Fifty Shades of Digital

Fifty Shades of Digital

Duncan Malyon – Senior Vice President North America, Camelot Global

There is no escaping the fact that we are living in a digital world, as consumers with busy lives we want convenience and the ability to buy what we want, when we want. But does this world need to be black and white? All or nothing? Online/offline? or can we as an industry embrace the fact that there really are fifty shades of digital?

We do not underestimate the challenge of going fully digital, legislators, retailers and lobby groups are all ready to express their objections and concerns, but is there a happy medium that everyone can agree on? For the sake of our industry, and the beneficiaries we support, we believe there has to be.

We believe that there are fifty shades of digital, and even with the constraints that some states and countries face there are still digital elements that they can embrace. Re-evaluating your advertising spend and putting more money behind digital channels is a quick win that all lotteries can easily make. Using social media is also a low hanging fruit that can be leveraged – this is also a great way for lotteries to broaden their reach and engage the younger, harder to reach player.

Executing a mobile led strategy which bridges the gap between online and in-store is also a quick win. Ticket scanning, mobile results checking, store locators, and ibeacon messaging…. these are all digitally hosted features you can offer players without any transaction happening in digital.

Once you have begun to develop your digital presence, you can continue to evolve and develop the offering, introducing enhanced content with digital second chance games. This not only gives players the opportunity to interact with your lottery and to play exciting games, it also gives you the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with your players. And, in time, you can use this digital presence to demonstrate that the digital lottery world is not something to fear – it is a necessary evolution which can be well managed to ensure your lottery is able to achieve sustainable growth in a responsible way.

There are a number of lotteries in North America who are dipping their toes into the digital world. In Vermont  the lottery has been looking into digital second chance games and extended online game options. In Iowa the lottery has an established a VIP Club which allows players to enter second-chance draws by entering non-winning tickets into their VIP Club accounts online, allowing them to build up and enhance relationships with their most loyal customers.

In Europe, Loterie Romande has recently launched a new Sports App which benefits both players and retailers in Switzerland, and represents a true ‘digital in retail’ experience for users.  SportTip One and SportTip Set App users are now able to check results and get more frequent and up to date programme information, but more importantly are able to create their wagers on the app before going into their local retailer to play, making the experience quicker and hassle free for all parties.

The Irish National Lottery has just released the latest evolution of their mobile app which now allows players to purchase a ticket on their mobile and play Instant Win Games. Prior to this the mobile app featured useful game information including draw results, jackpot reminder notifications, a ticket barcode scan facility to automatically check if they are a winner, number check functionality and nearest National Lottery outlet locator. The Irish National Lottery is a great example of demonstrating that it does not need to be all or nothing from the outset that there are various ‘shades’ in-between.

Many people probably believe that the UK National Lottery is at the dark end of the spectrum due to it early adoption of iLottery – in some ways you would be correct. However, the UK National Lottery is a great example of a lottery that is constantly evolving and developing its digital offering based on listening to what its players want and need. Last month they announced an enhanced offering on their mobile app which allows players in the UK to use their smartphones to check draw results to find out if they’re a lucky winner – all a player has to do is tap on the ‘Scan Ticket’ button and scan the QR code on the National Lottery ticket.  Alongside the Ticket Scanning feature, and to complement the retail customer focus of the feature, this release also includes the rollout of a ‘Lite’ version of the Android application – this allows the UK National Lottery to reach the majority of the UK Android user base from the ease of the Play Store for the first time, which is anticipated to result in a substantial increase in installed user base.

Like with many things in life it is all about embarking on a journey and communicating back how your journey is progressing. There will be bumps in the road and hurdles to overcome as you advance through the various ‘shades’ but overall the journey will position your lottery, your players and your beneficiaries in pole position to survive.

The key throughout any digital journey is communication. Be open and honest with  your legislature on the success that you have seen, explaining also the benefits of your strategy, and how you will develop it. Build their support, and engage them in your vision. Bring your retailers on the journey. Share with them the success stories from Vermont, Iowa, Switzerland, Ireland, and the UK, among others, who have succeeded in growing retail in conjunction with digital. Help your players to gain confidence in the concept of digital lotteries, reassure them that you can meet their needs safely, securely, and personally. Show them that it’s not all or nothing – there really are fifty shades of digital.