ICE: Lotteries must only use regulatory link as an advantage

ICE: Lotteries must only use regulatory link as an advantage

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The relationship between lotteries and government is the sector's biggest strength, but also its biggest weakness according to Philippe Vlaemminck, a partner at law firm Altius.

Taking part in a panel session at ICE TotallyGaming 2015 that discussed ‘Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for the Lotteries Industry’, Vlaemminck suggested that the sector needs to make the most of its unique position but should also push to not be restrained by regulatory and state influence.

"It creates a strong environment and the social element means that the sector has a mission," Vlaemminck said. "However, the government influence can also lead to slow reactions. There are people with great ideas who want to move the industry forward, but spend so long having to convince the regulators. Private companies can be much quicker, and we have to make sure we don't fall behind."

Michael James, a director of Illinois Lottery, believes that the sector's greatest strength is its size, pointing that it is already the most popular form of gambling in the world but still has a great chunk of the public to win over as regular players.

He said: "We have amazing presence and technology, and have very high approval ratings among the public - some 85% of people support the notion of a lottery that raises money for good causes."

However, he believes that more must be done in the US to allow private companies to run lotteries based on good business practice. He added: "In the next five years, I hope that we will have a private manager that will make money for the state and make money for the company. If we can create that new paradigm, it would be great."

Also looking ahead, Grant Baskerville, head of public affairs at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: "I believe there will be major growth, and with that should come greater transparency as to where money raised should go. I also think there should be regulatory change in the UK. Some £100m (€132m/$151.4m) was given to good causes by society lotteries five years ago, and that has risen to £170m today. However, there will be a limit as to how big a society lottery can become.

"I believe changes could be made that would generate more money, would not negatively affect the state lottery and would not increase problem gambling."

Veronique Deconinck, manager (integrated digital, social, content strategy) at Belgium’s Loterie Nationale hopes that the sector can entice more players from the social group of young people known as ‘Generation Y’.

She said: “In Belgium we found that this demographic has an emotional link to the idea of lotteries, but that the sector has not yet found a way to adapt itself to their gaming habits. There is room for us, but our current offering is not quite what they want.”

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