Online games are becoming more and more ‘infantilised’ as developers tap into a warm nostalgia in gamblers. The trend isn’t restricted to online gambling. Popular social gaming titles like Candy Crush Saga feature cutesy intro sequences straight out of a Nintendo game and icons made up almost exclusively with sweets.  The lines between styles are being blurred. Candy Crush Saga looks like a modern-day real-money slot, especially with its ‘exploding reels’ style which has been mimicked and trademarked by all the major slots developers in recent year.  This nostalgic element is key for slots developers.
“Pollard Banknote’s Eco Scratch™ adds a new, distinct look to our instant game portfolio. It offers a unique alternative to foil and white card stock, and printing on this stock gives us color options and combinations that are simply not possible with standard stocks,” explained Vibeke K. Haakonsen, Brand Manager, FLAX (Norsk Tipping’s instant product line). “We like to change the ticket art on our base games regularly, and Eco Scratch™ is the latest print innovation available.”
Lottery Director Randy Miller said it will offer “a little twist” from the five rolling jackpot-style multi-state draw games currently available in North Dakota: Powerball, Mega Millions, Hot Lotto, Wild Card 2 and 2by2.   “We felt that the lottery must offer exciting and attractive games that add value to our product mix for players to play, and this game seemed to offer that,” he said.
Despite a record "history" of 387.6 million Swiss francs (2.6%) of gross gaming revenue (GGR), Loterie Romande, CEO, Jean-Luc Moner-Banet described the year 2014 as "relatively stable." If the amount is "stable", it is still part of a context of increasingly fierce market competition games, stressed Moner-Banet.
Commenting on the launch of the GLMS, Friedrich Stickler, GLMS President and EL President, stated: “Both the EL and the WLA are absolutely committed to honest betting and sports integrity worldwide. We recognize the role we play in helping safeguard that spirit. The GLMS, powered by Sportradar, will give our Members a unique, global view into betting behavior and irregular betting patterns.  It is of great importance that two lotteries from Asia have joined the GLMS given the fact that Asia accounts for the biggest part of the global sports betting activity. "I am excited that the EL and the WLA have taken this bold step to eliminate the threat of match-fixing and preserve the integrity of sports”. WLA President, Jean-Luc Moner-Banet added, “The world lottery community is gaining momentum in its efforts to combat match-fixing and to preserve the integrity of sports. The launch of the GLMS is a testament to that fact. Our cooperation with the EL in founding the GLMS, aided by the Sportradar's state-of-the-art technology, will help us unite our member lotteries across five continents in the fight against fraud in sports.
“We are very pleased to welcome Andreas Kohlmann and we are confident that his wide-ranging experience, profound knowledge and excellent network of relationships will support the establishment of our products and solutions in the German-speaking market. The timing of Mr Kohlmann joining Novomatic Lottery Solutions is perfect, considering we are at the culmination of the integration of Betware within the NOVOMATIC Group, along with investments undertaken to encourage a 360 degrees solution platform. We have thus laid the foundation to present ourselves to the market as the leading provider for innovative high quality solutions”, Miriam Lindhorst said on the occasion of Mr Kohlmann’s appointment.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that federal regulators at the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) are not effectively promoting voluntary compliance with federal guidelines concerning the proper handling of money, accuracy of financial statements, and security requirements at Indian casinos “The NIGC should find more effective methods that will ensure all facets of gaming are conducted with accountability and accuracy, said Chairman Barrasso.
Right now, if a gambler wins $1,200 or more, their machine locks up and the staff comes over to make the guest fill out a W2-G form, effectively notifying the IRS of the win. Once the form is filled out, the attendant unlocks the machine and the guest can continue to play. If the IRS has its way, that amount will be dropped to $600.  Casinos are rallying against the lower limit, citing increased time constraints and revenue loss.  “At SugarHouse Casino, about 1,700 people each month fill out W2 forms after winning $1,200 or more. Under the proposed rule, that number would grow to 10,000 a month." The casino industry is worried that taking the time to fill out all of the forms will cause revenue loss. Let’s take a real look on how this is going to affect the average guest to a casino to see if the concerns are exaggerated.  In terms of what it might cost you as a gambler: that of course is based on how much you win or lose. Here is the best piece of advice that anyone can give you:  Make absolutely sure that your player’s card is in that machine before you even put your first dollar in. What most people don’t know is that if you do win a jackpot, you can take your losses away from that W2-G. Those player’s cards keep track of all your gaming and at the end of the year, you can either go online or contact the casino directly and request your win/loss statement for tax purposes.
State regulators have been ordered by the court to allow slot machines at a Gadsden County racetrack.  The ruling, if it stands, could have implications on a $1 billion deal the state has with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Under the agreement, the tribe can stop its payments to the state if pari-mutuels outside of Broward and Miami-Dade counties start operating slots.  Legislative leaders and the tribe failed to reach an agreement on a new deal before the regular legislative session ended in May, and the issue is not expected to be addressed during a special session on the budget that begins Monday.
GGR in Macau for the first five months of 2015 has plummeted 37.1% year over year.  The continuous downside reflects the nationwide crackdown on corruption in China. This has compelled Macau officials to impose restrictions on high rollers to stop billions of dollars from being siphoned off illegally from mainland China to Macau. A cooling Chinese economy, tighter visa policies, political unrest and a smoking ban on mass market gaming floors have compounded woes.  Macau’s gaming revenues have gone downhill since Jun 2014 due to the anti-corruption drive by the Chinese government.  Nevada gaming revenues for the month of April were $897.9 million, up 5.4% year over year. The April increase came after declines in the month of February and March.
Rose J. Hudson, the president of the Louisiana Lottery, said current law already directs plans for this money — it must be used for future scratch-off prizes or promotions. "Simply put, unclaimed prize funds belong to Lottery players," Hudson said in a written statement. "As you can imagine, our players love this." By funneling the unclaimed money back into prizes, she said the Louisiana Lottery has increased scratch-off sales more than 40 percent the last five years. "In a nutshell, more sales equals more money for the state," she said, noting that 35 percent of Lottery revenue is constitutionally dedicated to K-12 public education.
In the first quarter of the year the turnover was €1.99bn, an increase of 6.6 per cent over the fourth quarter of 2014 and a rise of 24.5 per cent over the same quarter of last year. The number of active players per month stood at 393,029, up 10.4 per cent.  The breakdown of gaming products played, shows that poker stood at 25.2 per cent, casino games 23.7 per cent, betting 50.2 per cent, bingo 0.9 per cent and other elements just 0.06 per cent.  The report concludes that all of the top six operators had enhanced their strategies and that the arrival of slots on the scene this year will boost revenues further. It forecasts a continued stagnation for poker and an upturn for bingo.
“IGT welcomes the opportunity to assist the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in building this new and exciting business endeavor in the Commonwealth,” said Michael Chambrello, IGT CEO, North America Lottery.  “We have leveraged more than 20 years of development expertise along with intelligence gathering and validation sessions with gaming central system clients throughout the world to produce a system that meets both their current and future needs: the INTELLIGEN system. We look forward to working closely with the Commission to deliver this flexible, secure, and robust system that will allow them to effectively manage their new business and help to generate additional revenue for the Commonwealth.”

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.

LATEST NEWS

“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?

WORLD LOTTERY SUMMIT Photos Rome








LOTTERY-EXPO 2015 Sept 9-11, 2015

 Hosted by Public Gaming Research Institute and the Florida Lottery September 9, 10 and 11, 2015 CLICK to Register VENDOR Early Bird
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PGRI TALKS - "Ideas for Good Causes Worth Spreading: 'Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world" 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 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

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 - pjason@publicgaming.com   / Susan Jason - sjason@publicgaming.com  /Office Phone - + 425-449-3000  
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