Spinola Gaming, the leading Malta-based lottery content provider is on a mission to stop what it sees as a ‘race to the bottom’. Head of Product, Isabella Rae-Banda explains how the lottery experience is being used to recruit and retain players in what is a commercially promiscuous online world.
Online operators are now starting to realise the true potential of lotteries and now see this as the “Fourth Pillar of Gaming” – can you explain this?
It’s probably best to start with some facts. Lotteries account for some 36 percent of the global gaming market and represent one of the industry’s biggest revenue generators. Most lottery participants view their spend as entertainment rather than gambling and the overwhelming majority have never visited a casino or participated in an online sportsbook. Lotteries offer jackpots which people dream about winning in the process creating a positive narrative and with that comes oceans of human interest driven media coverage. Our approach at Spinola Gaming is to harness these invaluable characteristics and offer online casino and sportsbook operators the opportunity to integrate a global selection of fully insured lotteries from around the world as part of their overall offering. It’s a recognition that lottery works best when operators take a holistic view of what they can provide in terms of gambling entertainment and lottery is a fundamental part of that fantastic shopwindow.
How would you summarise the commercial opportunities for online operators?
Lottery is a simple game that can be used in a highly sophisticated way to build the bottom line. The vast majority of online operators are, perhaps unwittingly, participating in a race to the bottom. The practice among casinos of offering bonuses or free spins has transitioned from being a sales tool to a culture of permanent offers and deals which destroy margins and have created a churn of promiscuous ‘customers’ with zero brand loyalty. By incorporating lottery as a side game operators extend an invitation to participate in something that provides an opportunity to follow a dream and win life changing prizes. When you are competing for traffic you need a ‘stand out’ and lottery is exactly that. Furthermore, it serves to attract a new customer and with that the opportunity to cross sell across a number of integrated verticals. Brands can move from attempting to out shout each other to having a conversation with customers and keeping them connected with the brand. It’s about broadening horizons, offering something different and transitioning players into customers.
What does Spinola bring to the debate?
In physical terms we can offer operators the choice of 72 lotteries from almost all global markets including the biggest European and US lotteries (which is the most comprehensive lottery offering on the market) and the chance to customise games to complement brand values, colour ways and imagery. The model is based on a fully insured, risk free solution and operators can be up and running with Spinola within a month – two weeks for the technical side and two weeks for customisation. We provide all of the tools and all of the insight necessary to make the offering work to maximum effect which includes access to our in-house marketing team to help create and implement campaigns. It’s a fully managed solution which does not cannibalise income from one vertical to another and it’s risk free, meaning operators do not have the burden of payouts on any winnings.
Can the lottery experience engage with Generation Z – if so how?
There’s no doubt that the lottery sector suffers from a range of misperceptions one of which is its association with baby boomers. The online experience is a perfect fit for consumers who are tech savvy and who could be described as mobile first. Generation Z finds bricks and mortar gaming an irrelevance but offer a technology driven experience which is different, which is part of an integrated experiential offering and which provides the opportunity to win life changing jackpots and there’s a great opportunity to engage with a new demographic. They might be playing on the bus home but they are dreaming of a work free lifestyle and driving a Bentley Continental.
What plans does the company have for 2019?
We have spent the past two and a half years building what we believe is the industry’s leading lottery solution by creating a fully managed and risk free range of lottery and jackpot products that integrates seamlessly with online operators, we have been successful in generating a sizeable amount of interest for the lottery vertical and in the process secured over 40 existing operators. We’ve established a critical mass and the year ahead will see that extend to over 100 live operators. It’s an ambitious target but one we are capable of achieving.