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The WEEK in REVIEW
A Weekly Snapshot of the Top Lottery and Gaming News Stories


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Vol. 87 No.2 - Monday April 15, 2019

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IGT Adding Bingo to Drive Play Across the Digital Portfolio

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U.K. (April 4, 2019) -- As Norway launches online bingo with enhanced features and content, here’s a look at how the game can boost your digital scorecard.

IGT 250Bingo is so often associated with its traditional, land-based format that it’s easy to underestimate the appeal of advanced digital forms of the game. In fact, Bingo is currently one of the most popular community-based sectors in digital gaming.

Bingo Mob reIn late March, the Norwegian state lottery, Norsk Tipping, went live with PlayBingo, the newly enhanced digital bingo platform from IGT, including a customizable version of Picture Bingo, allowing operators to tailor the game for relevance to their market.

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Notably, it’s the way that online communities tend to engage with one another while playing digital Bingo that makes it a powerful driver of crossover play to other games in the digital portfolio.

For example, the PlayBingo platform used by Norway includes IGT PlayCasino slot titles and a selection of mini-games that can be played for fun between or during rounds, while extensive chat features let players socialize with one another, all in a single window. “As players encounter other game categories in the same window as bingo, they often multitask in the game," said Hans Erland Ringsvold, Head of Gaming Operations, Norsk Tipping. “They spend time chatting and talking about games, supporting each other with tips on new functionality, congratulating one another on wins, and trying new games in other categories.

We’ve seen the crossover value of digital Bingo again and again in various regions of Europe and North America, underlining the importance of providing a full suite of digital games to players,” said IGT’s Srini Nedunuri, Vice President, IGT PlayDigital™ Platform.

Bingo LT 500Nedunuri reports that proprietary data from the European market shows the potential to significantly improve a lottery’s overall revenues with the help of PlayBingo.

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For example, the data for one lottery shows an average of 2.8 additional games played as a result of playing bingo, with the majority being sports betting, along with a high percentage of casino, poker, instant win, and lottery games. And, the cost per acquisition for bingo is lowest among all other digital gaming verticals.

In addition to crossover appeal, the vertical supports responsible gaming through its social aspect and low average player spend.

Since 2014, IGT has supplied Norway with a Flash-based interactive bingo solution. With Flash use waning, IGT developed the new PlayBingo platform with HTML5 to ensure universal playback, updated security, and richer features across all browsers and mobile operating systems.

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The platform gives Norsk Tipping and other lotteries a flexible and engaging addition to the digital portfolio, enabling them to generate interactive casino revenues on top of their bingo returns.

One of the keys to digital gaming is keeping everything fresh and new,” said Nedunuri. “With a steady stream of fresh content, PlayBingo players keep coming back to try more.

SOURCE: IGT via WLA.

 

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Pollard Banknote Receives Five-Year Contract Renewal from the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Canada (April 9, 2019) -- Pollard Banknote Limited (TSX: PBL) (“Pollard Banknote”) is pleased to announce the signing of a five-year renewal to its Instant Printing Services Agreement with the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation (“ILC”), which commenced December 31, 2018.

Under this agreement, Pollard Banknote will continue to provide Instant tickets, game design, and related services to the five Canadian regional lottery corporations, which work together through the ILC to undertake national lottery games.

Pollard Banknote has been a partner to the ILC for nearly 30 years. ILC’s expertise as the coordinating agent representing each of the five Canadian lotteries, combined with Pollard Banknote’s selection of print innovations and unrivalled understanding of the Canadian market, has led to the development of numerous top-selling regionally-specific national games over the decades.

Pollard ALC Ticket

Two past examples of wildly successful game releases are testaments to this strong partnership— Ultra, and X Money. Both games showcased Pollard Banknote’s dazzling Spectrum Scratch FX® – a feature that adds the look of radiant colour-tinted foil to the tickets.

This not only helped boost visibility at retail, but brought with it strong sales results. X Money, for example, was a top selling ticket within each and every one of the five jurisdictions overseen by the ILC.

Pollard Banknote is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to build on the successful partnership we have established with the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation over three decades,” said Brad Thompson, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Pollard Banknote.

The Lottery utilizes its multi-provincial strength, as well as Pollard Banknote’s leading-edge printing processes, to create dynamic national games that players love. We look forward to continuing to support the ILC with exciting new tickets that stand out at retail using our eye-catching designs, and are committed to continue our productive collaboration over the upcoming years.

The ILC is a nationwide lottery organization incorporated in 1976. The five Canadian regional lottery corporations that are members of the ILC include the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island), Loto-Québec, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut), and the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.

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These lottery corporations are responsible for games in their respective jurisdictions, and oversee the planning, risk management, and business oversight of national initiatives through the ILC Board, its Executive Committee, and other specific committees and working groups.

About Pollard Banknote

Pollard Banknote is a leading lottery partner to more than 60 lotteries worldwide, providing high quality instant ticket products, licensed games, Schafer Systems retail merchandising solutions, and a full suite of digital offerings, ranging from game apps to comprehensive player engagement and iLottery solutions, including strategic marketing and management services.

The company is a proven innovator and has decades of experience helping lotteries to maximize player engagement, sales, and proceeds for good causes.

Pollard Banknote also provides pull-tab tickets, bingo paper, and its Diamond Game and Oasis-branded electronic ticket machines to charitable and other gaming markets in North America.

Established in 1907, Pollard Banknote is owned approximately 67.6% by the Pollard family and 32.4% by public shareholders, and is publicly traded on the TSX (PBL). For more information, please visit our website at: www.pollardbanknote.com.

CONTACT:

 

Doug Pollard,

Co-Chief Executive Officer,

Telephone: (204) 474-2323

E-mail: dpollard@pbl.ca

John Pollard,

Co-Chief Executive Officer

Telephone: (204) 474-2323

E-mail: jpollard@pbl.ca

Rob Rose,

Chief Financial Officer,

Telephone: (204) 474-2323

E-mail: rrose@pbl.ca

 

SOURCE: Pollard Banknote Limited.

 

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Svenska Spel Stops Online Casino Advertising

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VISBY, Sweden (April 8, 2019) -- At the end of last week, at Svenska Spel we decided to stop our online casino advertising. This applies to all media channels during the rest of 2019. The decision has been preceded by intensive internal discussions about how we best protect our customers.

Svenska Spel has always driven the line that all games in the licensing market should be risk-classed and that stricter rules should apply to the more risky games, both in terms of design and marketing. With the advertising stop for online casino, we are now taking the full step.

No form of play is completely without risk for anyone who has a risk behavior. But the difference between different game forms is huge. If you look at the Public Health Authority's new survey that came last week, you see that net casino is in a class of its own. 30 percent of online casino players have problems managing their gaming. This compares with, for example, three percent for those who scratch Triss or play the Lotto over the net.

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The guidelines' annual report for 2018 confirms this picture. Over 60 percent of the callers indicate online casino as the main problem game. No other form of play is nearby. The closest is sports betting of 15 percent.

These are facts that we discussed at Svenska Spel last week and that made us put down our foot. Our online casino advertising already had a restrictive design, but now we choose to completely stop advertising for the rest of the year.

One can have objections. There seems to be no general link between game advertising and gaming problems. The public health authority's recent statistics show that fewer people experience problems with their gambling now than three years ago, despite increased advertising volume. The general gambling problems do not only increase because the advertisements do so.

But at the same time, several surveys indicate that those who already have a problem gambling are triggered by the advertisement. In the Public Health Authority's report, we can see that the group with serious gambling problems has grown strongly in recent years and now consists of about 45,000 people. This indicates that those who are already at risk are adversely affected by advertising.

That is why we now stop the online casino advertising: Simply because we are not attracting people with an already risky gaming behavior to the most risky form of play.

Not long after Svenska Spel took this decision, three gambling managers with net casino wrote in their product portfolio a debate article in Dagens Industri . They also wanted to see a stop… for Triss-scrap in Nyhetsmorgon. About online casino advertising, they had nothing to say.

If you are serious about taking responsibility, then you should address the problems where the problems exist, even if it strikes the revenue in the short term. In the long term, this is the only sustainable one. It is also only when we can improve the industry's reputation.

We would like more gaming companies to join a promotional stop for online casino. It would show that the gaming industry is taking consumer protection seriously.

 

Patrik Hofbauer

CEO, Svenska Spel

 

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The Kentucky Lottery Turns 30

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LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (April 4, 2019) -- On an early morning in Louisville on April 4th 1989, then-Governor Wallace Wilkinson stepped in front of a huge wall of cameras and microphones at the Thornton’s gas station on Preston Highway in Louisville. He walked to the cash register, handed over $3, and bought the first two tickets sold for the brand-new Kentucky Lottery.

Neither of the two tickets Wilkinson bought that morning turned out to be winners. However, after $20 billion in sales during the past 30 years, Kentucky Lottery players have received over $12 billion in prizes.

Thanks to our incredible network of retailers and the confidence the people of Kentucky have shown in our games, we’ve been able to achieve significant growth and support a variety of programs in the Commonwealth over the past three decades”, said KLC’s President and CEO Tom Delacenserie.  “We know Kentucky’s most deserving students are counting on us, and our mission of ‘fueling imagination and funding education’ is more important than ever.

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Close to 3000 Kentucky Lottery retailers have shared in the $1.25 billion in profits. Lottery products not only provide a source of income through commissions and bonuses, they also help drive people into stores to buy tickets.

Retailers are proud to be a vital partner in the success of the Kentucky Lottery over the past 30 years,” said Tod Griffin, Kentucky Grocers & Convenience Store Association (KGCSA) executive director. “Lottery tickets continue to be a value-added sales opportunity for thousands of retailers across the Commonwealth.

For nearly two decades, Lottery proceeds have been dedicated to college scholarship and grant programs. They’re administered by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, or KHEAA.

Providing Kentucky families with the necessary education and training to compete in

today’s global economy is the best investment the Commonwealth can make for the future”, said Gene Hutchins, KHEAA executive director.  “The Kentucky Lottery continues to be a critical partner in providing the needed resources to fulfil that commitment.

“WHERE’S ALL THAT MONEY GO, ANYWAY?”

Everyone from retailers to elected officials will tell you this is one of the questions they used to hear most frequently from players. So of the more than $5.2 billion you’ve helped earn for the Commonwealth since 1989, where’s it gone?

COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP AND GRANT PROGRAMS:

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The largest chunk of proceeds – around $3.4 billion – have gone to fund programs to help Kentucky students stay home to attend college. Lottery proceeds began shifting to college scholarship and grant programs in 1999.

To put this in perspective, from every dollar of non-loan college student financial aid awarded in Kentucky, 95 cents of it comes straight from Kentucky Lottery proceeds

These proceeds have funded every dime of the popular KEES scholarship ever awarded. Our proceeds are also dedicated to the need-based College Access Program and Kentucky Tuition Grants.

In addition, through executive order of Governor Bevin, we also fund the Work Ready Scholarship Program. This enables any Kentuckian to return to school to get a degree or certificate in a high-demand field. Also funded is the Dual Credit Program, where high school students complete college classes for credit before they graduate. In many cases, students have already completed more than half their first semester of college before they ever step foot on campus.

GENERAL FUND:

From 1989 through 1999, the General Assembly sent lottery proceeds to the General Fund. This is the funding used to run our state, and the largest single expenditure from the General Fund is for primary and secondary education (K-12). A total of approximately $1.5 Billion went to the General Fund over the years.

SEEK SCHOOL FUNDING:

For two of those years (1993-1994) $214 million of this General Fund money went to the SEEK program. This stands for Supporting Excellence in Education in Kentucky, and is a school funding program established by KERA to provide money to support elementary and secondary education in the state.

LITERACY DEVELOPMENT:

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From 2000 to 2018, the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development at UK received the first $3 million each year in lottery proceeds. A total of $54 million went to this program during that timeframe. The program works to promote reading skills among both children and adults across the Commonwealth.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING TRUST FUND:

From 1999 to 2003, unclaimed lottery prizes were directed to this program. The Affordable Housing Trust received $21 million in unclaimed prizes, used to help build nearly 2770 housing units for low-income Kentuckians in all 120 counites.

VETERANS BONUSES:

For the Lottery’s first three years (1989 to 1991), the General Assembly used proceeds to fund $32 million in recognition bonuses to Kentucky veterans of the Vietnam War.

SO WHY DON’T MORE PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THIS?

According to Lottery research, about 60% of Kentuckians don’t feel like they get enough information on where our proceeds are spent. One of the main culprits for this is the fact that for 25 years it was literally against the law for us to publicize these programs.

When the Lottery was established in 1989, there was a beneficiary advertising restriction in the state law which laid out how the Kentucky Lottery was to be operated. It said that no programs which benefitted from Kentucky Lottery proceeds could be mentioned in any advertisement. Kentucky was the only state in America that had or ever has had such a restriction. Finally, in the 2014 the restriction was overturned. Shortly after that was when our “Fueling Imagination, Funding Education” tagline was launched.

SOURCE: The Kentucky Lottery Corporation.

 

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Tony Pittz Joins Idaho Lottery as Director of Lottery Security

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BOISE, Idaho (April 4, 2019) -- The Idaho Lottery announced that Tony Pittz has been appointed to the Lottery’s executive team as the new Director of Lottery Security.

He joins the Lottery after an extensive and distinguished law enforcement career with Caldwell Police Department and the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.

Pittz is an Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy (POST) certified graduate with a background in fraud investigation, cybersecurity, and white collar crime.

I am pleased to appoint Tony Pittz to the management team of the Idaho Lottery,” said Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery Director.

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Security and integrity are at the heart of the Idaho Lottery’s daily operation.  Tony has been a successful peace officer throughout his career and his wealth of experience and expertise will help us to maintain excellence in the public confidence of our games.

Pitzz accepted the position following the retirement of Amber French, who had been with the Idaho Lottery for twenty-two years.

 “Working as the Director of Lottery Security allows me to utilize my years of experience to manage my own law enforcement team,” said Pittz, an Idaho native. 

We can offer the best designed Scratch games and have the biggest jackpots, but maintaining public accountability and integrity of our games is paramount to our success.

Pittz joins a highly experienced Idaho Lottery executive team that includes:

  • Director Anderson (12 years with the Lottery),
  • Chief Operating Officer - Becky Schroeder (27 years with the Lottery),
  • Deputy Director of Marketing – Sherie Moody-St. Clair (24 years with the Lottery), and
  • Deputy Director of Sales – Larry Polowski (3 years with the Lottery).

 

ABOUT THE IDAHO LOTTERY

The Idaho Lottery responsibly provides a variety of entertaining games featuring Powerball, Mega Millions, Scratch GamesTM, and PullTabs with a high degree of integrity to maximize the dividend for Idaho public schools and the permanent building fund.

Since their inception in 1989, the Idaho Lottery has sold nearly $3.7 billion in products, awarded over $2.2 billion in prizes to players, returned $216 million in retail commissions, and distributed $846 million in Lottery dividends to Idaho public schools and the Permanent Building Fund.

To learn more, please visit: www.idaholottery.com.

CONTACT: David Workman, Idaho Lottery Public Information Specialist, T: (208) 334-2600.

SOURCE: The Idaho Lottery.

 

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Wisconsin Lottery Launches First New Lotto Game Since 2014

New All or Nothing Game Debuted Sunday

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MADISON, Wis. (April 5, 2019) -- The Wisconsin Lottery makes history Sunday, April 7 when its new All or Nothing Lotto game launches. The state’s fi rst Lotto game since 2014, ‘All or Nothing’ is a unique $2 daily game where players can win the $100,000 top prize by matching all 11 numbers or none of the 11 numbers.

We are very excited about our launch of the new All or Nothing daily game,” said Wisconsin Lottery Director Cindy Polzin. “There is always great anticipation for a new game and since this particular play style is something that we have not had before, it adds to the buzz around this launch.

Just as the game is titled, players can win the $100,000 top prize by matching all 11 numbers or none of the 11 numbers. In total, there are eight ways to win a prize. Matching 10 numbers or one number wins $500, matching nine or two numbers wins $40, and matching eight or three numbers wins $4. No prizes are won for matching four, five, six, or seven numbers.

HOW TO PLAY ALL OR NOTHING:

  1. Choose eleven diff erent numbers from 1 to 22.
  2. Place wagers by asking for a QUICK PICK or by using the All or Nothing playslip. Playslips are available at Wisconsin Lottery retailers.
  3. Choose how many draws to play. Each ticket costs $2 per play per draw. All or Nothing can be played up to 7 draws in advance.
  4. Check playslip carefully before handing it to the retailer. ALL OR NOTHING TICKETS CANNOT BE CANCELLED.
  5. Give completed playslip and cash to the retailer.
  6. Receive, sign, and safeguard ticket. A ticket is needed to claim a prize. Playslips are not valid to claim a prize.

 

All or Nothing

 

Drawings occur daily after 9 p.m. Tickets must be purchased before 9 p.m. to be included in that day’s drawing. Additional information about All or Nothing, including a “how to play” video, can be found at wilottery.com/allornothing.

ABOUT THE WISCONSIN LOTTERY

The Wisconsin Lottery enriches communities statewide by giving back 93 percent of its revenue to winners, retailers, and Wisconsin homeowners. Of each dollar spent on the Wisconsin Lottery, 57 cents goes back to prizes, 30 cents to property tax credits, seven cents to operations and six cents to retailers. Since 1988, the Wisconsin Lottery generated:

  • More than $14.5 billion in total revenue
  • Over $8.2 billion in prizes paid
  • More than $4.3 billion in funding for property tax credits to eligible Wisconsin homeowners

 

For more about the Wisconsin Lottery, visit wilottery.com. The Wisconsin Lottery is on social media via Facebook and YouTube (/wilottery) and Twitter and Instagram (@wilottery).

SOURCE: Wisconsin Lottery (wilottery.com).

 

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Bidding for 7,000 New Lottery Agencies Can Be a Disaster for Businessmen in the Sector: Febralot

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BRAZIL (April 5, 2019) – The Brazilian Federation of the Loteric Companies (FEBRALOT) sent a letter to the Federal Savings Bank at the end of March and at the beginning of April, President of the Republic, Mr. Jair Messias Bolsonaro, condemning the possible 7,000 new bids of lottery units provided by the permit.

In the document in question, the Federation emphasizes that, as provided for in item V, of article 3, Law No. 12,869 / 2013 and also in item 13.1 of Circular CAIXA 745/2017, a technical feasibility study is required to shops are open and this has not been done or has not been shown either to the Federation or the general population that they should have known.

An example of what can happen can be illustrated with the following case. An account of a Lottery entrepreneur from Paraná says that in a town next to his (New Alliance of Ivaí) the owner of a Lottery Unit closed the month with a maximum collection of R $ 300.00 in games and as in the municipalities with few inhabitants to lottery house is sometimes the only bank, the businessman cannot keep up his operation with so little collection.

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It is worth mentioning that gross collection in places such as these ranges from R $ 2000.00 to R $ 3000.00 per month. Conclusion, the unit closed the doors for not being able to supply its expenses and, few businessmen will risk trying to reopen this unit, which will take of the population one of the few, perhaps the unique, bank position for its payments of accounts.

The situation is critical and could be even worse if more than 7,000 lottery houses are opened nationwide without proper feasibility study. This study should, as required by Febralot, be included in the descriptive body of the bids so that future candidates have a real knowledge of the viability of the investment (high) that they think to practice. This is not done and is a way to inform the inexperienced entrepreneurs who want to work in the sector, that the risk is much greater than it seems and depending on the locality the activity is already failed before it even starts.

Today Lotérica Network is composed of about 13,000 units that efficiently meet 100% of the population's needs. There are more than 100 million people served and there is no need to increase the number of units, especially considering that most of the current entrepreneurs are already indebted.

Febralot requires that the current stores be seen as priorities by Caixa's manager and not as a second option. This pulverization of the activity will only increase in a predatory way the competition, definitively condemning those entrepreneurs who miraculously still support themselves. In addition, the manager presents a surplus of billions, year after year in the presented balance sheets and with the biddings would achieve a record turnover, however several businessmen who are already in the activity are going through problems that for years do not remove them from the bankrupt situation that are. It is necessary that the population and the related organs are aware and support this cause.

What the Brazilian Federation of Lottery Companies asks for is pure and simple compliance with the Law, which in itself already eliminates the possibility of further this disaster for the Category.

 

FEBRALOT Board of Directors

 

SOURCE: Brazilian Federation of the Loteric Companies (FEBRALOT).

 

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Arizona Lottery Wins AZIMA TIM Award for Holiday Livestream

Honor Recognizes Successful Digital Marketing Campaigns and Innovation

PHOENIX, Arizona (April 10, 2019) – The Arizona Innovation Marketing Association (AZIMA) celebrated the most successful digital marketing campaigns and innovation in Arizona last week at the 2019 TIM Awards and the Arizona Lottery was recognized for its unique use of livestreaming.

AZIMA awarded the Windfall Willie Virtual Holiday Party livestream with a TIM Mastery Award in the social real-time engagement category. The Mastery Award is the highest recognition an entry can receive.

We are proud to receive this award for our digital innovation and creativity,” said Executive Director of the Arizona Lottery, Gregg Edgar.

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This was a fun and challenging campaign to execute. Not only did we highlight our Holiday Scratchers® tickets, we also raised awareness and money for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). We love thinking outside-the-box to do even more to give back to our communities.

The Windfall Willie Virtual Holiday Party livestream was an almost three-hour production that mimicked a late-night talk show featuring guests from across the state, plus giveaways for viewers every few minutes. The livestream included a one-of-a-kind set design, a high-tech broadcasting platform, two state-of-the-art cameras, and a dedicated crew.

The nearly three-hour live video organically reached over 42,000 people, received over 68,000 engagements, and over 15,000 unique viewers – and the Arizona Lottery donated $25,000 to its beneficiary Court Appointed Special Advocates, a program that gives a voice to kids in foster care.

OH Partners is the Agency of Record for the Arizona Lottery and concepted, directed and executed the recognized work. To learn more about the Arizona Lottery, visit: www.arizonalottery.com.

Scratchers® is a registered service mark of the California Lottery.

About Arizona Lottery

Since 1981, the Arizona Lottery and its retail partners have generated more than $4.1 billion in net funding in support of programs that help to improve the quality of life for the people of Arizona. Proceeds from Lottery ticket sales — more than $4 million per week – fund programs in education, economic development, environmental conservation and health and human services. The mission is to support Arizona programs for the public benefit by maximizing net revenue in a responsible manner. Learn more at ArizonaLottery.com

SOURCE: Arizona Lottery.

 

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Veikkaus to Hold an Innovation Challenge Week to Find Startups and Begin Collaboration – Focus on eSports

HELSINKI, Finland (April 10, 2019) -- At Veikkaus headquarters, May will mean focusing intensively on esports. Veikkaus and Avanto Ventures are jointly organizing an Innovation Challenge Week, during which 8–10 startup companies will explore what new esports solutions they could generate in cooperation with Veikkaus.

The Challenge Week will be held at Veikkaus’ head offices in Pohjois-Haaga, Helsinki from May 20-24. The Week is essentially a competition aimed at identifying opportunities for collaboration and shared growth opportunities between Veikkaus and startups. The winner will receive a follow-up contract valued at 30,000 euros for further development of the winning idea.

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We want to find the best ideas in the world, as well as the best partners with whom to bring those ideas to life. We believe that such a partner could well be found in the esports and startup world. At the same time, we can offer startups an opportunity to bring their ideas to market, states VP of Business Development and Innovation at Veikkaus, Heidi Ioannidou.

Startups can apply to the Challenge Week here. Both Finnish and international startups are welcome to apply.

The aim of the Challenge Week is not to create actual games, but rather services or solutions related to esports.

This could mean, for example, an esports product, service, or platform. The goal is to produce innovative solutions for esports players, teams, or fans, Ioannidou specifies.

The Veikkaus Innovation Challenge Week will feature engaging speakers, and Veikkaus mentors will be available to assist startups in their design processes. The Week will culminate in a pitching event during which startups will be given two minutes in which to present their ideas.

Esports to kick off series of innovation weeks

The Innovation Challenge Week in May will be the first in a serious of similar weeks which will focus on a variety of subjects. The esports challenge will kick off this new approach.

Esports is immensely popular at the moment. It is the fifth most popular game in pre-match betting and the fourth most popular in live betting at Veikkaus, Ioannidou explains the choice of focus.

As early as 2014, Veikkaus was one of the first gaming companies to offer esports betting. Now the company is looking to esports to learn new kinds of lessons.

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We believe that the world of esports can generate ideas that Veikkaus can benefit from in its own business. We want to learn from the world of players in order to be able to provide the best possible gaming experiences, Ioannidou says.

Veikkaus is the largest gaming sector employer in Finland, and wants to be a pioneer in the gaming sector. It holds the exclusive right to organize gambling operations in Finland, but competition in the digital world is international.

Veikkaus needs to develop its operations, innovate new activities, and research and develop new opportunities. 

We want to be successful in an ever-changing world. Our goal is to be an international pioneer in the gaming sector, and for this reason we need to do something differently from everyone else. We will venture into developing ideas that no-one else has yet developed, Ioannidou envisions.

Veikkaus Innovation Challenge Week

  • Startups can apply to the Innovation Challenge Week until April 23, 2019 here. •           Selected startups will be chosen by May 3, 2019.
  • Veikkaus Innovation Challenge Week will be held at Veikkaus’ head offices in Helsinki from May 20–24, 2019.
  • The winner of the Innovation Week will receive 30,000 euros for further development of the winning idea.
  • Veikkaus specialists will work together with startups during the Challenge Week.

 

Veikkaus and esports

  • Esports betting has been part of Veikkaus' portfolio since 2014.
  • Veikkaus was among the first five companies worldwide to offer legal esports betting.
  • In 2015, Veikkaus organized its own #oletvoittaja StarCraft II tournament, which was won by Joona "Serral" Sotala.
  • The first esports broadcast on VeikkausTV took place on September 5, 2015, after which esports has continued to feature regularly on the service.
  • Veikkaus' esports betting selection consists of fourteen games, the most popular of which is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
  • In 2018, Veikkaus offered over 13,000 esports matches as betting options. Esports was the fifth most popular game in pre-match betting and the fourth most popular in live betting.

 

For further information, please CONTACT: Veikkaus' media service, tel. +358 9 4370 7000, tiedotus@veikkaus.fi

About Veikkaus

Veikkaus is a Finnish gaming company with a special mission. We want people to play our games safely and with moderation. Almost all adult Finns play our games; we have over two million loyal customers. Thanks to the players, over one billion euros a year are accumulated for the common good. The gaming revenue is used to offer people chances for better lives.

SOURCE: Veikkaus press release.

 

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EGBA Calls For Online Gambling Tax Review in Portugal to Improve Functioning of the Market

Article by: Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA)

BRUSSELS, Belgium (April 8, 2019) -- The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has urged the Portuguese gambling authorities to review the country’s tax rules for online gambling to improve the functioning of its online market. This comes as Portuguese media report that 75% of Portugal’s online gamblers are playing outside of Portugal’s regulated online gambling market – depriving the state of valuable tax revenue from gambling and leaving Portugal’s online gamblers unprotected by Portugal’s local consumer protection safeguards for online gambling.

EGBA urges the authorities to apply equal taxes across all online gambling products – and based on gross gaming revenue (GGR).

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This will ensure the regulated Portuguese market becomes more attractive to players – because a sensible taxation level will lead to better priced betting odds – and pull into the regulated market more of the 75% of Portuguese players who are now playing on websites not regulated in Portugal.

“The current online gambling law in Portugal rightly allows multiple online gambling operators to obtain a license and provide their services to Portuguese citizens who wish to place a bet online. In the online environment this is the best way to ensure that Portuguese players can play on licensed and regulated gambling websites – and that is why 25 EU member states have now adopted this model.

However, the current Portuguese tax regime for online gambling is discriminatory because it applies a more favourable tax for some operators, whilst others have to pay a much higher tax based on a broader tax base. As a result, applying for a Portuguese license is much less attractive for online gambling companies based elsewhere in the EU: for instance, only one EGBA member has a license in Portugal, while many more are very interested to obtain a license there if the tax regime becomes non-discriminatory and better suited to the online gambling environment. 

If the tax rules do not change then Portuguese consumers will continue to find more competitive gambling products with websites which are not regulated and licensed in Portugal — which do not pay tax in Portugal and might expose Portuguese players to inadequate consumer protection safeguards.

That is why, we encourage the Portuguese authorities to tax all online gambling operators equally and on the basis of the so-called gross gaming revenue, as is done in almost every other EU country. This would encourage more companies to get a license for the Portuguese market and increase the share of existing Portuguese players who are playing within the regulated online gambling environment in Portugal.”

By: Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA)

SOURCE: EGBA.

 

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Kentucky Lottery Has Best Sales Month In History

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LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (April 9, 2019) -- In March 2019, the Kentucky Lottery posted its highest sales month in history – and broke another record that had stood for nearly three decades.

March sales were $116.1 million. This beat the previous record of $115.5 million set in October 2018 during a Mega Millions run that for the first time in the game’s history saw a jackpot in excess of $1 billion.

Leading the way for this massive month was a marked increase in Scratch-off ticket sales. This category saw $70 million in sales, a full $9.7 million (16.1%) more than in March 2018.

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This also beat a record that had stood for nearly 30 years – previously the best Scratch-off ticket sales month in Kentucky Lottery history had been the first month of sales in April 1989, which finished at $68.1 million.

Much of this is attributable to the launch of our first $30 Scratch off ticket,” said Kentucky Lottery President and CEO Tom Delacenserie.

As we celebrated our 30th anniversary, we wanted to do something big to mark the occasion. Launching this new price point was a big hit with players with a first-time ever top prize of $3 million, and they really responded.

March was also highlighted by a Powerball jackpot run that reached as high as $768.4 million. This led to sales of $12.3 million for the game, an increase of $5.3 million (73%) from the same month in 2018.

Increased sales also meant increased prizes. March 2019 finished the month with prize expenses of $76.1 million, also a new record.

For More Information: Chip Polston, Jennifer Cunningham, Sara Westerman, T: (502) 560-1675.

The Kentucky Lottery has earned over $5.3 billion for the Commonwealth since 1989. KLC dividends pay for college scholarships, grants and education programs.

Visit kheaa.com to find out more about grants and scholarships paid for by the KLC.

SOURCE: Kentucky Lottery Corporation.

 

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UK to Introduce World First Online Safety Laws

The Government today unveiled tough new measures to ensure the UK is the safest place in the world to be online.

  • Independent regulator will be appointed to enforce stringent new standards
  • Social media firms must abide by mandatory “duty of care” to protect users and could face heavy fines if they fail to deliver
  • Measures are the first of their kind in the world in the fight to make the internet a safer place

 

UNITED KINGDOM (April 8, 2019) -- In the first online safety laws of their kind, social media companies and tech firms will be legally required to protect their users and face tough penalties if they do not comply.

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As part of the Online Harms White Paper, a joint proposal from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Home Office, a new independent regulator will be introduced to ensure companies meet their responsibilities.

This will include a mandatory ‘duty of care’, which will require companies to take reasonable steps to keep their users safe and tackle illegal and harmful activity on their services.

The regulator will have effective enforcement tools, and we are consulting on powers to issue substantial fines, block access to sites and potentially to impose liability on individual members of senior management.

A range of harms will be tackled as part of the Online Harms White Paper, including inciting violence and violent content, encouraging suicide, disinformation, cyber bullying and children accessing inappropriate material.

There will be stringent requirements for companies to take even tougher action to ensure they tackle terrorist and child sexual exploitation and abuse content.

The new proposed laws will apply to any company that allows users to share or discover user generated content or interact with each other online. This means a wide range of companies of all sizes are in scope, including social media platforms, file hosting sites, public discussion forums, messaging services, and search engines.

A regulator will be appointed to enforce the new framework. The Government is now consulting on whether the regulator should be a new or existing body. The regulator will be funded by industry in the medium term, and the Government is exploring options such as an industry levy to put it on a sustainable footing.

A 12 week consultation on the proposals has also been launched today. Once this concludes we will then set out the action we will take in developing our final proposals for legislation.

Tough new measures set out in the White Paper include:

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  • A new statutory ‘duty of care’ to make companies take more responsibility for the safety of their users and tackle harm caused by content or activity on their services.
  • Further stringent requirements on tech companies to ensure child abuse and terrorist content is not disseminated online.
  • Giving a regulator the power to force social media platforms and others to publish annual transparency reports on the amount of harmful content on their platforms and what they are doing to address this.
  • Making companies respond to users’ complaints, and act to address them quickly.
  • Codes of practice, issued by the regulator, which could include measures such as requirements to minimise the spread of misleading and harmful disinformation with dedicated fact checkers, particularly during election periods.
  • A new “Safety by Design” framework to help companies incorporate online safety features in new apps and platforms from the start.
  • A media literacy strategy to equip people with the knowledge to recognise and deal with a range of deceptive and malicious behaviours online, including catfishing, grooming and extremism.

 

The UK remains committed to a free, open and secure Internet. The regulator will have a legal duty to pay due regard to innovation, and to protect users’ rights online, being particularly mindful to not infringe privacy and freedom of expression.

Recognising that the Internet can be a tremendous force for good, and that technology will be an integral part of any solution, the new plans have been designed to promote a culture of continuous improvement among companies. The new regime will ensure that online firms are incentivised to develop and share new technological solutions, like Google’s “Family Link” and Apple’s Screen Time app, rather than just complying with minimum requirements. Government has balanced the clear need for tough regulation with its ambition for the UK to be the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, and the new regulatory framework will provide strong protection for our citizens while driving innovation by not placing an impossible burden on smaller companies.

SOURCE: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

 



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