By Dan Njegomir | Colorado Watchdog
DENVER — The Colorado Lottery is in the early stages of brainstorming a data-sharing system with lotteries in other states, according to lottery officials and documents.
The effort would pool detailed marketing information in a central repository for all the programs to tap into and compare notes.
Such a database, which officials say is still far from reality and may not come to pass, could enable lotteries to study one another’s most lucrative games and perhaps add them to their own portfolios, boosting revenue.
Colorado’s Legislature would have a say in any lottery expansion, however, and at least one lawmaker long opposed to the state lottery in principle said he’d never go for any move to expand its offerings.
An email last month from the North American Association of State & Provincial Lotteries invited state lottery programs including Colorado’s to sit in on a webinar laying out the potential of such an arrangement. The email noted, “…we are exploring the potential for developing a prototype of an information database (Lottery Analytics for Business or LAB) which would include data gathered from all of our member lotteries. It would be our hope that eventually selling access to this database outside of our membership could provide a revenue stream for our association.”
Prospective buyers of the information could include the industry that supports lotteries, such as the vendors that sell them their lotto tickets. The lotteries themselves, meanwhile, could use the information to examine the performance of various lottery games in different states and to analyze marketing data that shows lottery revenue broken down by zip code as well as which sales outlets — such as bars vs. convenience stores — generate the highest sales.
An official with the Colorado Lottery says the idea, though in its “very early stages,” has potential.
“It could be very helpful to marketing…and for the Lottery in general,” said Dale Stinson, the Colorado Lottery’s chief of investigations and security. “There would be true sharing with lotteries in other states.
“I don’t know if anyone is ever going to implement such a thing,” Stinson said, but added, “For us it probably would be a good area of exploration to share information.”
If it ever were to lead to beefing up and broadening the lottery’s offerings, it could encounter legislative opposition from lawmakers like state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, a Berthoud Republican, who said he never liked the state “getting into the gambling game to raise revenue.”
“It amounts to a regressive tax on the poor,” Lundberg said.
He said he accepts the lottery as reality and pointed out he even mounted an unsuccessful bid to reallocate some current lottery revenue from trails, open space and parks acquisition to the State Education Fund. However, he said he never would support expanding the lottery.
He also said that while he supports efforts by Colorado state agencies to learn from best practices by government programs in other states, a centralized database raises concerns, including whether it has the potential to disclose and compromise personal data.