The Lotto Matrix: Alabama’s Shifting Legislative Focus, Feel-Good Wins In Michigan And Kentucky, More

Christian Holmes

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lottery matrix

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

Change of plans

As reported mid-week, the Alabama Senate is removing sports betting and casinos from its proposed gambling legislation after several senators said they would not vote in favor of the bill otherwise. It is now a bill almost entirely focused on legalizing the lottery.

According to Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, the legislation’s sponsor, the amended bill creates a gaming commission with an enforcement division. The commission would limit, regulate, and tax gambling in the state.

“Those are the things that we’re trying to get started with, capturing that, controlling it, regulating it, getting the enforcement division set up, and doing our job as a state to control this industry,” Albritton said.

The new version of the legislation will move the date when voters would decide on a constitutional amendment. The date would be Sept. 10 during a special election, instead of as part of the general election in November.

If the legislation passes the Senate, it would have to be brought back to the House because of the changes made. Should the House not approve the many changes, the legislation would have to go to a conference committee to try to reach a compromise between the two versions.

Underdog invests in responsible gambling

Underdog, a paid fantasy sports company (that is also now expanding into traditional against-the-house sports betting), is investing in idPair by GuardDog, Underdog’s responsible gaming innovation fund. 

What idPair essentially does is track players’ betting habits and tallies them up. The company’s technology helps regulators in jurisdictions where it is used to create responsible gambling limits. 

The investment goes beyond money, as Underdog will give idPair access to top advisers, mentors, and investors and will be prioritized for integration into Underdog’s product offerings.

In a press release announcing the investment, Adam Warrington, vice president of responsible gaming at Underdog, said, “Most users play with more than one operator for their gaming activity. The opportunity we see with idPair is the ability to connect people and their play, and use those insights to inform enhanced responsible gaming initiatives. 

“Operators can only focus on their individual platforms. We believe that the ability to partner with regulators using idPair’s technology will create opportunities for partnerships that advance safer play.”

idPair’s technology has already been used in several jurisdictions to analyze data, set limits, fill in the gaps of what regulators do not know with gambling metrics, and help operators prevent problem gambling habits. idPair has also partnered with several major universities to facilitate the study of anonymized transactional data by experts in the field, hoping further research could lead to more positive results in the startup’s mission.

“We are thrilled about GuardDog’s investment and partnership with us,” said Jonathan Aiwazian, CEO of idPair. “By leveraging their vast network and data, we can accelerate our mission to drive collaborative information sharing among operators and regulators, ultimately fostering a safer and more sustainable environment for all. Together, we look forward to making significant leaps in consumer protection and industry innovation.”

NeoGames iLottery business powers up

As noted briefly in the latest Earnings+More newsletter, NeoGames’ holdings in the iLottery business, including its share of NeoPollard Interactive, saw revenue rise 11% during the quarter to $31.6 million, comparable to its iGaming revenue of $33.4 million.

The downside, which arguably may outweigh the iLottery successes, is NeoGames’ 2023 Q4 revenues dropped by 21% to $64.9 million due to an accounting change related to new commercial terms for its Aspire Core OSB contracts. (Adjusted EBITDA was flat at $18.2 million.)

This all comes in after NeoGames’ deal with the Georgia Lottery and with Aristocrat’s acquisition of NeoGames to close sometime in May.

¡Gran ganador!

Someone had the best of both worlds in Michigan. A $1 million winning Powerball ticket was sold at a Mexican restaurant in the state for the drawing held on Saturday, March 2. 

The ticket, matching all five white numbers drawn (3-18-27-36-53) to win the $1 million prize, was sold at the Andale Mexican Grill and Cantina in Commerce Township. According to a press release by lottery organizers, the lucky winner must claim the prize in person at the Michigan Lottery headquarters in Lansing.

Quality Mexican food and a $1 million Powerball win, all from the same place? It doesn’t get better than that. 

Has anyone seen my $50,000 ticket?

A Kentucky couple thought they’d be dealt a bad hand in the game of life, but it turns out there’s a happy ending. 

Mark Perdue and his wife found out last November that they had scored a $50k lottery win. The problem? They lost the ticket.

Perdue said the place where they bought the ticket congratulated them. He asked, “‘For what?’ And she said, ‘You won the lottery.’ I said, ‘I wish.’ She said, ‘You did, I have you on video.’”

The couple looked for the ticket for months but couldn’t find it. They checked every nook and cranny, but the ticket still eluded them. 

Then in February, Perdue went to check the condition of a company car and saw the ticket inside.

“I don’t know how long it might have sat out there if I hadn’t needed the car,” Perdue said. “I was shaking a little bit.”

The lucky son of a gun told his wife, and the next day, the couple went to get something they’d just about given up on acquiring: the prize money. 

They received a check for $36,000 after taxes, the lottery statement said. The couple said they plan to pay off bills and may take a trip.

Best of the rest

Beware: Police warn of new lottery scam.

Grandpa gets rich: Lucky man plans to buy new house, retire after winning $4 million lottery.

Gaining traction: Jake Paul’s Betr sportsbook startup raises funds at $375 Million valuation.

Madness of crowds: Richard Schuetz’s take on the state of the gaming industry.

In-house action: American Gaming Association CEO explains why local action shows the way to combat unregulated gambling.

Keeping ’em in check: The importance of responsible gaming to the industry — and to society.

Changes in Alberta: The budget plan in Alberta includes $1M to review gaming legislation.

Two happy winners: Powerball players win big in NC.

Up-and-coming: featured as one of the “Hot 6” startups to watch out for in the digital gaming space at the conference.

Vroom, vroom: Iowa Lottery offers “Experience NASCAR in Iowa” promotion. 

Survey says: The American Sports Fanship Survey conducted by Siena College Research Institute sheds light on public sentiment.

NPR gambling documentary: You bet on sports online and play the lottery — do you have a gambling addiction?

Check the prize box and see you next week!