Interest in sports betting from national lottery operators has remained consistent in recent years, with such companies across Europe and further afield maintaining sportsbook offerings and in turn requiring extensive support from the sector.
EveryMatrix has been at the forefront of this convergence between lotteries and sports betting, particularly in Europe, where it has provided its solutions to several World Lottery Association (WLA) members, including Szerencsejáték, OPAP, Malta Lotteries, Veikkaus and Norsk Tipping.
Working with lotteries is a ‘special skill’, remarked Frank Cecchini, EveryMatrix’s Head of Lottery Sales, and one which only a handful of B2B firms have been able to effectively master.
In the case of EveryMatrix, Cecchini, along with Ivan Rozic – Head of Sales of its OddsMatrix sportsbook division – explained that the business has been able to leverage its knowledge of the conventional sports betting space to help lottery operators move into it.
“What has helped us along the way is that we have experience working with sportsbooks, and we know how to communicate with them and can show them what we can deliver,” Rozic said.
Modern lotteries are no stranger to sports betting, the duo observed, and most know exactly what they want from a supplier in this regard, desiring a full sportsbook system.
Rozic added that many of the companies EveryMatrix has encountered seek out ‘the full nine yards’, covering odds provision, a player account management (PAM) system, payments pathways, and more.
“Lotteries tend to work together as they don’t compete with each other; they help each other as much as necessary. They are a kind of niche within a niche often governed by different, sometimes stricter, rules and value their spotless reputations which brings challenges potential suppliers need to be aware of.”
“We attend lottery trade shows and sports betting seminars where we meet lotteries face to face, and that gives them confidence. Lotteries are intrinsically conservative and cautious and are obviously under a lot of pressure not to create any waves in the press.”
As with many business relationships, the key to lottery/sportsbook partnerships as a supplier is trust, both Cecchini and Rozic concluded, something which ultimately disseminates from the B2B player right to the customer-facing product.
To maintain successful arrangements, EveryMatrix places a heavy emphasis on being direct and ensuring trust, the firm’s two senior managers explained, as Cecchini empathised: “It’s a question of trust”.
“Everything you do is about making the customer trust you – showing up on time and building up confidence,” he said. “You need to be there to support them when things go wrong and improve when things go right. That applies generically.”
Success can sometimes also be found in failure, as Rozic noted that EveryMatrix has taken ‘valuable lessons’ from lost contract bids, asserting that trial and error leads to further product improvement. This means that OddsMatrix today can only be seriously matched by only a select few companies specialising in sportsbook development.
Although making distinctions between individual markets and the wants and needs of different lottery operators, OddsMatrix’s Head of Sales reiterated that punctuality and respect present universal advantages.
“A crucial point that people tend to forget is there is always no B2B and B2C, only P2P (person-to-person),” he said.
“If you are respectful to deadlines, answer the questions clearly and are transparent throughout the process, then they will respect and select you.
“Every single detail counts. If the deadline is by the end of the day, you need to send it by then without fail. These small things contribute a great deal to a buyer’s perspective and who they choose.”
As well as valuing sportsbook experience and respect to deadlines, responsible gaming is high on the agenda for many lottery operators.
Whilst this is of course true for operators across the full range of the betting and gaming sector, for lotteries it is perhaps of greatest significance due to the intrinsic links to government many hold as well as the role good causes funding plays in their operations.
Cecchini continued: “If you’re paid on GGR it’s very tempting to say push your revenues by pushing and maximising that GGR – this can go counter to responsible gaming.
“There are some lotteries that have an aversion to being paid by GGR, like in Switzerland, as the supplier could push the lottery into, shall we say, ‘less responsible practices’. And so, they’re encouraged not to operate that way.
“We have very good responsible gaming tech, such as in our PAM, which can help as it proves to lotteries that you are on the same side as they are.”
Having proof of responsible gaming credentials is ‘100% important’ to successful sportsbook operations for a lottery, Cecchini continued, pointing to EveryMatrix’s own background in this space.
As it stands, EveryMatrix has accumulated certifications such as the ISO270001, and is currently in the process of achieving lottery-focused security accreditations from the WLA.
“We’re also going through supplier RG accreditation, which always makes things easier for working with lottery operators,” Cecchini concluded.
From an operational standpoint, ensuring that lotteries stand out from the competition whilst also meeting these RG requirements is a ‘relatively straightforward’ task, the EveryMatrix duo assessed.
Lotteries that also operate sportsbook and casino offerings have an advantage in this regard, Cecchini continued, noting that if a player sets a deposit limit for one vertical, it can be easily applied by the lottery across the others. In comparison, private groups may have more than one brand specialising in a different product.
Additionally, lotteries also have the advantage of trust when offering sportsbook products to their customers in the face of competition from private actors.
Cecchini added: “Lotteries can be very powerful. They are known by the public to be ethical, fair and with strict adherence to responsible gaming principles. This reputation is hard-earned and brings an advantage when lotteries go up against private operators with a like-for-like product.
“They’re trusted and are part of the state, any money people lose is going to a good cause. You also know that you are going to get paid. The brand says a lot about the operator.”
From Rozic’s standpoint, lottery operators are not showing any signs of letting up on their interest in sports betting, with both agreeing that demand has been constant over the years, with some operators having a sportsbook unit for decades.
This is not to say that there is no room for improvement, as Rozic shared his view that lotteries, capitalising on their position of trust and national status, could benefit from creating a national pride that is ‘much more evident in their communication and marketing efforts’.
“My opinion is they should try to deviate from the standard providers towards more innovative, sportsbook focused providers,” Rozic said.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how this pans out, but EveryMatrix is poised and in a very good position to be that new provider that can bring huge expertise, because we have developed many years’ worth of experience working with lotteries and providing them with a modern product that is ideal for online sports betting.”
However, the duo did also agree that, from the outset many European national lotteries have a sportsbook offering, therefore newcomer operators are few and far between – this could mean that any prospective sportsbook supplier looking to break into the lottery space will have its work cut out.
The original version of this interview was published by SBC News.
Since 2018 online sportsbook has swept the US with more than half the country’s states choosing to regulate, set...
Several lottery operators across Europe have embraced the commercial opportunities of betting and casino products as a means to...
Sasha Boerma boasts a wealth of experience in the iGaming industry, having led affiliate teams for several prominent companies....
The key for us as a true B2B iGaming software provider is to help gaming operators implement bold ideas and unleash unlimited creativity.