Ade Repcenko, CEO of Spinola Gaming discusses the new forms of technology available for the lottery sector and how it can help companies innovate their offering and create a future-proof business model in order to adapt to new market behaviour. He explores how technology can help lottery operators spend less yet increase their revenue, while driving more value towards good causes in the process.

Mobile first

Mobile penetration and stable internet access are at their peak, even across emerging markets, with almost 80 percent of the world’s adult population always having a smartphone within arms reach. This is not news for anyone, but while other industries have long adapted to this shift, the lottery sector has been somewhat stagnant in the digital and mobile transformation of their products. Operators across all markets, especially those in emerging markets such as Africa and LATAM where people are more likely to own a mobile than a computer or tablet, should be adopting a mobile-first approach as a necessity, not an option. People rely on their mobile for all kinds of purchases, now more than ever with the restrictions brought about by COVID-19. It therefore makes sense that players would want to access their favourite games, scratch cards and lottery draws on mobile.

Merging retail and online

Retail is not dead, but the belief that lottery player preferences will shift from retail to online is shared by many in the global lottery industry. The “Lotteries in Covid-19 Lockdown” webinar ran an interesting audience poll asking what changes the lottery industry predicts for post-Covid lottery player behaviour. Many European lottery executives and industry experts believe that some players would return to their normal retail/online preferences, while other players would choose to remain online, with retail lotteries becoming less relevant. As a new generation of lottery players emerges, lotteries need to adopt a hybrid approach which merges retail and online. Business models need to adapt in order to be able to give players what they want, whenever and wherever they want it.

Online ticket purchasing is set to play a very large part in the global lottery industry over the coming years. In fact, Massachusetts Lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney, told the Lottery Commission that the online lottery market is the next big thing, and no longer the distant “future” of lotteries, but the present reality which companies need to adapt to in order to continue to reach their players long-term. He stressed that without an online element to lottery ticket sales, retail land-based lotteries such as the Massachusetts Lottery face “a significant threat of becoming somewhat obsolete”.

Rethinking retail

The time for change is now. Using large clunky lottery terminals that occupy very valuable retail counter space is no longer required. There is a whole range of modern lottery solutions that can be used to sell retail tickets of multiple lotteries via a retail POS application software that can be installed into already existing retail POS systems, without the need for traditional retail lottery hardware.

Lotteries can also be used for customer loyalty schemes and other retention or profit boosting incentives. Imagine going to your local grocery store, getting to the checkout, and there is an offer giving you a free lottery ticket with purchases over $100. Many customers will try to reach the $100 purchase mark therefore boosting shop profits and increasing lottery sales and exposure. The retail owner will purchase these lottery tickets as the cost is very low compared to potential overall retail earnings or giving away store credits.

Utilizing online retailers

Lotteries use retailers in the physical space to sell lottery tickets, and this same model can and should be applied to online retailers in the digital space. There is a plethora of online marketplaces, media and news websites, and other popular websites that can embed lottery widgets and iframes into their pages. It requires no integration and allows players to purchase official lottery tickets without leaving the website, earning online retailers a commission in the process. Adopting this system would give lottery operators more exposure, free advertising for their games, and also open up their entire product offering to a readily available global audience.

The power of online influencers

Social Media influencers can be a very powerful asset to leverage. In the same way that some influencers promote clothing brands and hotels, they could also generate exclusive content and promote online lottery games to their global network of followers. Influencers have an immense amount of power over the purchasing decisions of their audiences, based on their authority in the area and relationship with their audience. The unique content they generate, in exchange for earning a commission, can be used to promote lottery games and draws in order to encourage new users to buy a ticket.

The importance of engagement

Let’s face it, lotteries are NOT engaging. The reason why people play is to win the huge jackpots on offer. They dream of buying a new car, boat, house or of having enough money to live the dream.

Younger player demographics want more than just the prize, they want to be engaged, they want to feel like they have earned the prize whether it be through a challenge or journey. Traditional lotteries therefore need to look at new forms of games that can keep younger players engaged for longer periods of time. One way of doing this could be through creating e-sports inspired games with pooled jackpots. These would be short engaging games of 30-60 minutes, aimed at targeting the commuter market looking to kill time whilst at home or on their daily work commute. These games would take players on a journey where they collect points along the way, with each point getting players closer and closer to the opportunity to win lottery style jackpot cash prizes.

More frequent draws

Most national lotteries have draws once or twice per week. Players buy a ticket and wait a few days for the draw to take place. It is understandable that high-value games with multi-million jackpots cannot normally happen every day, but through new forms of jackpot insurance models and prize pooling, operators have the opportunity to create high value jackpot games as frequently as they want, even every hour! Most people, especially younger demographics, need instant gratification when it comes to gambling, they are not patient enough to wait a week for a draw to take place to know if they have won or not. Creating more frequent draws keeps players more engaged and gives them a reason to increase the frequency of their ticket purchase.

Branded lottery games

Creating games in partnership with major brands, films and events is something which the slot industry has accomplished quite successfully. There is a huge opportunity for lotteries to follow suit and partner up with globally recognized brands to create branded lotteries. The games would instantly amass the brand’s established base of fans and followers, with the brand’s reputation reflecting on the actual game produced.

These could be used as CSR based lottery initiatives for the brands to support and endorse good causes, or as PR stunts giving lucky fans the chance to win life changing jackpots or unique prizes like tickets to a film premier or a test drive in a supercar’s latest model. Player ticket purchase can be achieved on a global level through placement on product merchandise and promotional materials, or by using widgets and iframes embedded directly on the brand’s website which links the players directly to the games.

Looking forward

Going digital and embracing the technology available to the lottery sector can open up the door to many new opportunities and kick-start a new era of borderless global lotteries. This would give lotteries access to new player bases and revenue streams on a global level, something that is not currently attainable through the traditional retail model.

Companies like Spinola Gaming provide powerful digital solutions that allow lottery operators to achieve all of what is suggested above, to digitize their products, and create innovative new products to appeal to today’s changing audience. Their software allows operators to monitor all lottery ticket sales and track all online and offline purchases in real-time, complete with a myriad of marketing functions and analytics available at the touch of a button. It allows for full 360 player and reseller network management through one seamless interface. The system is available across all markets, currencies and languages and is fully customisable to suit each operators’ particular needs.

Any land-based retail, national or state lotteries interested in learning more about Spinola Gaming’s lottery software solutions can book a demo by getting in touch on [email protected]