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Online lottery adding more tax revenue than ever to states that allow it

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While many US states were disappointed to see their lottery-funded support decrease substantially during lockdown, those that had already legislated to allow the sale of online lottery tickets saw a small windfall, with Spinola Gaming CEO Ade Repcenko urging state legislators in the former category to fast-track the legislative process and let their lottery sector contribute fully to the economic recovery.

States with a legal framework to offer online lottery tickets saw an increase in their lottery-funded support during lockdown, while those that didn’t suffered a “gut punch”.

While the market may begin to normalise as states reopen, a growing number of governors are pausing the process, or reinstating previously lifted restrictions, sounding a warning out to retail operators and the state systems they support. Medical experts warn that as lockdowns ease and flu season returns these numbers could increase further, making renewed lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in parts of the US a possibility over the coming months. The lockdowns and retail establishment closures of the past few months have brought the limitations and flaws of the lottery retail system in some states to light, and with it, the realization of the need to assess current practices and identify new digital approaches that work long-term, and under any circumstance.

As Covid-19 continues to decimate the US economy, and society gets adjusted to a new-normal, the long-term effects on people and businesses are becoming more evident. The pandemic has been somewhat of a rollercoaster for state lotteries, and as states continue to release revenue data, mixed results can be seen over the past few months. Retail-only state lotteries saw a huge drop in revenue, with states such as Delaware reporting a $40 million loss in lottery ticket sales due to casino closures. Massachusetts saw a 53 percent drop in sales over 3 months, resulting in a 5 percent drop in total sales for the fiscal year. Virginia reported a $45 million drop in sales. Maryland reported a sales decline by as much as 30 percent and also had to postpone the launch of new scratch-off games. In Oregon, the lottery revenue drop resulted in a $22 million budget shortfall which forced them to lay off 47 employees and close over a dozen state parks.

Many states are reliant on lottery revenue in order to fill in budget gaps, while other states use the funds to run special education, environment and veteran aid programs.

“We got used to the lottery as a constant companion supporting the system. It was a gut punch to realize we don’t have the time to react.” Chris Havel, spokesman for the Oregon parks and rec department, told the Associated Press.

While lotteries limited by retail-only sales suffered, the online lottery route was one embraced by the states with the legal framework in place to do so. The Georgia Lottery CEO Gretchen Corbin remarked that sales dropped in March as lottery retailers were forced to close and customers were under pandemic lockdown. But their sales rebounded in the final quarter of the fiscal year, which the CEO attributes to their efforts to promote their online lottery offering, bringing revenues up to a record $1.24b profit over the past 12 months. The Pennsylvania Lottery saw sales drop 25 percent in March after about one-third of their lottery retailers were required to close with sales down $60 million when compared to the same period last year. They did however experience a surge in online sales with “players turning to the Lottery’s online games” during the lockdown, as confirmed by their spokesperson Ewa Dworakowski. Their executive director Drew Svitko also confirmed that “lottery is breaking records and has more players than ever before” with their average daily online lottery sales reaching $3 million during the pandemic, boosting their FY20 online lottery sales by about 24 percent ahead of estimate. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission saw online sales of e-instants increase by 92 percent, and draw-based purchases go up 39 percent between March 21 and April 25. “For a non-jackpot run month, and limited advertising, we had some impressive KPIs” said Kelley-Jaye Cleland, director of sales and product development.

Liz Siver, general manager at NeoPollard Interactive, which partners with many US lotteries that sell products online noted that “Across our network, key performance indicators have hit record-breaking levels as lottery players sought online options during this unprecedented time.”

In an interview with Betting USA, Jackpocket, a company which provides similar online lottery services, reported a marked increase in sales with saturation levels reaching record highs, “Jackpocket is actually seeing a significant increase in sales week over week. We’ve already witnessed a 14% increase in this Tuesday’s Mega Millions sales and anticipate this to continue.” said CEO Peter Sullivan.

“The figures from states with ilotteries active during the pandemic is strong evidence that digital is the way forward,” said Ade Repcenko, CEO of digital lottery software provider Spinola Gaming. “Digital transformation and ilottery are set to play a huge part in the US lottery sector over the coming years. It is important to learn from these past few months and prepare lottery businesses for long-term digital success.”

NeoPollard’s Liz Siver shared these thoughts, adding: “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a renewed focus on digital transformation strategies, particularly ilottery. There was no way to predict the current position that lotteries are in today, but this experience solidified the need to advance discussions around ilottery. Covid-19 has guaranteed that every strategic dialogue with a lottery today includes ilottery.”

With digital lottery solutions ready and available from suppliers like Spinola Gaming, the only barrier currently facing the digitization of the lottery industry is a regulative and legislative one, as most states do not have the legal framework in place to allow lotteries to move online. Last year, online lottery legislation was introduced in Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – however none of the bills were able to get passed. Repcenko believes that the legislative process should be fast-tracked in order to safeguard lottery operators should society be faced with renewed nationwide lockdowns and restrictions and with it the possibility of state retail lottery ticket sales dropping yet again. “Unless these regulatory changes happen fast, the US market will lag behind the rest of the world, as LATAM, Africa, Asia and Australia all already possess the legal ability to sell online.”

Some states have indeed felt the pressing need to move online and turned to those with active ilottery, such as New Hampshire, for guidance, said Cleland. “We have spoken with some other states regarding how [we] approached our ilottery program. Given that Covid-19 could come back this fall, I imagine many states are determining how they can help their programs become quasi-pandemic proof to ensure they maintain revenues for good causes.”

With time of the essence for operators looking to move online to quickly recover from the impact of Covid-19, holistic lottery solutions like the ones offered by Spinola Gaming provide land-based operators with all the tools needed to make a timely switch to digital, while still maintaining their traditional retail operations through one seamless interface. The software allows operators to monitor all lottery ticket sales and track all online and offline purchases in real-time, complete with a myriad of marketing functions and analytics. While lockdowns across the US have hurt the lottery sector, state’s such as Georgia and Pennsylvania have proven that – with the right digital solution – operators can return to better than normal levels of sales, and bring a much needed boost to the social initiatives they support.

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BOLD NEW IN-GAME AD PLATFORM REVEALED BY PLAYSTACK

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Leading videogame publisher Playstack today proudly announces the launch of its innovative new advertising technology for developers – the ‘Interact’ SDK – which offers real world redeemables that reward players for interacting with (rather than being interrupted by) in-game advertisements.

Advertising plays an increasingly important role in game monetisation, however Playstack believes there can be better, less interruptive ways of integrating ads.

Interact has been designed to offer developers a new way to monetise whilst making gaming sessions more immersive and rewarding; seamlessly integrating brands into games. This lightweight, easy to integrate SDK gives developers three new advertising alternatives; virtual display advertising, full level takeovers and real world rewards. Developers get engagement and revenue, brands get new customers and players get free stuff.

The Interact technology also gives developers a free, powerful and integrated way to cross promote their own games and apps; allowing them to engage even more with their ever growing audiences.

“Serving ads to gamers has increasingly become like the Wild West. Players are seeing ads interrupt their mobile gaming experience, causing people to skip them, ignore them, or even churn from the game completely. We intend to change that,” said Harvey Elliott, CEO of Playstack. “Our ethos compels us to search out better ways to serve both developers and players – so we’re thrilled to launch Interact as a serious alternative for integrating advertising into games.”

The brand partnership team at Playstack have years of experience and an intuitive understanding of how to integrate brands into games from their work with Playstack’s own portfolio of games. They know how to deliver a branded in-game experience which delights and rewards players and generates real campaign value for brands. Through Interact they are bringing this network of partners and campaign know-how to games developers worldwide.

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NASR Esports takes Global Esports Tour 2021 Dubai title in undefeated run

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United Arab Emirates-based team NASR Esports lifted the Global Esports Tour 2021 Dubai title in style, winning the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament in an undefeated run on November 27.

The team beat Doomsday 2-0 in the semi-finals in a best-of-three tie, before whitewashing Triple 6 3-0 in the best-of-five grand final to win the US$8,000 pay cheque.

The runners-up took home US$4,000 while Doomsday and Level E-sports won US$1,500 for making it to the final four.

They came through a field of 30 teams that took part in the open qualifiers, all vying for a spot at next year’s Global Esports Tour Dubai.

NASR Esports’ victory will assure them a spot at the event in March, where they will compete against the world’s best professional CS:GO teams for a total prize pool of US$250,000.

The Dubai event wraps up the 2021 season of the Global Esports Tour, following successful stops in Los Angeles and Riyadh. Next up on the GEF calendar is the inaugural edition of its flagship event: the Global Esports Games held from December 17-19 in Singapore.

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Crypto gambling wins the market: BGaming gathered Q3 iGaming trends

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Over the past several months, the BGaming expert team has continued to analyze current trends within the gaming industry to determine the latest and most influential changes to the market. What cryptocurrency has shown the most significant growth across Q3, and which BGaming title has become the most fast-growing slot in the portfolio? BGaming has gathered a few interesting facts below.  

Mobile gaming keeps leading position. According to our company’s statistics, mobile gaming has far and away remained the most popular method of gaming, exceeding gaming on both a tablet and a computer. As a matter of fact, almost 95% of our players choose to play our games on their mobile devices, as opposed to nearly 3% and 2% for computers and tablets, respectively. 

The share of the young adult audience is growing. BGaming team has seen an increase in our young adult audience by almost 6% over the past year. In the current climate, young adults are spending more and more time at home looking for new forms of entertainment. Following that trend, iGaming providers track the most popular demands of this new generation, creating and adapting new games and products to meet the needs of this growing market. 

“When composing the road map of our games, we always rely on the analytics that our team collects. Of course, we strive to meet the needs of different generations, but it is important to be flexible and notice any changes in the market on time. So, for example, we see that the demand for exclusive products is growing. The audience wants to see unique games created according to their requests. And this is what we are working on, producing Brand Exclusive games for operators,” noted Marina Ostrovtsova, Executive Director at BGaming.

Crypto gambling wins the market. This year has seen an explosion in the popularity of cryptocurrency across every aspect of life. As digital money becomes more normalized, there has been a surge in their use across all igaming products. Of course, Bitcoin continues to be the most popular form of crypto; however, Litecoin has shown the most remarkable rise in popularity across Q3, increasing by 49%. In addition, Tether expanded in favor this year. BGaming team calculated a 108% increase in its use across brand’s titles in Q3.

Being the world’s first iGaming provider to offer cryptocurrencies, we draw particular attention to crypto gambling. BGaming widens its network of crypto projects and we see the results. The number of explosive winnings on crypto projects has significantly rised over the past few months,” highlighted Bogdan Gres, Brand Team Lead at BGaming.   

Aloha King Elvis is the fastest growing BGaming slot of 2021. BGaming has already released 11 games in the past year, including WBC Ring of Riches, Lucky Dama Muerta, and Dig Dig Digger slots. Released in Q3, the sequel to the immensely popular game Elvis Frog in Vegas, Aloha King Elvis, has almost caught up in popularity and shows the fastest growth among other BGaming titles. The game inspired by the talent and magnetism of Rock-n-Roll King shares includes three types of Jackpot and two types of Free spin rounds that make slot especially attractive to players. 

“We wanted to continue the story of cue Elvis which has already become a symbol of BGaming. The game met our expectations. Moreover, new features such as Buy Bonus and Chance 2.5 added in October also stimulated popularity growth,further noted Bogdan Gres, Brand Team Lead at BGaming. 

BGaming is a fast-growing game provider converting gambling into gaming. Thanks to an expert team and a player-driven approach, the studio creates innovative and engaging products featured on reputable platforms and 550+ online casinos worldwide. BGaming is the world’s first to support cryptocurrencies and offer Provably Fair games. Today the brand’s portfolio includes 70+ products with HD graphics and a clear user interface for every device.

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