A New Kind of 'Good Causes' Lottery

31 May 2002

Rather than supporting the Red Cross or installing water pumps in the Sahara, a recently launched good causes lottery takes on a very unique mission: financing a "defense fund" for the Internet gambling industry.

The Liberty Lottery. located at www.thelibertylottery.com, has been created to help fund the online gambling industry's lobbying efforts. Graeme Levin, the proprietor of Gambling.com and a founder of the new site, said 10 percent of the site's drop will be allocated for this purpose.

Levin said he and Zabadoo CEO Adriaan Brink had been talking about the project for along time.

"This is a way for the Industry and players to help finance the protection of online gambling and perhaps its survival," Levin explained. "Online casinos and sports books can direct traffic to the lottery as affiliates and receive 25 percent of the net drop. The players will be directly financing the lobbying efforts by their bets. The normal odds for the players will be unaffected."

Levin said the funds will be allocated to organizations and individuals "who fight for the protection of individual and civil rights, including freedom of speech, who are advocates of constitutional rights, who publicize the online gambling industry's case especially as a legitimate alternative to land-based gambling operations, who provide answers to the claims made by the prohibitionists and who persuade opinion leaders and law makers that online gambling is an acceptable form of consensual leisure activity carried out by law-abiding citizens who should not be turned into criminals for doing what is permitted in most states in land-based gambling facilities."

The results and lobbying contributions will be published on the Web site; if required, a list of participating casinos will be publicized as well.

The Liberty Lottery is fully licensed by the government of Liechtenstein, a hereditary constitutional monarchy squeezed between Austria (in the East) and Switzerland (in the West).

For a long time, PlusLotto, the first Internet lottery in Europe (since Oct. 3, 1995), was the only Internet lottery operating out of Liechtenstein. More Internet lotteries have found their domicile in the small country in the past year, thanks to Zabadoo, the operator of PlusLotto.

Zabadoo handles operations for the Liberty Lottery project. Andres Varela, a spokesman for Zabadoo, explained, "As with our other clients, for example www.wildlifewins.com, we handle payment processing, government license, game insurance (Lloyds of London), hosting, bandwidth, 24/7 customer care, game design, auditing (Ernst & Young) and payouts. The system is based on PlusLotto. Since last year, Zabadoo has been 'branding' the site, offering organizations the ability to develop their own games and sites based on PlusLotto's systems.

Varela also mentioned that the site itself was created in a matter of days. "This," he said, " is largely because the brander simply provided us with a template and they were implemented across the site by Zabadoo's development team, who obviously are more familiar with the system than anyone. This is a similar situation to www.kingsolomonslottery.com developed to compliment King Solomon's Casino.

"Previously, development has taken up to five weeks, where we give branders a copy of the Plus Lotto site, and the sophistication of their changes and their development resources dictate the speed at which the site is launched. Our comprehensive documentation and the availability of our team to help a brander get over any teething problems are important to Zabadoo because once having found a partner, it's in our interests to getthem live as soon as possible. This is also why we give the brander a copy of PlusLotto, rather than have them develop the site from scratch.

"The development environment requires a brander to have basic HTML and graphic skills. They then place our proprietory codes into the HTML, and send it to our servers. The codes act as markers ('put the current balance here', 'show the scratch card jackpot here') and our systems interpret this, adding the sophistication required to turn the simple pages into a fully functioning gaming site.

"The sites can run in multiple languages and currencies. For example, www.globelot.com works in English, French, German and Spanish offering games priced in Euro. The Liberty Lotto reaches the widest audience with the least maintenance effort, written in English and priced in U.S. dollars."

The only responsibility of the brander (which, as Varela pointed out, is not a trivial task) is bringing the audience. "Branders do this in various ways," he said. "Obviously (the do it) through regular ad campaigns, but many use their existing sites' traffic and convert. Gambling.com, with its enormous audience and as trusted brand name, delivers significant traffic to the site. The site's affiliate program is also attracting interest from other gaming sites, both as a way of helping protect the industry and also to generate revenue."

Additional information on the Liberty Lottery:

  • They operate a weekly 6/49 lottery; the current guaranteed jackpot is US$20 million.
  • One can also play scratch cards and interactive games, with payouts up to 95 percent, and instant prizes up to US$1 million.
  • Like the national or state lotteries, you pay for each lottery ticket, but this means your chances of winning are far better than free lotteries. Tickets cost US$1.
  • All prizes are tax free.

Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism. He worked for over seven years as the head of sports for Dutch National Radio and has developed new concepts for the TV and the gambling industry. Now he operates from Istanbul as an independent gambling research analyst. He specializes in European gambling matters and in privatizations of gambling operators. Rob has contributed to IGN since Jul 09, 2001.