Current pandemic to force “digital transformation” in US gambling, says panel

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Current pandemic to force “digital transformation” in US gambling, says panel

By Iqbal Johal

The coronavirus outbreak could lead to a digital transformation for lotteries in the US, according to a panel.

Discussing US lotteries during the coronavirus at SBC’s Digital Summit, the Oregon State Lottery CEO Barry Pack believes the best way for lotteries to recover will be online.

Sports betting has been available in Oregon since 2019, via the lottery app ‘Scoreboard’, currently available via the Chinook Winds tribal casino and statewide on mobile.

Despite this, the state has been slow to move to digital, but Pack think the current climate will change this.

The Oregon State Lottery CEO said: «I think the recovery from this pandemic is going to force a digital transformation in our industry, a whole lot quicker than we might normally have seen it come.

«In terms of our roadmap, we started with a mobile sportsbook and our plan is to move to other forms of digital play. We initially ran into some issues with legislators here but when they convene in a special session and are facing a $1bn shortfall, their opinions about mobile gaming will change and there will probably be less resistance.

«There will still be people opposed to gambling on a digital platform but I think we’ve learned reliance on a brick and mortar sales channel is probably not the best model moving forward, at least for the next couple of years. I think we will see a quicker adoption of digital platforms and finding ways to work creatively with our brick and mortar retail partners.»

Maryland Lottery and Gaming director Gordon Medenica agreed with Pack, reinforcing the need for his state to move online, which is not currently permitted after a law passed three years ago banning online lottery sales.

Medenica added: «I think this could be a sea change for the lottery industry.

«First of all, people understand selling on the internet is no more dangerous than selling anywhere. If anything, we’re probably more capable of enforcing responsible gaming guidelines in a digital environment than we are in the anonymous bricks and mortar environment.

«It’s definitely a trend; we are hopeful others will make our case with us on why we need to be online.»

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