Lotto NZ is considering expanding sales on its digital platform “MyLotto” to include online bingo, which is causing serious concern for some.
The government-owned gambling company took to the market for information on online bingo systems for potential implementation with its existing online channels.
Lotto NZ launched MyLotto in 2008 and the platform was relaunched in 2017 after being transformed into a responsive website and integrating sales through an app.
Since then, digital channel sales have reached around 20% of total sales, with 800,000 registered players, of which 250,000 are active monthly and 600,000 active annually.
“Overall, we believe there are still significant growth opportunities for the digital channel, as the current interactive player base represents a relatively small percentage of players who participate in our games throughout the year. on all channels, ”Lotto NZ said in a notice on the government’s bidding site.
“The risk profile of Bingo as an online format game is considered ‘medium risk’ which is consistent with our existing instant win games,” said Lotto NZ.
“It should be noted that the rating takes into account the responsible gaming features that are used to minimize damage, and therefore it is possible to reduce points, and the subsequent risk rating of products, through the introduction of controls additional. “
However, Problem Gambling Foundation spokesperson Andree Froude said the organization was very concerned about the possibility of playing bingo online.
“Online instant play games have only just been introduced and now Lotto is considering that,” Froude said.
“These are two high-risk forms of gambling because they are continuous, so people don’t have to wait long for a result. They are significantly more harmful than buying a lotto ticket where you have to. wait for the result. ”
“Although Lotto may consider these games to be ‘medium risk’, we do not.”
In an online environment, people can access the game 24/7 and it can be easily hidden, she said. Setting spending limits would not protect vulnerable people.
“Who will benefit from it?” Loto – which obviously does this to make money. They use aggressive marketing tactics and have huge marketing budgets so people are encouraged to try online bingo and win. “
Communities in the Pacific Islands were particularly vulnerable as gambling was associated with fundraising and was seen as a social activity, said the Foundation’s National Director for Pacific Services Pesio Ah-Honi.
“Bingo and the Housie are standardized forms of gambling in Pacific communities – it’s not seen as risky, just a social activity,” Ah-Honi said. “If it’s taken out of that social context and put into an online environment, it poses a high risk to the Pacific.
Young people in the Pacific are particularly at risk according to a recent study.
“The Ministry of Health has just released its strategy to prevent and minimize the harm of gambling and it places a strong emphasis on addressing health inequalities and inequalities related to gambling harms across a range of groups. risk, including the Pacific, ”Ah-Honi said.
Lotto NZ said in its review that minimizing the potential for damage from the company’s games “continues to underpin everything we do at Lotto NZ and is a key factor in any decision to grow our portfolio and increase sales. “.
“Our global responsible gaming program demonstrates international best practice, having been certified to level four (the highest possible level) by the World Lottery Association (WLA),” he said.
“We continue to look for ways to improve this program in all areas of the business.”
Lotto NZ said it assesses the risk profile of each of its games using the GamGard external game rating tool, which works by examining the structural and situational characteristics of the game and identifies the level of risk. of a game proposed for a vulnerable person.
Read more: Lotto NZ Launches Instant Ticket Checker Via Mobile App
“It provides advice on responsible gaming design and allows us to examine the responsible gaming implications of each feature of our games.”
Lotto NZ’s offline games were rated as low risk while its online games were rated as medium risk.
Lotto NZ said it is looking for well-researched overviews of solutions for online bingo platforms and technology, content and game model.
“The content must be trustworthy, reliable and legal,” he said. “Broadly speaking, we are trying to understand the bingo games and presentation options available to you in your solution.
“We’re interested in how your games work, what configurability you offer, the ability to offer side games, and chat functionality.”
Any deployed platform should pass a gambling risk assessment to understand its potential impact on vulnerable people.
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