What Can We Expect from Georgia’s New Lottery Operator?

Back in October 2016, the Ministry of Finance put out a call to international lottery operators. Following the privatization of the Georgian National Lottery in 2009, two companies have since been in charge of the draws. First to step up and take control was the Georgian Lottery Company (GLC), before the postal service came and took over in 2011.

Despite almost six years of successful service, the government decided in 2016 that a new company should come in and try to replicate the success that other national lotteries have enjoyed in recent years. With this in mind, international operators were given the chance to submit proposals along with a $5 million bank guarantee by December 12, 2016.

New Operator Could Usher in Exciting Innovations

With the bidding process now complete and ministers poring over the proposals, it won't be long until we're given an indication of which company will take charge of our national lottery. As with any takeover, some changes are bound to happen. But what could that mean for players across the country?

One of the major areas of development in the lottery industry over the last five years has been the advent of online and mobile betting. Although players have been able to play via GLC's ebetting.ge portal in the past, it's likely that the new operator will bring in their own online services. In many respects, this could make lottery gaming a lot more efficient and, potentially, more varied. If we look to a country such as the UK which has one of the leading lotteries in Europe, online gaming has helped the game flourish in recent years.

Indeed, through a combination of innovation, investment and regulation, iGaming is extremely buoyant in the UK, and there are certainly some lessons to be learned for any operator that takes charge of the Georgian National Lottery. The first and most obvious is access. As well as offering tickets in stores and online, players of the UK Lotto can now play via their mobile devices. In addition to picking numbers for individual draws, mobile lottery players can set up regular payments, save their favourite combinations, and check their results via their mobiles.

More Ways to Pay Means More Ways to Play

Another interesting innovation UK iGaming has developed in recent years is a universal payment method. When people either can't or won't pay by standard methods such as a credit card, some online gaming operators offer a "pay by phone" method. For example, on the mobile slots site Mr. Spin, players can deposit by phone up to a maximum of £10. The benefit of this is that the deposit is charged directly to their mobile phone contract (or pay as you go credit), and they don't need to input any personal information.

Despite recent innovations in the world of Georgian finance - such as Bitcoin company Bitfury exploring new payment options within the country – paper money is still king. In fact, travellers coming from foreign countries are often advised that credit cards are still not a standard method of payment. With this being the case, some form of alternative payment method for prospective lottery players would likely make the game more popular with the general public.

Georgian Lottery Has a Chance to Become a Major Financial Asset

Finally, when the new lottery operator does take charge, we could likely see a host of new games built up around the main draw. Although any gaming options would first have to be cleared by the government, many international lotteries are part of a much larger stable of online betting options. Again, looking at the UK, players can go online and buy-in to the weekly draw and then play games such as slots and blackjack.

By grouping the lottery with other online betting options, operators have been able to increase participation and, therefore, increase jackpots. One of the main reasons the Ministry of Finance of Georgia is looking for a new lottery operator is to increase tax revenue. With this in mind, any company that comes in will likely be looking to learn a thing or two from countries such as the UK in a bid to make the Georgian lottery both modern and appealing to all players.

20 February 2017 18:20