Bringing ‘sexy’ back

Bit8 CEO and co-founder Angelo Dalli talks to iNTERGAMINGi about the company's audacious new lottery product, Lotto Hero

As lucrative as it is, the lottery sector continues to spend a good deal of time persuading potential players that it merits a place in i-gaming’s roll of honour, alongside betting and casino.

There are a handful of success stories that can easily be called to mind but, by and large, lottery has an image problem. Certainly, engaging younger adult players remains a challenge. Bit8, with its big-money Lotto Hero product, is seeking to do just that. The company’s CEO and co-founder Angelo Dalli explains.

INTERGAMINGI: Lotto Hero launched at ICE in February – what has the reception to the product been like, do you have operators interested?

AD: “When we unveiled Lotto Hero at ICE it was a great feeling to finally show off this groundbreaking and completely new i-gaming concept to the industry. The reaction has been very positive.

We’ve had a number of enquiries from operators looking to learn more about how it has the potential to shake up the lottery vertical and assist them in reaching new players. Lotteries are a very simple concept played for many years by a wide spectrum of society in countries all over the world.

Yet the present iterations, which are still retail-based by and large, are passing the younger generation by as they don’t fit in with their lifestyle or habits. Lotto Hero, with its spin-and-win mentality, addresses that directly and reaches out to the untapped audience. In fact, we predict that Lotto Hero will prove to be a tremendous user acquisition and retention tool, while operators will be able to promote and cross-sell other products.

Also, the chance to appeal to any type of player wherever they are in the world and at any time of the day will be a real boon for operators. Ultimately, Lotto Hero is a great way for them to differentiate their offering in this ultra-competitive industry.”

Where did the idea come from?

“Lottery has surely got to be the most neglected vertical in the industry. It’s just been left languishing in the shadows cast by more ‘sexy’ products like sports betting and casino. Indeed, many people still associate lotteries with traipsing down to the shop to buy a paper ticket and then waiting for the draw on a Saturday night.

Moreover, though, lottery has suffered from a lack of innovation for a number of years, which it desperately needs in order to stay relevant among existing and would-be players. We’ve made the user interface far more interesting with bright colours and fun graphics, as so many sites out there are very dull.

But the chance to win a guaranteed €1m an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is the most compelling proposition – and a genuine game changer for the industry.”

The game ‘targets millennials’ – how, exactly?

“Recently, lottery has struggled to interest the younger generation. If it doesn’t address that I think it has a pretty bleak future. An absolute priority for us at the outset was to build a mobile-friendly game in order to appeal to them.

Lotto Hero can be played on any device, but mobile is where you will find millennials these days, rather than buying lottery tickets in a shop. Or it would be if they had a viable option. To appeal to this generation, you need to have an engaging lottery product optimised for mobile and tablet that also fits into the way they like to be entertained or interact with a gaming product.

It’s also good fun and a relaxing piece of escapism. Much is made of skill games and strategy, and complex, thought-provoking gambling, which requires mental dexterity. That’s all fine, but I think sometimes people just need to switch off and dream about how their lives could be transformed.

Lotto Hero lets them do that. They don’t need a masters’ degree in the history of corner kicks, or to have memorised the last 10,000 hands of blackjack.”

A €1m prize, hourly, is quite a statement. Is it your intention to be ‘disruptive’?

“It certainly is a headline-grabbing number, but in an industry as fiercely competitive as online gaming you have to be bold and make a statement to turn heads. The chance to win Elm by purchasing a €2 ticket does just that.

Even if an operator’s customer has hitherto only bet on sportsbook or played in casino, this player is going to be tempted by the chance to scoop a prize on this scale every hour. So this game has widespread appeal across both genders and all ages. As such, I think it will be very disruptive.”

Are you minded to yourselves operate a B2C version at all, or will it all be via operators (Colossus Bets has B2B and B2C versions, for example)?

“That’s an interesting question. For the time being we are concentrating on going down the B2B route and trying to sign up as many operators across various territories as possible. So B2B is the focus where we see Lotto Hero having the biggest impact.

It is important to highlight that Lotto Hero is completely risk-free for operators as Bit8 cover any payouts. We are also able to handle all the necessary licensing requirements for our partners. Bit8 is also offering an attractive commission structure, which means the return to operators is significantly higher than with casino games such as slots.

Finally, we anticipate API implementation to take no longer than 10 days, while no operator that signs up in this initial launch stage will have to shell out for development costs.”

The Charity Hero angle is a nice idea; what prompted you to do that?

“That’s right, Lotto Hero has a charity element to it which means Bit8 will pledge one per cent of its profits to a Charity Hero fund. This fund will then donate the money to good causes. As well as this, players also have the option to donate part of their winnings to Charity Hero, which I’m sure many will choose to do.

Indeed, those players who have traditionally played lotteries are accustomed to a slice of the pot going to good causes. Giving to and helping good causes is important to Bit8. It’s part of our ethos here. So when we had the idea of giving away one per cent of profits during the developing stage of this product, we all agreed it was the right thing to do.

The next 12 months will be an exciting and transformative period for lottery, not to mention Lotto Hero and Bit8. You could say lottery has long been the bridesmaid but never the bride.

We want to change this with Lotto Hero, which is a real milestone for Bit8 and a groundbreaking product that is set to disrupt the industry.

Lotto Hero provides operators with the opportunity to transform the lives of their players from ordinary to extraordinary.”

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