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Changing the game

Monday, 08 May 2017 15:31
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Online platform provider Bit8 believes it will revolutionize the previously under-served online lottery market with its new product, Lotto Hero.

For most of us, the word “lottery” evokes memories of lining up at the local newsagent or supermarket whenever a big draw is announced then waiting anxiously for the weekend draw amid dreams of striking a life-changing win.

And little wonder either. To this day, the vast majority of lottery play continues to take place in its traditional form.

While other forms of gaming have gradually found their way into the online arena, the very nature of lotteries – which run infrequently but offer potentially huge jackpots – has made their online transition much more difficult.

As Gerard Starkey, Head of Content at EGR, observes, “Of all the gaming verticals, lottery has been the slowest to adapt to the digital world and modern consumer habits.

“With draws being held on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, it’s clear that if lottery is ever going to satisfy the instant gratification needs of the digital savvy millennial, a fresh thinking and innovative approach is a must.”

Which brings us to a brand new product set to be released in late May – Lotto Hero. According to the product’s developer, platform provider Bit8, Lotto Hero tackles many of the problems that have previously plagued online lotteries head on.

“Most players still view lottery as a weekly offline experience,” says Bit8 CEO Angelo Dalli. “They buy their tickets in an offline establishment and wait for a weekly or at best bi-weekly draw.

“The appeal for them is the chance to win a life altering prize but that chance comes around rather infrequently. As a result of this plodding pace, lotteries are failing to appeal to millennials with their faster-paced, device-led, online focused social lives.

This generation which has been brought up on computer games is not averse to gambling, they just prefer games available at online casinos. They prefer quick fire content with instant gratification.

“Lottery isn’t taking advantage of these players who prefer spin and win rather than waiting for Saturday night’s draw like their parents used to do.

“With Lotto Hero we are talking about an hourly millionaire maker product. Players select seven numbers out of 35 and one card suit out of four suits. A draw then takes place on the hour, every hour – 24 hours a day – 365 days a year. That’s 8,760 draws every year.

“A player never has to wait more than 60 minutes to get involved which makes it appealing to both slots and sportsbook type players. The primary draw offers a lottery jackpot of up to €1 million which can also grow up to €10 million depending on frequency, how many players and whether the jackpot has gone off.”

Lotto Hero is being spruiked as an opportunity for operators to diversify their offerings, with statistics showing that a quality lottery product can boost an operator’s gross gaming revenue by around 10%.

Perhaps more significant though is its potential appeal to a segment of the market that until now has been largely ignored by the online world. For all of the latest online casino innovations, the huge growth of eSports and talk of an impending virtual reality revolution, lottery provides a simple, no-fuss option whereby players can choose their own numbers and enjoy the anticipation of a potentially huge score.

“We are talking about the world’s first interactive, truly online lottery product,” says Dalli, “It is the gamification of lotteries – making them look nice, making them appealing and also making a product for the modern world. It’s a product that doesn’t go to sleep and can be used around the world. There are no skills required and no new rules for customers to learn so there are no barriers to entry. Its beauty is its simplicity.”

Moreover, Lotto Hero promises to bridge that most difficult of ravines – providing the same massive payout potential that has been the key to traditional lotteries without the week-long wait between draws.

“In the end we settled on hourly draws and I think we’ve got it right in that regards,” Dalli adds. “We thought a lot about the exact time periods and whether the draws should be slightly more frequently or even less frequently.

“We did a lot of market research on this and settled upon an hourly draw because we think it is something that will appeal to sportsbook players during halftime, for example. For casino players, an hour is a long time so there will still be that anticipation – 59 minutes to be exact because you cannot buy tickets in the last minute before a draw.

“So we think it will end up being a unique product that manages to avoid boring millennials. We think it is just about right.”

Bit8 expects to begin integrating Lotto Hero into operator platforms by the end of this month.


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