If you have plans of testing Lady Luck and winning the lottery in your lifetime, say no more to the corner store because you might be banking cash straight from your computer.
LottoGopher, an online messenger service that allows consumers to order and manage state lottery tickets online, is looking to disrupt the $70 billion US lottery market with a practical service that provides a digital solution to a pivotal point—eliminating what could sometimes be a painful process purchasing lottery tickets.
James Morel, president and CEO of LottoGopher, told AListDaily that it was to time to alleviate the consumer journey with a zero-effort, streamlined method.
“We wanted to make the experience fun and without hassle. It’s the modern way of doing things,” Morel said. “We’re filling out the lottery space where people don’t want to deal with the difficulty. We’re a nimble tech firm, so we’re also filling a space that the state lotteries are maybe too slow to operate and take on.”
Similar to the systems set-up in Europe, LottoGopher eradicates the paperwork and presents a digital dashboard set-up that carries your purchases, winnings, winning numbers and potential strategies. It’s designed to distinguish ever misplacing paper tickets, remove travel and introduce new areas such as public pools, automated private groups crafted to appeal to office pools and gifting via email.
LottoGopher is currently only available for California residents for jackpot games like Powerball, Mega Millions, SuperLotto Plus for a $12-per month, or $99-per year membership. The public company has plans of expanding to over 20 states over the next year.
To help them scale, they signed William Shatner as their company spokesperson to potentially provide the Midas touch.
“LottoGopher is a brand new and brilliant idea using the inventions of today,” Shatner told AListDaily. “It’s a very popular activity to buy a lottery ticket with hopes of instantaneous riches—everyone is prone to gambling. Everyone knows it’s a gamble, but they’re willing to gamble on the esoteric fact that they might win millions.”
Shatner says he was specifically intrigued by the brand because he deemed it as a social-first company of the future. It also aligned with his personal business plan—Shatner’s one-year deal includes company assets that extend in perpetuity.
“LottoGopher is something that should take the country by storm. It’s revolutionary,” Shatner said. “I don’t know whether there is ever a right time—as if it were a slot and you’re coming out of it like a greyhound. When the opportunity is there, you either grasp it or you don’t. I’d rather explore what is happening.”
Shatner says LottoGopher is in the same position to bloom as Priceline, a brand he famously helped skyrocket as a spokesperson at the turn of the millennium, because he believes it really works.
“You can be idly thinking ‘let’s take a gamble with these numbers that I’ve got in my mind right now.’ It’s instantaneous,” Shatner said. “It’s an idea that should be popular the same way Uber and Netflix became popular overnight. These are disruptive industries taking what was there before, and changing it.”
Morel is making Shatner a pivotal part of his brand’s marketing strategy, which includes a TV commercial, paid media on digital and social channels, a small-scale influencer campaign as well as radio commercials running in small-to-mid markets in California.
Demographics for lottery buyers range across a wide variety and mostly mirrors the demographic of the state, so Morel had to find someone who appealed and spoke to Gen X/Z, millennials and baby boomers all the way to octogenarians. Shatner will also be serving as a chaperone guiding the entire LottoGopher digital experience and describing its services online with his legendary voice.
“Mr. Shatner was literally first on our wish list for a spokesperson,” Morel says. “He brings certain credibility to us on the public market side because he’s known as a good stock picker. He has such an interesting career and he’s so many things to people of all ages and backgrounds. He’s very funny, all-around talented and a smart guy with crossover appeal who speaks well to the product in a way where people can understand it. I’m not saying Shatner drove Priceline’s stock prices, but you do associate him with the brand as the Priceline Negotiator. He’s very legendary in marketing and public stock stories.”
The Los Angeles-based brand is also backed by board of director Kevin Harrington, formerly a Shark Tank judge and inventor of the infomercial, who joined the start-up because of its “massive potential.”
“Kevin has seen, built and sold many businesses. He can say, ‘hey, this is a great company and let me tell you why.’ People buy into that,” Morel said. “We work hand-in-hand on many of our marketing initiatives. When you’re communicating a message, you need to have different voices. He’s the mechanic of our benefits.”
Before migrating to other states, LottoGopher first needs to hit the winning numbers with consumers in California, which has four drawing dates a week across 22,000 retailers where lottery products are sold. Morel says there are specific state laws that need to be analyzed in order to structure the service properly and scale accordingly. As a third-party operator, there is no licensing required from the state, and the state does not endorse LottoGopher either.
“I guess you can ask that to many branches of government—‘why don’t you just put it online?’” he says. “The way that their systems are set up right now is what they’re comfortable with. There hasn’t been a migration over to digital. We’re trying to bridge the gap. People want a digital experience. For some reason, state lotteries really have not made that move.”
Digitizing the lottery system has been discussed at large since the late ‘90s, and just Illinois, Michigan and Georgia have done it to date. There is a market to tap into—57 percent of the adult population purchased lottery tickets last year, Morel says.
In the meantime, his team’s goal is to meet cost-per-acquisition goals and lifetime-value goals. Once they have those two divisions gelling, then they’ll expand.
“You can’t play guessing games in multiple jurisdictions until you’re solid in the first one. In any new venture, your marketing mix is not optimized—you have to iterate and tailor channels. We’re going to take our marketing with a silo approach and factor demographics and psychographics. The marketing message should appeal, saying, ‘we provide this.’” said Morel. “We’ll also be looking at creative and what the messaging is when ads are served to particular groups of people so the journey resonates with them. Is it the fantasy of buying a mansion? Or the desire to quit your job? Or do you love to play family birthdays? There are different motivations for everyone.”