Will lottery give away their biggest opportunity in the last 20 years? The lottery industry lost out on online gambling 1.0 by failing to find a way to get in the game during the rise of the iPoker era. As a result, the lion’s share of the market went to operators such as Bwin.party, 888, PKR and other sites. That wave has come and gone, and the next wave –social gambling– is now here.
Research suggests social gaming & social gambling could provide a replacement audience while also addressing the product relevance issues facing the maligned lottery industry. The question yet to be determined is if lotteries will participate in this fast-growing market, or if they’ll sit on the sidelines while social gaming companies and land-based casinos take control of the opportunity.
The social gambling explosionThe convergence of social gaming and online gambling has been one of the most explosive topics over the past year. Out of an estimated 800 million social gamers playing monthly, an estimated 173 million play gambling-themed social games (that’s 2.6% of the total population). In fact, popularity for light gambling experiences in social games has grown 96% in the past 12 months according to dystillr.com data. The social gambling population is already three times the size of the traditional online gambling industry after a few short years – and building.
The size of the market and growth rates have drawn the attention of social gaming companies, land-based casinos, and online gambling operators who are all clamoring for position as the market takes off. Yet lotteries, who might be better suited than any other segment to leverage the conversion of gaming and gambling, have yet to take a seat at the table.
The lottery industry today is facing its biggest threat in years. While past generations saw lottery as an exciting and affordable form of entertainment, it’s lost relevance and, as an industry, has not kept pace with the changes in consumer entertainment preferences, delivery, or technology.