Balls to win

Lottery operators should take advantage of the possibilities mobile phones offer, says Idan Miller form Zone4Play

“For veteran lottery lovers on the go, mobile technology also boosts sales by making participation easier”

Mobile phones have become a global mass-market communications commodity, providing a ready-made marketing channel for services that can be delivered through wireless technology.
      Since lotteries are a pastime with mass appeal, this form of gaming is an obvious match for a mobile business. Indeed, lotteries and mobile phones have a huge common ground. They are both people’s products and both are globally prolific.

      The mobile phone subscriber base has reached more than one billion in Europe and Asia, with a significant number of users in the US, where lotteries are especially popular. It is therefore only a matter of time before traditional lotteries follow in the steps of the UK’s Camelot, and operators elsewhere, and tuern to mobile phone as another marketing channel.
      The example of Camelot, operating the UK’s large-scale National Lottery, has undoubtedly made mobile lottery access a business development project for every mobile operator and national lottery company. While only in the early stages of development, mobile lotteries are an enormous potential growth market.

Enhancing revenue

Mobile devices represent the best avenue for lottery operators aiming to expand revenues. In most places with a lottery, a whopping 80% of the population takes part. Whereas gamblers spend more per user, the overall market for lotteries is much bigger worldwide.
      Lottery access via mobile devices creates another sales outlet for lottery operators. More selling points inevitably translates into more sales.
      Even more significant is the fact that mobile phone access to lotteries targets groups that would otherwise not participate in the games. In particular, mobile access targets the young, technologically adept user who would not ordinarily make a trip to the corner shop and stand in line to buy a ticket. The young-and-upwardly mobile also have disposable income to spend on lottery games.

      For veteran lottery lovers on the go, mobile technology also boosts sales by making participation easier. SMS alerts can be sent to players before a lottery is about to close. More frequent gaming can also be expected, as mobile users who love games can more frequently take part in lottery offering during downtime.
      Since lottery operators have regulatory approval to advertise their services, penetration of the new mobile access technology can also be achieved quickly. The two entities involved in mobile lotteries, the mobile operators and lottery companies, have an interest in developing joint business. Lottery sales will surely rise as a result of mobile deployment, and mobile operators also stand to gain from an innovative source of new income from their transmission services.
      Deployment of a mobile lottery system is easy, making the potential for the introduction of this platform huge. Both sides of the infrastructure – the mobile phone market and national lotteries – are pre-existing. Egaming technology is the link that ties the two together.

On the move

With the expansion of 2.5G and 3G, the user experience for a mobile lottery player is becoming more appealing. Technology allows the creation of images that look like real lottery tickets and scratch cards, making the transition easy and pleasurable for users, who won’t have to learn a new interface. With the new 3G rollout, which has taken off in Asia, the UK and Italy, all the new handsets have high-definition color screens that support advanced Java graphics.

      While the outlook for mobile gaming (mgaming) is promising, lotteries have a huge advantage in obtaining regulatory approval. In all countries, specific license must be obtained for mgaming. In most countries lotteries are already government-owned or regulated, meaning one of the biggest hurdles is overcome.

      It is likely to be much easier to get a licence for mobile lotteries. Lotteries are people’s games. People invest relatively little money in them. The lottery player is unlikely to get out of control. Instead, lottery players make a small investment for a small chance to win a large prize. No one will lose their home by playing the lottery.
      Lottery companies are conservative organizations that serve social projects. The challenge is to persuade these groups that a mobile format has technological safeguards that can be trusted by users.
      Indeed, it is only a matter of time before the regulatory and bureaucratic barriers to mobile lotteries come down.