After experiencing the thrill of the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park in 2009, Brad Cummings had a brainstorm. Cummings, a self-described fan of live sports and casino gambling, wondered if there was a way to bring the thrill of live sports to the somewhat static world of lotteries.
By definition, lotteries are games of pure chance, as opposed to games that involve skill, like poker, or passion, like sports gaming. Cummings, a former ad-man and journalist, came up with the idea to tie lottery games to live sporting events like Major League Baseball, NASCAR, and, of course, horse racing.
“Our games are in the draw category, like PowerBall and MegaMillions, with a printed ticket,” Cummings told Louisville Future. “You get three horses or three NASCAR drivers or ten baseball games that are all quick picks. You don’t choose your teams, your drivers or your horses; they’re randomly assigned to you. So it’s a game of pure chance.”
Players can download a free phone app to watch the live events and manage their plays. Payouts are pari-mutuel, meaning every player who had a winning ticket shares in the proceeds.
For EquiLottery to work, it had to appeal to players, the sports industry and lotteries, said Cummings, noting that the company has built revenue-sharing deals with teams and tracks.
Like most brainstorms, the storm comes first and then comes a lot of hard work. “The idea took 11 years to get to fruition,” said Cummings. “It took time to build relationships. These are state agencies and they need to know it’s an integrity-built product and, of course, it takes time to build trust, reputation and friendships. Business is about relationships at the end of the day.”
The wait was worth it, though. “I broke in cold into the lottery industry. I started out as that guy at the conference standing in the corner wondering who everybody is to five, six years later, we’re a company who’s on a first name basis with every lottery director in every state that has a lottery.”
“We’re the first lottery product based on a live horse race in US history, so that’s a pretty cool accomplishment!”