Starting a Lottery Business

Starting a Lottery Business: Online vs Mobile vs Retail

4 Leaf Lotto
by 4 Leaf Lotto / Feb 16, 2022

Starting a lottery business can be a rewarding and profitable venture. The industry is growing around the world at record pace and technology solutions are making it easier than ever to launch and grow a successful lottery business.

Among the many questions to ask when starting a lottery business is what channels you will pursue. In your market, will you acquire more players by hosting a lottery on a website, or with a mobile app? Does limited internet access present more opportunity through printed tickets in a retail environment? Are there other options?

In this article, you will learn about different channels for starting a lottery business, so you can plan a successful launch and choose lottery management software that positions your startup for growth.


The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Profitable Lottery Business


What is an Online Lottery?

The term “online lottery business” is a broad category that includes lottery games hosted on websites or played via mobile apps, USSD (text-based messaging similar to SMS), and other technologies enabled by the internet. Another way to define an online lottery business is any lotto platform that players can access via:

  • Smartphone
  • Standard cellphone
  • Laptop
  • Desktop
  • Tablet
  • Other mobile devices

A lottery platform designed with omnichannel capabilities will allow operators to reach players on all of these devices. However, a sound lottery business plan should identify channels that represent the most opportunity for growth in your market. The best lottery platform providers have experience starting lotteries in different countries around the world and can be a great resource.


What is a mobile lottery?

A mobile lottery is a type of online lottery that uses mobile devices, as opposed to desktop computers. The most common example of a mobile lottery solution is a smartphone app, which players individually download to their devices. However, there is a bit of overlap in this area, as certain types of kiosks can be considered “mobile.” The terminology may vary from region to region, so you’ll always want to conduct thorough research when planning a “mobile lottery” in a new market.


What is iLottery?

The term “iLottery” has become synonymous with “online lottery” in the U.S. That is, lottery games or drawings made available through a website or app.

A growing number of state lotteries are offering iLottery options to reach players outside of traditional retail channels and target younger audiences. With iLottery, customers create an account and can play from within state boundaries anywhere there’s an internet connection, using a smartphone, computer, or tablet.

Similar to printed ticket lotteries, iLotteries allow players to select a drawing, pick a set of numbers, choose how many tickets to purchase, and how many times to play each ticket.

Instant iLottery games, as the name suggests, provide instant access to play, rather than scheduled drawings—a feature that is blurring the line between online lotteries and online casinos.

Customers are drawn to iLottery for its access to multiple instant iLottery games and drawings through one website or app. With a variety of options—combined with bonuses, special promotions, and a single customer wallet—iLotteries are designed to build customer loyalty and keep players coming back.


What is USSD for Mobile Lottery?

USSD is a menu-based lottery where players use their keypads to place bets. This online lottery system is mostly popular in regions where smartphones are not commonly used. The technology is a bit outdated, but since it relies on cellphone towers for signal, it’s good in an area without much Wi-Fi infrastructure.


Third-Party Vendors

With an online lottery, you can partner with other lottery businesses to integrate your games into their services. A third-party vendor with a popular gaming site can market your games to a wider player base, and offer special deals and promotions.


What is Retail Lottery?

Retail lottery is any brick-and-mortar setting where printed lottery tickets are sold, and also includes portable ticket machines for street sales. Other examples of retail lottery could be terminals in a store, special lottery kiosks, point-of-sale (POS) transactions at a register, and anything that isn’t online-only.

Although the equipment in a retail business may be connected to an online lottery database, it’s technically not an online lottery because the players still have to purchase tickets at a physical location.


What is a Kiosk Lottery Machine?

If popular in your market, a lottery kiosk can become an important part of your lottery business plan. These are self-service machines that allow players to purchase tickets or place bets using an interactive display. Of course, you should always research your market before investing in new hardware or technology. You’ll want to confirm playing habits and preferences, and see what strategies competitors are using.

You can either buy your own lottery kiosk machine or lease one through a vendor. When you own a lottery kiosk, you’ll be responsible for the equipment and technology required to operate it.


Street Vendors

Traditionally meant for printed ticket sales only, this is another area where online lotteries and retail lotteries are beginning to merge. Instead of printing a physical ticket with a handheld terminal, some portable lottery equipment can be outfitted to accept digital sales. Check with your platform provider to see if this is a viable lottery solution in your region.


Setting Your Retail or Online Lottery Business Up for Success

Choosing between an online lottery and a retail lottery (or both) means asking the right questions and developing a sound business plan. You don’t want to develop a mobile lottery app for a country without smartphones, and you don’t want to provide retail-only lottery services in a market that prefers to play online. A lottery platform provider can help you decide on the right channels to pursue and the best lottery management software to run it.  

Above all, a lottery business plan should serve as a roadmap to the four stages of lottery growth. Launching without a growth plan is how many lotteries fail. The best way to set your new lottery up for success from the start? Don’t just get a lottery software demo. Get a  lottery growth plan customized for your market, your budget, and your business goals. 


The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Profitable Lottery Business



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