Russia’s largest lottery distributor Stoloto pursues esports audience

EPICENTER CS:GO

Stoloto, the largest distributor of lotteries in Russia (part of S8 Capital holding), and the tournament organizer Epic Esports Events (part of ESforce Holding), have signed a partnership agreement.

Stoloto is going to support EPICENTER, the upcoming international tournament in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive set to take place on October 22–28.

Stoloto explains the decision by the need to rejuvenate its audience. Albert Usmanov, head of  digital marketing for C8 Capital, said: “In the next 2–3 years we are planning to “reboot” the perception of lotteries as entertainment for older generations and to show that they can be a source of drive and enjoyment for young people as well”.

Stoloto chose to partner with ESforce, the largest esports holding in the CIS and the leader of computer sports in Russia. The upcoming EPICENTER tournament is going to gather the world’s best esports squads who will compete for the prize pool of $300,000. Stoloto will give away more than 100 prizes on-site. Guests who will buy a lottery ticket at the stoloto.ru website will also receive a chance to win a trip to an international Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament in Europe.

ESforce representative Irina Dorokhina said: “Strategic partnership with ESforce Holding helps Stoloto present their products to a new audience and also globally changes the positioning of the brand. It is rare for an esports sponsorship. I am glad to see a company draw inspiration from its target audience and change itself in accordance to it”.

Stoloto will also be updating game mechanics of their projects and platforms. “The young audience does not deem the current structure and gameplay of lotteries modern,” clarifies Varvara Basanovich, head of operational marketing for Stoloto, “We consider changing the format to make lotteries more appealing to the youth. One of the aspects we are focused on is gamification of our lotteries”.

According to PayPal and SuperData, Russia’s esports market is the largest one in EMEA. Both companies expect it to reach $45 million in volume and continue growing in 2019. According to the research center NAFI, there are about 12 million active esports fans who watch tournaments regularly and follow their teams. Working with this audience is a progressive answer of Stoloto to the changing realities of the market. The company plans to invest in gaming further, develop their product offering for video games and esports enthusiasts. Sport24.ru, owned by Armen Sarkisyan’s S8 capital, will be covering esports starting from EPICENTER.

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Stoloto is the biggest distributor of state lotteries in Russia. The network exceeds 60,000 points of distribution in all regions of Russian Federation and features the country’s only lottery internet supermarket: www.stoloto.ru. All lotteries are organized by Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Sports.

S8 Capital is a multi-profile holding specializing in creating and developing high tech products and services. It has been operating for more than 25 years, successfully developing unique industry competencies and also developing, introducing and distributing innovative technologies in retail, finance, telecommunication, ecommerce and digital media. The company is in the process of diversifying its business portfolio and is preparing to launch an innovative IT platform. Founder and shareholder of S8 Capital is the Russian businessman Armen Sarkisyan.

Epic Esports Events specializes in organizing international competitions, and was the organizer for the EPICENTER Dota 2 and CS:GO tournaments held in Moscow and St. Petersburg in 2016–18. Over 24 million viewers around the world followed the first EPICENTER: Moscow tournament. At Europe’s leading EuBEA awards in 2016, that tournament got the prize for the best event in Europe in the Live Entertainment industry. EPICENTER XL in Dota 2 was held in 2018 and became the most watched Major tournament of Dota Pro Circuit 2017/2018. The tournament was hosted with support of Valve, the developer of the game.

ESforce Holding is one of the world’s largest esports organizations, and the leader in electronic sports in Russia. The holding company integrates all key areas of the esports business, from organizing international tournaments and professional content creation to publishing and advertising activities. ESforce owns over 220 popular online resources with a combined audience of 12 million followers and 114 million annual unique visitors, which provide a 90-percent reach to esports broadcast viewers in Russia and the CIS, as well as access to a significant share of relevant international audiences. In 2018, the holding became part of the largest technology company in Russia, Mail.Ru Group.