Keith O’Loughlin: The four pillars supporting state lottery success for Scientific Games

Scientific Games is now serving seven lotteries with sports betting solutions in Canada, Europe and Asia after a second half of 2019 littered with lottery contract wins.

After closing the summer by finalising a fresh deal with Milli Piyango (Turkey’s National Lottery), Scientific Games has celebrated an autumnal double by extending its player account management (PAM) and instant games partnership with Nederlandse Loterij (NLO) to include sports betting before securing a five-year renewal with Canada’s British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC).

Keith O’Loughlin is the SVP for Sportsbook and Platforms at SG Digital, the digital division of Scientific Games. He told us about the four key “pillars” of a successful sports betting offering for a lottery operator and how it is “absolutely crucial” that OpenSports – SG Digital’s sportsbook proposition – puts the NLO in a strong position to compete with other Dutch licensees from 2021.

SBC: Based on your experience of pitching services to state lotteries with Scientific Games, what are they looking for from their lead technology supplier?  

KOL: There are four significant areas that lotteries are keen to establish from their sports betting supplier – scalability, trust, differentiated and competitive features, and flexibility.

Having these pillars at the core of their offering gives them an overall product that can provide them with a solid base from which they can build to increase revenues for their good causes. 

Here at Scientific Games Digital (SG Digital), we ensure that each of these fundamental factors form a strong part of our sports betting solution for lotteries. We have a proud heritage of delivering services to lotteries across the globe for a number of years now, with new and existing partners entrusting us to deliver a proven, scalable product plus responsible gaming tools to meet their needs.

With the strong reputation that OpenSports™ has within the sports betting sector, we are the partner of choice for those lotteries looking to expand their offering. 

We now serve 7 lotteries with sports betting solutions in Canada, Europe and Asia. Most recently, we extended our relationship with Nederlandse Loterij (NLO) to deliver a full digital sports betting solution, further demonstrating our position as a leading supplier. 

SBC: What would you say is the one key component tipping so many of these tender processes in your favour? 

KOL: The OpenSports portfolio from SG Digital incorporates those previously mentioned pillars, and along with our cross-channel relationship with the lottery division of Scientific Games, it means that our service simply cannot be matched. 

We are the pioneers in bringing innovative features such as cash-out to market, and are committed to continuous modernisation. The proven OpenBet sports betting engine is now complemented with an array of additional solutions, including OpenTrade, OpenEngage, OpenPlatform, and OpenAccelerate.

When you take into account everything that we offer, there’s no denying that we provide the most safe and trustworthy service. The world’s biggest sportsbook operators have utilised the OpenSports platform for a number of years now, while in the emerging U.S. market established casinos are looking to us to make their first steps into the sports betting environment. 

It’s why the likes of British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), Danske Spil, NLO and Turkey’s state sports betting program IDDAA have entrusted us to offer a match-winning service for consumers. 

SBC: Is it more exciting for Scientific Games to integrate sports betting solutions alongside the traditional lottery services?  

KOL: We certainly see huge synergy in this area, which ultimately benefits our lottery partners. Our lottery and sports betting businesses have strong reputations within their respective fields, and a collaborative approach means we can offer an unrivalled service for customers. 

Above all else, lotteries can offer the definitive omni-channel solution that no other supplier can provide. This approach ensures that players will receive the same quality and seamless experience across all channels, whether it’s in retail or online and across mobile devices.   

SBC: Do you have to adopt a more feature-focused approach to sports betting when the lottery doesn’t hold a monopoly over the market?

KOL: On the surface, that is the case given the increased competition they face from other operators. However, what you’ll find in most “monopoly markets”, such as Turkey or the Canadian provinces, are grey market operators, so competition still exists.

There’s also the possibility that the legislation of these markets could change at any moment, so the smart operators know they can’t rest on their laurels. 

That’s why we’re constantly adding new features to our product that allow customers to introduce exciting new ways to bet on their favourite sports. For instance, we launched Match HQ earlier this year, a line of scoreboards that provides bettors with real-time data to help inform them of betting decisions.

SBC: You’ve just extended your deal with Nederlandse Loterij to roll out a full sports betting solution; in terms of establishing both market share and trust amongst players, how important is this period pre-regulation in the Netherlands? 

KOL: It’s absolutely crucial, especially when you consider the current state of play and how the market will change once it becomes regulated in 2021. The Dutch government has taken a tough stance, requiring those who have operated in the “grey” to sit out for a period of time. 

Now is the perfect time to launch our full sports betting solution with NLO and provide them with a competitive advantage that can be enjoyed by bettors in a responsible and safe way. Through the OpenSports proposition, the lottery will be able to leverage its recognised brand and ensure they are in a strong position when the market becomes fully regulated.  

SBC: How much of the OpenSports™ product suite will be on show in the Netherlands?  

KOL: NLO will now benefit from the full OpenSports solution, which includes a significantly enhanced mobile and desktop offering, as well as managed trading services for all non-Dutch sports. The lottery already deploys our OpenPlatform player account technology, as well as lottery instant games, so this move is the final piece of the puzzle. 

It’s an exciting move for us, building on our existing relationship with the lottery and providing yet more funds for good causes in the territory. We’re absolutely ready to partner with more lotteries that are looking to expand their sports betting offering.

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