Brad Cummings, Founder & CEO, EquiLottery Games
As a company that supplies lottery games based on live sporting events, EquiLottery Games has certainly endured an “interesting” few months. Live sports will return and we’ll be ready. But the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the economy of the lottery industry. Reliable revenue streams are suddenly shaky and in-store distribution as the primary vehicle to drive sales needs to be reevaluated.
As we look at how best to emerge from this difficult period, all games, distribution channels and payment methods will need examination. That begins with our flagship games - Powerball and Mega Millions. When most non-core players think of the lottery, they think of these two games first and foremost. But it's also no secret that these games have struggled due to player drop off in the early stages of the weekly jackpot rolls. We have no doubt these games will regroup and get back on track but it's a reminder to the entire industry that as society evolves, so must our game content and channels of distribution.
Lotteries and lottery vendors need to see lottery as not just a way for states to earn revenue and players to win prizes, but as the ultimate distribution network. No other industry has the bricks and mortar reach of the lottery. That means that while lottery games will always promise cash prizes that doesn't have to be the only or primary draw to play. What other new game types are out there to broaden the lottery player base and diversify revenue opportunities? Our live sports lottery games are one such option partnering with some of the biggest names in sports, including MLB and the NBA. Online instant reveal games (e-scratch) are experiencing dynamic growth in multiple iLottery states with their engaging animations. And virtual sports combine the game frequency of Keno with the energy of a sporting event. But regardless of the direction you go as a lottery, we advise looking for ways to develop new gaming experiences that will keep our industry's game portfolios from being so reliant on the chance a jackpot won't get hit.
This is also an incredibly important time for lotteries to evaluate their channels of distribution. While we all hope we can avoid another pandemic in the future, lottery has the ability to insulate itself to some degree from similar issues by moving to iLottery platforms. Whether lotteries adopt lottery operated solutions provided by the top vendors in our industry, work with courier services to allow the sales of their draw game portfolios, or both, we believe the future for lottery includes a robust mixture of in store and online options.
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