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There used to be a time when typing the word “lottery” into the App Store on iTunes returned strictly gaming apps, like “Slots Elvis Zombies in Vegas” or “Scratchers Free Instant Scratch-Off Lucky Lottery Tickets,” ones that are lottery related, but more than anything are games at their heart of hearts – systematic stuff that may feature gambling terms in the title, but the only monies that they receive are for in-app purchases that don’t return real lottery tickets to buyers.
Well, that day has changed.
As reported recently by The Chicago Tribune, Illinois is now the first state ever to have a lottery gaming app that actually lets those who are geo-targeted as being within the state lines purchase tickets – capping them off with a $3,500 monthly limit to try and mitigate the push back from anti-gambling associations who don’t like the ease of play the new app provides gambling addicts who don’t need to leave their homes to get in the games.
Now that the Illinois app has been downloaded more than 128,000 times and has sold nearly $1 million in ticket sales, expect more states to follow suit, effectively knocking more and more gaming apps like “Jackpot Slots – Slot Machines” down to their rightful places in the iTunes store in order to make room for official lottery state apps, like those from California or Ohio, even if those state apps don’t yet allow users to actually purchase tickets via the apps.
Will gambling gaming app makers follow the real lottery app lead?
Northstar Lottery Group is the firm that the state hired in 2010 to manage their lottery, and GTECH is the Providence, Rhode Island-based creator of the Illinois app. Being the first actual lottery app-maker in the nation no-doubt provides a curious window into the success of such a venture as compared to the top free related entertainment apps that iTunes displays on the app’s page.
Having had version 1.0 go live July 26, 2013, the app has had nearly one year to prove its mettle and increase sales, as Northstar is under pressure to do. With features that let players inside the applicable state purchase Powerball, Mega Millions and Lotto tickets directly from their mobile devices, this first-ever mobile commerce lottery app could act as the motivator for other gaming app designers and developers to shift their focus away from simulated lottery gaming apps to the real thing, if their bids are selected by those states who’ve been given the green light to sell lottery tickets through apps.
Although the Illinois example seems to have gotten off to a slow start – after all, Northstar didn’t push the app with a generous advertising campaign – time may prove it will become the kind of cash cow that monetarily-related services sometimes grow onward to become, be they lottery tickets, online loans or those financial services that provide the promise of quick cash or millionaire fantasies, if only for the time that they’re purchased.