NASPL: Bringing North American lotteries together

NASPL: Bringing North American lotteries together

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The North American lottery industry is riding high from a stellar performance in 2016. After raising more funds for good causes than ever before last year, NASPL executive director David Gale said the industry will be looking to continue this growth through 2017 and beyond.

The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) was founded in 1971. Evolving from an informal exchange of information among three pioneering lottery directors, the organisation has now grown into an active association representing 52 lottery organisations.

Although the association’s membership and services have grown over the years, its basic mission remains the same as when it was founded more than 40 years ago – to assemble and disseminate information and benefits of state and provincial lottery organisations through education and communications and, where appropriate, publicly advocate the positions of the association on matters of general policy.

In terms of funds raised for good causes, fiscal 2016 represented a high watermark for the North American lottery industry. Although total sales and proceeds have grown every year for the past several years, year-over-year growth in fiscal 2016 was stronger than any year since 2012.

Data obtained from NASPL indicates lotteries in the US raised $22.6 billion (USD) for their beneficiaries in fiscal 2016 and Canadian lotteries raised $3.3 billion (CAD). Those numbers represent year over year growth rates of nearly 8% in the US and 18% in Canada. In terms of 2016 sales – which includes traditional lottery games and net revenues from gaming, where applicable – US lotteries totalled $80.5 billion and Canada’s lotteries brought in C$10.4 billion, for increases of 9% and 13.5%, respectively.

“Fiscal 2016 was one for the record books in both the US and Canada, thanks to national jackpot games and generally strong performance overall,” said Patricia McQueen, editor of NASPL’s Insights magazine, in the association’s review of 2016.

The Ohio-based NASPL plays a central role in bringing together the North American lottery industry. And following last year’s stellar performance, the association’s executive director, David Gale, outlined NASPL’s priorities for the year, with retailer relations, cashless purchases and responsible gaming all featuring heavily in the group’s current agenda.

“In terms of retailer relations, our member lotteries are consistently looking to their retail partners from single-store location to big box chains for ways to help them succeed with lottery product sales,” Gale told TotallyGaming.com.

“Meanwhile, current retailer and consumer trends clearly indicate that American consumers are rapidly moving toward a cashless reality. This is a direct threat to our North American retail lottery business and to any incremental revenue associated with retail expansion opportunities.

“The biggest impediment to acceptance of debit cards – or credit cards where allowed by legislation or business practice – by retailers are the fees associated with managing these transactions, due to the relatively small size of the transaction.

“We are working on initiatives to create standard guidelines and a cohesive approach to manage cashless lottery retail purchases which will help each lottery make the business case to their jurisdictions and regulatory bodies on the most viable operational business model, while adhering to each individual jurisdiction’s statute.”

While lotteries across North America continue to raise billions of dollars each year for good causes, Gale drew attention to the importance of social responsibility. “The recognition of problem gambling issues within our industry over the course of the past decade has been nothing short of remarkable,” he stated. “Whereas at one point it was considered a taboo subject that shouldn’t be openly addressed, we have evolved now to launch what I consider a crowning achievement of NASPL.

“Our new standard and verification programme – the third such initiative launched by our organisation – works on two different levels. For lotteries which are hoping to establish a responsible gambling programme but haven’t felt like they had the expertise to do so, the opening level of our verification programme allows them access to national experts in the field. For lotteries who already have a responsible gambling program, this initiative will engage these same experts on how existing plans could be stronger and give recognition to those who have created solid programming.”

Gale added: “This framework and standard was developed in conjunction with the National Council on Problem Gambling. NCPG’s vision is to improve health and wellness in America by reducing the personal, social and economic costs of problem gambling. We do this by leading state and national stakeholders in the development of comprehensive policy and programmes for all those affected by problem gambling.”

Looking ahead, Gale said it is “incredibly important” that NASPL members continue to co-operate and work together and share information. “Our industry is unique in that there is no significant competition for the same player base,” he said. “Lotteries are open to sharing information on products, services and game innovations with one another. Although states and provinces operate under their own specific legislation, all members work co-operatively on issues facing them on a national level.”

TotallyGaming says: The North American lottery industry finds itself on solid ground in 2017. However, co-operation between stakeholders is now more important than ever before. With this in mind, the NASPL continues to play a vital role in the industry, as operators tackle a range of issues, including retailer relations, cashless purchases and responsible gaming.

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