycling Union (KNWU) recently signed a sponsorship deal with sports betting operator Unibet. De Lotto, immediately reacted by accusing the KNWU of “underming solidarity in Dutch sports,” adding that the new deal would limit opportunities for De Lotto to generate revenue for the Dutch sports sector as a whole.
Other voices, however, are speaking up as well. Noted sports marketeer Chris Woerts, former marketing director of Dutch soccer giant Feyenoord and EPL side Sunderland, strongly disagreed with De Lotto’s criticisms. Considering that the charitable contributions of De Lotto are not exclusively dedicated to sports (30% go to general good causes), it is far from obvious, Woerts maintains, that sports associations and unions should rely exclusively on De Lotto for external funding.
More broadly speaking, does it still make sense for Dutch sports to rely on a financing model that was devised more than fifty years ago? Perhaps, KNWU president Marcel Wintels opined earlier, there should be a direct financing relationship between sports and the national government, financed, in its turn, through taxes levied on the (sports) betting sector as a whole, instead of a single (and thus vulnerable) lottery operator.
Although it is widely expected that the proposed merger between De Lotto and the Dutch State Lottery will restore contributions to the sports sector to a healthy level, this might very well, according to Dutch newspaper NRC, amount to “wishful thinking.”
Showcasing the latest in lottery innovation, Space-lottery.com is aiming for the final frontier. For a mere fifteen euros, players may buy a one in 20,000 chance to become an actual astronaut.
Despite having for years engaged in misleading advertising, the Dutch State Lottery, for the time being, dodges a €300 million claim.
UK National Lottery operator Camelot is looking to transform its customer service into digital customer engagement.
Italian lottery operator Lottomatica has received a renewal of its Responsible Gaming Certification from both the European Lotteries Association (EL) and the World Lottery Association (WLA).