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Pollard ventures into Internet

Has web-based lottery play as well as new printing press

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John Pollard, co-CEO of Pollard Banknote, poses with instant-win lottery tickets in the Winnipeg printing plant.

CRYSTAL SCHICK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

John Pollard, co-CEO of Pollard Banknote, poses with instant-win lottery tickets in the Winnipeg printing plant. Photo Store

One of the world's largest lottery-ticket suppliers -- Winnipeg-based Pollard Banknote -- is beefing up its operations again with two new expansion initiatives, one of which involves its first foray into the world of Internet-based lottery-ticket sales.

The company announced Wednesday it has teamed up with an Israel-based mobile- and Internet-gaming provider -- NeoGames -- to launch a new joint venture that will create interactive websites for North American lottery corporations that want to sell their instant lottery tickets and other gaming products over the Internet.

The new venture, called NeoPollard Interactive, will also provide all of the support services needed to operate the new websites, including things such as call centres, data-collection centres and facilities that will collect the money from Internet ticket buyers.

"This is a big strategic move for us, moving into the paperless lottery world," said John Pollard, one of Pollard Banknote's two co-chief executive officers along with his brother, Doug.

'Obviously the U.S. market is a huge market for lotteries, so it's a fantastic opportunity for us'

— John Pollard

"We are very excited to join forces with NeoGames to help lotteries expand their game portfolios and add new distribution channels," Doug Pollard added.

The other initiative involves Pollard purchasing a $20-million, state-of-the-art printing press for its Michigan production plant and relocating most of the Michigan plant's existing presses to Winnipeg to expand its ticket-printing capacity here, as well.

The move is expected to boost the company's overall printing capacity by about 35 per cent, and allow it "to transition to a more efficient, lower-cost production platform overall," Doug Pollard added.

The two new initiatives are also expected to lead to the creation of some new jobs in Winnipeg and at some of the company's other locations, including the Michigan plant. But it's too soon to say how many, John Pollard said.

The Michigan presses won't be moved here until the new press is up and running in the Michigan plant in the second quarter of next year. Pollard Banknote has two production plants on Buffalo Place, and there's enough room in the second plant to accommodate the Michigan presses.

The Winnipeg and Michigan plants manufacture instant-win, or scratch lottery tickets for the North American and overseas markets, while another plant in Iowa produces pull-tab tickets and bingo paper for the charitable gaming industry. The company also has two finishing and packaging plants, one in Alberta and the other in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

John Pollard said Pollard Banknote and NeoGames decided to launch their new joint venture after recently teaming up to win a contract to create a lottery website and provide Internet lottery services for the Michigan Lottery.

He said other U.S. state lottery corporations are expected to follow Michigan's lead and also expand into the Internet lottery business.

"Obviously, the U.S. market is a huge market for lotteries, so it's a fantastic opportunity for us," he added.

Doug Pollard noted Pollard Banknote's sales grew by eight per cent in 2013, "and we continue to have high expectations for 2014 and beyond."

"Our sales are growing, we've won some new contracts, we need to expand -- it's all great news," John Pollard added.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 3, 2014 A14

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