The U.S. lottery industry’s first hackathon will launch on July 31 and run through August 9. Called GameJam, it is an ETHDenver partnership with the Colorado Lottery and IGT. The goal is to “reimagine” game offerings to appeal to a broad and diverse group of Coloradans.

Participants will create and submit collaborative computer programming projects in exchange for monetary prizes. “We have 150 developers signed up so far, way beyond our goal of 100!” reported Colorado Lottery Director Tom Seaver.

The partnership came about through the Colorado Lottery’s partner. “ETHDenver has strong ties to Chainlink,” said Seaver. “When they got wind of it, they approached us to join the effort. We are delighted to have them in the mix.”

He believes “it’s incumbent upon lotteries to use all the tools available to generate new game ideas. Hackathons are relatively new, and particularly new to the industry. But we look at this as a really strong vehicle for tapping into the creative resource in the game development space.”

Seaver’s goal is for the GameJam to result in two to three “testable, development-worthy ideas that we can move toward consumer testing, and yes, implementation as a new Colorado Lottery game. If only one comes through the gauntlet of development and testing, it will be a huge success and massive return on investment.”

He stresses that lotteries need to invent some new draw games for the 21st century. “If you look at the way the instant game category has blown past the jackpot side, much of the credit goes to being willing to explore new game ideas: new price points, certainly, but also licensed games, linked games, families of games. By far the most innovation has come on the instant side. Jackpot/draw games need to step up and look for new game ideas too,” stressed Seaver.

“I really don’t look at this is a ‘one time experiment.’ We need to consistently be looking outside our known universe to find great ideas to bring to our players. I really hope that the GameJam becomes a staple in our game development strategy, and that other lotteries will look to bring new ideas as well. We need to always be creating to stay in step with our players and the broader consumer world,” said Seaver.
This is the first time a state lottery has partnered with the Web3 community to collaborate with the public sector on a prototype for a new game of chance. Participants from anywhere in the world are invited to the GameJam to create a new game designed to be played in restaurants and bars throughout Colorado alongside classic games like Keno.

Colorado has evolved into a hub of technology and innovation. The lottery’s build-a-thon is yet another example. “Public/private partnerships are vital to the state’s ability to deliver new and innovative technology to the public,” said Seaver. This is another way the State of Colorado can leverage these critical relationships to better serve the public.

“This is the first time a collaboration of this nature between the public sector, private sector and our global Web3 community has partnered for a gaming innovation,” said John Paller, Executive Steward and Founder of ETHDenver. “Using a global community for creating and vetting ideas and letting anyone participate in creating what may ultimately be a new Colorado Lottery product, is a great step forward for Colorado’s technology community. The State of Colorado was the first government to sponsor a hackathon track nationally at the ETHDenver BUIDLathon in February 2020, and we’re excited to continue building the public infrastructure of Colorado’s technology community with the Colorado Lottery and IGT.”

In terms of prizes, $17,500 in code payouts will be delivered to the top three teams of the Colorado Lottery GameJam, who will be judged based on presentation, creativity and technology innovation. The payout allocation will be as follows: 1st Place – $10,000; 2nd Place – $5,000, and 3rd Place – $2,500.

The Colorado Lottery GameJam will kick-off with a virtual opening ceremony on Friday, July 31 at 6 p.m. MDT, where Colorado Lottery, ETHDenver and IGT will discuss the inspiration for the GameJam, what they’re looking for in submissions, and to highlight their excitement with getting the community increasingly involved in developing future technology in Colorado.