Paul's Blog June 11, 2018

"We are all here to help others.    What on earth the others are here for I don’t know." H Auden

Congratulations to Robert Chvatal and Team SAZKA, Hansjorg Holtkemeier and Team EL, and all the presenters at Prague Industry Days for producing a fabulous conference experience.  Sponsored by EL commercial Partners, Industry Days provides a looking glass into the trends that are shaping our future.  Keynote speakers provide the broad view of consumer behavior trends, and the next generation of technological, marketing, and retailing trends.  Gaming and Lottery Industry leaders then interpret our industry-specific opportunities and challenges within this broader context of mega-trends.  It is a most gratifying approach that leads to intelligent insights that will hopefully be turned into concrete action-plans!  Thank you to EL Partners for making it all possible.   

Next year, the last four days of May 2019, we will all be reconvening in Antwerp, Belgium for another Main Event - the biannual EL Congress. Check out the calendar of future EL educational seminars and events at european-lotteries.org.  In the mean-time, PGRI Lottery Expo NYC (publicgaming.org) is open for business and already has a stellar A-list of the government and industry leaders scheduled to present. 

The European Lottery Association also sponsored a Women's Initiative in Lottery Leadership (WILL) reception during Industry Days in Prague.  Chair Rebecca Hargrove thanked the EL for its generous support, informed everyone about the WILL Mentorship program that has gained tremendous traction, and talked about the mission and actions that WILL is taking to help professional women achieve their full potential.  Visit womeninlotteryleadership.com to learn more about WILL and the Mentor program.  The next WILL reception will be on July 25 from 5:15 to 6:15 pm  during the NASPL Professional Development Seminar in Orlando.

The article “Did you know that casinos are financial institutions?” explains why this matters.  It causes me to think there are a number of distinctions that may seem semantical, just a matter of names which don’t matter because a rose by any other name is still a rose etc.  But they do matter.  In fact, it would seem to me that the ambiguities, the lack of clear definitions, will be the source of increasingly difficult regulatory issues.  From a legal point of view, what is the definition of “gambling”?  What exactly is the difference between “skill-based” gaming and gambling - How much skill versus how much chance constitutes skill-based?  Tribal lands in the U.S. are “sovereign” lands, endowing them with the properties of a sovereign state.  Does that mean they can engage in whatever activities they choose with no consideration for the laws of the surrounding jurisdictions?   I believe there may be some people who would actually say that is exactly what it means.  As in, Germany, Italy, France and others can’t tell each other what to do, what to legalize, or how to regulate games-of-chance.   What rights do the states contiguous to Tribal lands have with respect to the regulation of sports-betting on those sovereign lands? And how about the export of sports betting from those sovereign lands via the internet?

And what does this all mean to the operators of state-sponsored gaming?  Two ideas that are being propagated:  One, sports-betting will not generate a level of net profits that one might expect considering the size of the market ($150+ billion).  Further to that, the operation of sports-betting is a complex business that involves risk for the operator. And two, on the positive side: all games-of-chance operators should recognize the role that sports-betting plays as a valuable entry point or gateway for young adults into the world of gambling.  If you are in the games-of-chance business, as are operators of lottery, you want this young player demographic to have easy access to your games.  Young adults may prefer sports-betting to lottery when they are in their early twenties.  But you want to be there as their tastes change and they come to appreciate the thrill of playing the lottery!    

These are just a few of the topics to be addressed at PGRI Lottery Expo NYC.  Hope to see you there.