Loto-Quebec aims online
By Paul
Buoyed by the national and international success of its patented CD-ROM lottery games, Loto-Québec is well placed to win contracts for Internet-based lottery games.

Nathalie Rajotte, head of the agency's multimedia research unit, Ingenio, said last week that work on the Internet projects has been under way for about six months and her team is awaiting its customers' OK to formally announce the deals.

'The sooner, the better,' said Rajotte, who wouldn't name the customers but said European lotteries are far ahead of their North American counterparts in offering games on their Web sites.

Last month, the head of Loto-Québec announced a shift in strategy: fewer gambling products or venues for Quebecers and more revenue from tourists visiting casino complexes along with revenue from the export of Loto products and consultancy.

Ingenio, which launched the world's first CD-ROM lottery - Trésors de la Tour, has revved up its engines, Rajotte said. Its portfolio of products now includes CD-ROM and other multimedia games designed expressly for export, she said.

Ingenio has already sold licenses for CD-ROM lotteries to lotteries in Europe and the US.

The company broke into the Canadian market in the past month with the bilingual Solitarie Riches, available only to residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. 'The initial response seems to be positive,' said a spokesman for Loto's partner the Western Canada Lottery Corp.

Loto-Québec considers the CD-ROM game a variation on scratch lottery tickets. The player buys a $4 ($2.59 US) ticket that provides an access code to be used in conjunction with the CD-ROM

The unnamed clients interested in Internet games would like to put the essence of the CD-ROMs on their Web sites. Rather download from a CD, gamblers would go to the Web site and download the game, Rajotte said.

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