Tom Mitchell, B2B Director of London-based technology company RISQ, assesses the changing regulatory landscape for bet-on-lotteries, and suggests the best modes of jackpot traction for operators.
It seems, with the UK government’s recent ban on gaming operators taking bets on EuroMillions, that the shifting sands of regulation are starting to sweep across the bet-on-lotteries market. Indeed, the arrival of the DCMS consultation’s recommendation to prohibit betting on non-UK EuroMillions draws was just a matter of time for many observers.
While operators are still able to offer bets on international lotteries, the reasoning for this ban was unsurprisingly to offer EuroMillions the same supposed protection when it comes to directing a portion of its proceeds towards national initiatives both charitable and cultural.
The enshrinement of British good causes has long been a redemptive crutch on which Camelot can rely when it encounters any competitive headwinds. However, the EuroMillions had previously fallen outside the National Lottery’s inherently domestic reach, due to its international make-up of participating countries. No longer.
Of course, it’s an emotive issue. The conclusions of the DCMS that EuroMillions sales had been adversely affected were of questionable evidential foundation, being somewhat limited in both their temporal frame and sample size. After all, in debate, the burden of proof typically falls upon the party that argues something is happening to demonstrate its occurrence. Camelot cried foul in the face of a nine percent drop in lottery sales for 2017.
On the other hand, it’s worth remembering that its mark of £6.9 billion sales was still Camelot’s fourth-largest performance since its records began in 1994. Marginal dips do not constitute downward trends. And they are certainly not definitive enough to discount other factors, such as jackpot levels, payout probability, general marketing, even organisational issues. Furthermore, ever since bet-on-lotteries emerged on the scene four years ago, Camelot’s revenues have actually increased.
Nevertheless, in this instance, the DCMS concluded that any evidence of a non-detrimental impact “was insufficient”. So, wherever the true merits and drivers lie, the basic betting-on-lottery counter arguments of growing the market and developing a different customer base (mobile) have fallen on deaf ears for now. The true merits and key drivers will only reveal themselves after further research over a wider timeframe.
However, if national lotteries generally continue to succeed in lobbying against lugging a potentially burdensome “piggyback” product (bar the bet-on-lottery industry making its own charitable contributions), operators will be left looking for alternatives. RISQ’s game-changing model brings a viable third way to market, neatly navigating any state-controlled issues, with no onus on cross-network provision. Our insurance-backed solution can be tailored to a range of games (slots, tables games, lottery, keno, bingo, and instant win) and any individual operator or game developer’s needs.
Ultimately, risk management strategy sets any insurance-backed solution apart. And RISQ’s ability to structure bespoke jackpots and pay tables that have flexible suitability for operators also lends authenticity and credibility to the prospect of winning that largest industry prize funds, all backed by A-rated insurers. After all, one of the main benefits for state-run lotteries is their high participation levels. Or, to put it another way, someone usually scoops the jackpot!
RISQ’s capacity to constantly tweak jackpot size based on player behaviour, even adding a tiered prize system, which scales with the level entries, maximises the chances of a winning trigger. We live in a real-time world where operators and providers can react to consumer characteristics, so embracing this behavioural data allows us to be proactive in our solutions, and hugely enhances the inherent ability of jackpots to drive acquisition and retention across worldwide markets.
Of course, the EuroMillions reversal represents an untimely loss for the bet-on-lotteries industry. It’s an instantly recognisable game whose brand name alone opened the door to cross-selling across a wider product range. Yet similar possibilities at home and abroad remain untapped in this sector. For while the regulatory courts appear to have dabbled in short-term scapegoating, the all-important court of public opinion continues to crave the easiest, repetitive routes to small-stake-big-win scenarios, whatever their format.
So even if Team GB Olympic Golds have clouded the horizon for the moment, another pot of gold for operators lies at the end of a rainbow of jackpot possibilities.