The Lotto Matrix: Alabama Gambling Bill In Limbo, Inspired Hitting Its Quota, More

Christian Holmes

lottery matrix

Welcome to this week’s “Lotto Matrix,” a weekly Friday compilation of the lottery industry’s most significant, interesting, or absurd happenings.

In ‘Bama, no one knows anything

Folks in the gambling industry have been waiting patiently to see what the heck is going to happen with Alabama’s gaming bills.

Most recently, notable amendments were made to the bill in the Senate. The most interesting of those was the omission of sports betting. The new piece of legislation is now mostly a lottery bill. The fun part is that since the Senate made some changes, the House has to approve those changes to get this to a special vote later this year. An uphill battle was already in store to get this bill across the finish line, and it does not help when no Alabama policymaker knows what will happen next. 

Speaking to the Alabama Reflector this week, several policymakers said they had no clue what was going on and that everything was in limbo. Others were keen on taking it slow and getting all the details.

Sen. Sam Givhan, R-Huntsville, who wants no part of it, said he had “no clue” what was going on anymore. “All I know is that there are not close to enough votes in the Senate to pass a ‘comprehensive gaming bill,’” he said.

That seems to be the case. Meanwhile, many in the House want to include sports betting and that is the hill on which they will die. 

Sen. Chris Elliott, R-Josephine, someone who voted in favor of the new bill with just the lottery, said there is no way he would vote “yes” to anything else. 

“I have always maintained that I wanted the people to have the right to vote for a lottery,” Elliott said, “and I have been consistent on that and that is essentially what we have here.

“A lot of folks talk about leaving money on the table as it pertains to gambling, or leaving money on the table as it pertains to sports betting, and my answer to that is ‘Yes, and I’m okay with that because that’s how you control the growth of government. You don’t continue to give it more money.'”

How the negotiations will go is anyone’s guess, but there is much talk that this will be yet another failed effort to legalize even a single new form of gambling.

An Inspired Delay

Inspired Entertainment, a company operating in lottery and other gaming sectors, believes that it will hit the goals it set out for Q4 of 2023. That said, the company doesn’t want to jump the gun, as its results will be delayed due to some changes to its accounting procedures. The idea is to get the information out by next month, hopefully around April 15.

Inspired had to delay its posting due to errors in restatements of previously issued financial statements.

The company has put a lot of effort into this review and hopes it will quell market fears after trying to make Nasdaq feel comfortable with why Inspired had to file late. Both sides were able to reach an agreement, and Inspired appears to have had the time it needed to get its proverbial ducks in a row.

Brazil is about to go BIG

BIG Brazil is knocking on the door. That’s right, the Caesars Sportsbook licensee has announced that it will look to enter the Brazilian lottery market. Its first step will be seeking accreditation with the Rio de Janeiro State Lottery (Loterj).

André Feldman, president of BIG Brazil International Games, visited Loterj President Hazenclever Lopes Cançado last Thursday. The initial reason Feldman was there was to discuss a sports betting venture, but there was also interest on his part in getting involved in the lottery, with the two sides talking about how BIG Brazil could get the ball rolling to offer a lottery in Rio.

It is unknown how far BIG Brazil will go in the process, but there is interest, especially if its sports betting venture takes off. 

“Expectations are high,” Feldman said. “We intend to enter the Caesars Sportsbook brand in Brazil, starting in Rio de Janeiro. We are already working on composing all the technical documentation to, in the next few days, officially enter into the Loterj accreditation.

“We are very happy with the decision of Caesars Group and BIG Brazil to invest in this betting market in the state of Rio de Janeiro.”

Say it ain’t so

Mid Hudson News reports that the New York Lottery plans to close the Fishkill Customer Service Center in Westage Business Center, effective next Friday, March 29.

The customer service center has been a place where winners could go to collect their prizes and get their picture taken for the paper without leaving the region.

The New York Lottery has not confirmed that the site is closing, but a sign on the door of the physical location indicates it is.

Best of the rest

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Big government: U.S. Representative Tonko to file bill requiring federal approval for states to offer wagering

Shifting focus: DraftKings CFO to oversee Jackpocket integration in new role

Check the prize box and see you next week!