Nick Papadoglou, Group Director of Lotteries and Product Management at INTRALOT and a speaker at the recent Sports Betting USA 2017 Conference, shares his insights with TotallyGaming.com on what sports betting can mean for state lotteries.
An ongoing debate on legalizing sports betting in the U.S. creates the prospect to drive millions of Americans, who now presumably bet on the illegal market, to a regulated and controlled environment. There is growing concern that U.S. sports gambling prohibition has created one of the largest betting underground markets worldwide, where billions of untaxed dollars are wagered illegally.
The Interstate Wire Act, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act and The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act are in the early stages of review, with the prospect to an extensive legalization of sports betting that will limit grey betting activities and attract several worldwide established sports betting online operators.
U.S. sports betting market estimations indicate its potential between $1.6bn and $11.9bn in GGR, prospectively making it one of the world’s largest regulated sports betting markets. Listening to these market projections, State Lotteries are presented with a great opportunity so as to introduce their own sports betting offering, in the same successful way as they do with their traditional games.
Failing to update and modernize their product offering by staying distant from the sports betting industry (retail, online and mobile), State Lotteries run the risk to lose a considerable portion of the overall gambling market share and especially the one that applies to the younger generation. Hence risking a possible reduction in their overall lottery sales. This will consequently lead to a reduction of the funds allocated to the educational and good causes programs they support.
Therefore, they need to actively participate to this new market with a sports betting product that is socially accepted, transparent, easy to understand, reliable and of course tailored to the U.S. sports betting demand. Capitalizing on the breadth of their already established retail network, State Lotteries may create and gradually increase the branding awareness of their sports betting offering, making the game available to a wider playing audience. Exploiting the cross-sales effect, Lotteries can generate a customer flow from the betting sector generating an additional revenue stream for the benefit and support of societal good causes.
Furthermore, using customer and market proficiency to their advantage, and by employing a more sustainable operational model that involves both online and retail offering and focusing on events and markets of high interest to the State’s population, State Lotteries will manage to safeguard their already established market share and even make it bigger.
Nevertheless, State Lotteries bearing the image and brand of a reliable organization that already operates for many years in the States, should undertake a key role or even become the driver of the State licensing and expansion process, advising the way operators enter the market (i.e. how they obtain a license, number of licenses available per State, taxation issues, if a retail presence is required in order to operate) and at the same time setting the market standards for responsible gaming, ensuring that the sports betting product is secure and safe for their people.