By Paul Jason

Our goal is to make the process of staying informed be as easy and efficient as possible.  The Pulse of the Industry includes only those news items in which I add editorial commentary.  You can still click on these stories to read the source document.  News items not a part of the "Pulse" may include captions that summarize the point of the story.  But those captions are lifted directly from the story itself.  Of course, those news items are just as important as the ones I choose to comment on in the "Pulse"!

China Pouring billions into U.S. Start-ups

It’s all about Smart-Phones.  Actually, it’s about a strategy that envisions smart-phones as being the driver for all manner of consumer-facing businesses, including games.  Chinese Internet giants Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent have targeted U.S. technology start-ups as the engine that will drive smart-phone technology.  And smart-phone technology will be the competitive differentiator for all consumer-facing businesses (like Lottery) of the future.  For instance, Baidu’s late-round investment is what drove Uber’s theoretical market valuation to $41 billion valuation.  As an alternative taxi-service, Uber is not worth anything close to $41 billion.  And as an Internet services provider, Baidu doesn’t care about alternative taxi-services.  It’s Uber’s Mobile app and Mobile connection to a massive consumer base that Baidu covets.  Alibaba’s acquisition of 10% of game developer Kabam for $120 million drove the market valuation of Kabam to over $1 billion.  Internet portal and services provider Tencent is valued at over $200 billion and had $7.2 billion in revenue last year from online gaming alone.   These Internet service providors see the smart-phone and Mobile apps as the key to controlling the consumer relationship, and that as being key to controlling the business. Another example of how Mobile is becoming the tail that wags the dog:  Like its arch competitor Google, Apple announced that it too will be invading the automobile market in order to leverage its core competency of, wait for it, Mobile platforms and apps.  And land-based retailers like Target exploring partnerships with Uber to gain access to its Mobile app technology and customer-base.

Isle of Man and the Netherlands to work together on creating shared information and common standards for consumer protection

Individual EU member states are entering into multi-jurisdictional agreements that promise to shape the regulatory environment in Europe.  The important thing about this is that the establishment of these standards can and should be done at the EU member state level as opposed to the EU Commission level. Just like the U.S. states do not need their federal government to establish a national framework that over-rides the rights of individual states to determine regulatory policy, European member-states do not need the EU Commission to over-ride their right to decide on the regulatory policies that best serve their citizens.

China rules out citizens gambling in Taiwan casinos

China is threatening to revoke not just tourist visas, but also shipping and trade links to outer Taiwanese islands.  I’m sure competition for casino gambling revenues is intense everywhere, but this would would seem to be a rather extreme, and destructive, form of economic retaliation.  Hopefully, nation-states won’t devolve into a 1929 version of erecting barriers to international commerce. 

B2C messaging on WhatsApp: A mobile marketer’s dream

Facebook is under tremendous pressure to leverage its incredible consumer connection to increase revenues to be more commensurate with its market cap.  To date, Facebook has not been very successful at monetizing its incredible consumer connection.  (WhatsApp is a messaging service that has been advertising free.)  Enabling their consumers to enjoy games-of-chance would seem to be the Holy Grail when it comes to revenue-generating potential. Who will be their partners?

Gambling And The Bank Secrecy Act

The article on The Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) is both comprehensive and easy-to-understand.  It does not, however, get into the conundrum faced by gaming operators and casino operators in particular.  Casino players do not want do divulge more personal information and subject themselves to more financial reporting and auditing.   I think we might even leap to the supposition that the bigger the player and the more money they are wagering, the less receptive they will be to increased scrutiny.  Casino operators would quite rightly point out that just because they like to wager large sums does not mean that they are laundering money, have something to hide or are otherwise doing something wrong.   Casino operators might ask where the line should be drawn between a legitimate need to prevent illegality and an onerous invasion of privacy.  BSA requirements can have a direct impact on their GGR/profits.  This is a hotly debated issue because failure to comply with BSA requirements can have costly consequences.

Massachusetts State gaming officials release educational casino video, ask for public comment

What a great video!  It is comprehensive (in fact, a little TMI for most of us), and clearly explains the process of licensing casino operators, the role of referenda to engage the residents of the hosting community, the impacts on the host and surrounding communities, etc.  In this age when transparency on the part of government is so highly valued, Massachusetts has provided a very nice blueprint for how the general public can become more engaged in the process, or at least understand the steps taken in the process of legalizing and regulating a gambling establishment.


“Helping lotteries improve retail performance is at the heart of our focus, and being able to quickly and flexibly use real time performance scorecards to rate retail locations across a wide range of criteria is an exciting new capability”, said Jean Lombard, CEO of Lapis Software Associates. “gemScore makes a lot of sense because lotteries can now use a flexible retail benchmarking toolset just like the major retail chains.”
“The whiteboard of creativity is blank at the moment,” said Marcus Prater, executive director of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers. “Once the rules and regulations are written, then the game designers will take over, and that’s who will really make this happen.”  Prater said the bill lets casinos create an experience that better reflects the variety of games people can play outside casinos.  The key to accomplishing that goal, he said, is through variable payback percentages. Under that concept, skilled players could boost a game’s 88 percent payback to 98 percent if they excel at a bonus round or in a competition against friends. Variable payback isn’t the only idea the industry is kicking around. The bill also mentions integrating social networking technology.

The rise of Facebook, Zynga Poker, Bingo Friendzy, etc. have leveraged the explosion in ‘social gaming’ to push into the real-money gambling sector.  But where does the social element stop and the gambling begin? And with the lines being blurred ever more, is the notion of gambling in the traditional sense changing too? Players on social apps like Candy Crush Saga (Facebook’s most popular social game of last year) can play for free.  But to get past the initial levels they must purchase more levels or scrounge extra lives from FB friends.  But the aims are the same: to spend as much time playing as possible and to ‘achieve’ as much as you can. And those achievements and missions can be shared with friends on social media. Dr. Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies at Nottingham Trent University, observes “that there was very little difference between the behaviour and the psychology of people playing video games and those playing slot machines.  Slot machine people were playing for money and video games players were playing for points. In effect, slot machine gamblers were using money as a way of ‘keeping score’, even though the games involved money.  Every hardcore fruit machine player that I knew in my research in the late 1980s was saying, ‘we know that we’re going to lose every penny in the long run.  What we’re trying to do is maximise play on this machine”.  In effect, slots players’ philosophy was to stay on machines as long as possible for the least amount of outlay possible; an identical approach to video games players.  In that sense, social games already deliver paybacks that are similar to slots - more points and longer play-times.  Every firm with a popular social game, whether it’s Chumba World, Zynga Poker or Candy Crush Saga, has attempted to monetise their games. Chumba Casino is now available to over-18s play casino games for real money via Facebook. The social casino bases its games on sweepstakes in order to pay out real cash winnings.  The distinction between online gambling for money and social gambling that requires time and money to progress will continue to blur even more as web-literate youngsters come of age and gambling online becomes ever more acceptable.
Implications of the massive disruptive potential of big-data, digitization and “datafication”.   Will it yield advantage to start-up “disruptors” or to industry incumbents?
Commenting on the 1Q 2015 Results INTRALOT Group CEO, Mr. Antonios Kerastaris, noted: “Revenues in the quarter grew by 12% and EBITDA proved to be resilient despite the difficult comparison with 1Q 2014, due to the fall-off of the previous OPAP and Romanian contracts and strong headwinds from a higher than usual payout. A comparison of the business excluding these exceptional items shows a strong growth in Revenue across all of our geographical segments. On a like for like basis our EBITDA grew by c. 11% in this quarter as the majority of our subsidiaries reported strong results, in-line with our broader expectations.
"Since we began working with Pollard Banknote almost two decades ago, we have developed a strong partnership with the company and look forward to building on the success we have already achieved together," said Tony V. Bouie, executive director of the Arizona Lottery. "We have worked closely with the company to leverage its unique products to help grow our instant and pull-tab ticket sales and will continue to explore new innovations that will offer our players even more value and excitement."
"The OLG is in the final stages of the RFP (request for proposal from bidding operators) and we expect to announce a successful proponent for the east gaming bundle in mid-2015," OLG spokesman Tony Bitonti said Wednesday.
“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, citing “at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”  Swiss officials arrested seven of the indicted individuals in Zurich, while U.S. federal law enforcement officers early Wednesday morning conducted a search at the headquarters of the continental confederation under FIFA in Miami, Florida.  Separately, the Swiss Office of the Attorney General announced that it has opened criminal proceedings against unnamed person in relation to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process. The guilty pleas of four individual and two corporate defendants were also unsealed Wednesday.
Gavin Isaacs, President and Chief Executive Officer, Scientific Games, said "We are honored and excited to expand our long-standing and thriving partnership with Penn National by providing Plainridge Park Casino such a broad portfolio of our products representing our popular Bally, WMS, and Shuffle Master product brands across systems and games. "Since our merger with Bally Technologies late last year, we have been able to leverage the breadth and diversity of our combined product library to extend value and drive better business outcomes for our customers as a single provider partner – creating trailblazing and entertaining experiences for players and helping operators optimize their investments."




September 9, 10 and 11, 2015 Eden Roc Miami, Florida

***Amazing OCEAN FRONT accommodations for $209 very limited - don't wait click here to reserve now.**


Vendor Registration click here

Government/Lottery Registration - no charge - click here


PGRI TALKS (  - "Ideas for Good Causes Worth Spreading  brought to you by the Public Gaming Research Institute. Our objective is to become an invaluable resource that truly connects the entire world to the leaders of this industry, their thoughts and perspectives on the issues, and the news and background information that gives additional context and meaning to those thoughts and perspectives. SMART-TECH 2015 Videos up watch below - more to post. Up Next 'Touch Tomorrow' in Oslo, Norway. *To watch the videos below you will click on the link and  make sure your volume is turned on. *Copyright 2015 - these videos may not be downloaded or uploaded to YOUTUBE or used in any way without the express permission of PGRI, Inc. © PGRI, Inc. 2015 all rights reserved.

SMART-TECH 2015 Video presentations

SMART-TECH 2015 Kevin Gass Vice President, Lottery Gaming BCLC, British Columbia

SMART-TECH 2015- Gardner Gurney, Acting Director, Division of the Lottery at New York State Gaming Commission - Keynote

SMART-TECH 2015 - Terry Rich CEO Iowa Lottery -Keynote

SMART-TECH 2015 - Michael Chambrello Chief Executive Officer of North America IGT

SMART-TECH 2015 Jim Kennedy, Executive Vice President, Group Chief Executive, Scientific Games

SMART-TECH 2015 Panel Discussion: Consideration, Chance, Prize: Is this foundational definition of gambling being circumvented by game developers and online operators? Moderator: James Maida, Co-Founder & President, Gaming Laboratories International (GLI)

SMART-TECH 2015 Panel Discussion: Nationalizing Brand Messaging and Public Relations; Terry Rich Moderator CEO Iowa Lottery

SMART-TECH 2015- Panel Discussion: Reinvigorating the Draw-Games Category -Moderator: Rebecca Hargrove, Chief Executive Officer, Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation and Senior Vice President of the World Lottery Association (WLA)

SMART-TECH 2015 - Panel Discussion: Retail Modernization Drives Lottery Modernization -Moderator: May Scheve Reardon, Executive Director, Missouri Lottery

SMART-TECH 2015 Phil Holmes, Vice President, Strategy & Planning, Atlantic Lottery Corporation

SMART-TECH 2015 Panel Discussion: The New Science of Customer-Centric R & D What are the most forward-looking trends in the science of understanding -Moderator: Paula Otto, Executive Director, Virginia Lottery

SMART-TECH 2015 - Interactive Goes Mainstream Panel Discussion - Moderator: Scott Bowen, Commissioner, Michigan Lottery

SMART-TECH 2015 Panel Discussion: Managing Uncertainty as the Key to Successful Innovation - Moderator: Gary Grief, Executive Director, Texas Lottery

SMART-TECH 2015 Richard Bateson, Commercial Director/Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing, Camelot Global

SMART-TECH 2015 Max Goldstein Director Sales Marketing CARMANAH Signs

SMART-TECH 2015 Leigh-Ann Goad Research & Consumer Strategist Virginia Lottery

SMART-TECH 2015 Matteo Monteverdi Senior Vice President iGaming and Senior Vice President Americas Interactive, IGT

SMART-TECH 2015 Adam Perlow, CEO, Hudson Alley Software

SMART-TECH 2015 Fivi Rondiri Corporate Marketing Coordinator Intralot

SMART-TECH 2015 Brian Roberts President North America and Levi Putna Project Development Coordinator Jumbo Interactive

SMART-TECH 2015 James Bader Partner The Parthenon Group (LINQ3 Presentation)

SMART-TECH 2015 Christine Thoma, Business Development Manager, Lottovate

SMART-TECH 2015 Julin Shaw Marketing Manager, POLLARD Bank Note

SMART-TECH 2015 Gordon Medenica Former Director of the New York Lottery & Former President of NASPL

SMART-TECH 2015 Sara Navidazar Director of Marketing Diamond Game

SMART-TECH 2015 Susan Golightly Founder CODEI

SMART-TECH 2015 Beyond the Bricks - Scott Bowen Commissioner, Michigan Lottery Danny Bogus Deputy Commissioner of Gaming Operations at Michigan Lottery

SMART-TECH 2015 Brad Cummings President & CEO EquiLottery, LLC

SMART-TECH 2015 Rick Perrone Chief Executive Officer GAMEOLOGY

SMART-TECH 2015 - Tony Fontaine Vice President, Business Development, Interactive Gaming and Lottery Solutions InComm

SMART-TECH 2015 Brendan McCarthy Novomatic Lottery Solutions

SMART-TECH 2015 Matt Isaacs Director, Retail Development POLLARD BANK NOTE

SMART-TECH 2015 Frank Rash Chief Operating Officer SHOUTZ

SMART-TECH 2015 Paul Jason CEO PGRI Conference Introduction

SMART-TECH AWARD Presentations

Wanda Young Wilson, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of the Tennessee Lottery Corporation Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony

Peg Rose Deputy Director Rhode Island Lottery -Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony

Marty Gibbs Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kentucky Lottery Corporation Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony

Sharon Sharp Award for Good Causes Hoosier Lottery, Indiana - Sarah Taylor, Executive Director

SCENES from: SMART-TECH 2015 2 minute video photo collage with music
2 minute video photo collage with music -
Click here to watch (turn sound on)

Public Gaming Magazine March/April 2015

Public Gaming /Paul Jason -   / Susan Jason -  /Office Phone - + 425-449-3000  
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