Where do you see the greatest growth opportunities for online lottery organizations in 2017 and beyond?
MB: The retail landscape is changing rapidly, and the adoption of online and mobile platforms for shopping, services and entertainment is affecting our business. We are well set up to address some of these changes and have built a powerful, world-class digital transactional platform in PlayNow.com, along with best-in-class games. We know that our one-stop-shop for lottery, casino and sports betting is meeting customer expectations for convenience and entertainment with over 300 games we offer today. We are also looking for opportunities to partner with other lottery organizations to deliver exciting and innovative online content, and scale our operations.
SC and CVDB: Growth has been steady but opportunities are there for online lottery organizations that succeed in delivering products that appeal to younger customers. Online lottery organizations are well-positioned to attack these opportunities head on, perhaps with exclusive online products and experiences. Opportunities for additional customer engagement and incremental sales also exist in the realm of second chance lottery games and flexible lottery subscriptions.
WM: In Canada, one of the greatest growth opportunities is sports. With a nation of passionate sports fans, there is considerable interest in sports betting. The sports business attracts a different, more diverse customer than we’ve engaged before, so that’s certainly a positive. We’re also seeing a lot of interest in products such as e-instants (digital scratch cards). People are looking for immediate breaks—a quick bit of entertainment. The other key area is omni-channel. Customers want a retail product and they also want to access it online. So, we’re no longer just launching new products in single business lines, we’re seeking to engage customers across channels.
GP: One of the greatest areas of growth for online lottery organizations is to use mobile as the key access point to deliver content that connects retail to the online world, offer new content with new experiences and use gamification concepts from the world of social media to interest and engage a younger audience. For example, offering instant win games to customers that give players new entertainment experiences but follow traditional instant ticket math. Or making lottery draws and games available through mobile devices that have the most advanced responsible gaming supports and controls but add gamification concepts to make the experience more social and enjoyable.
What developments are impacting the industry as a whole and what needs to take place for these opportunities to be optimized?
MB: Technology continues to push the boundaries for the gambling industry whose operations remain primarily rooted in the traditional brick-and-mortar model. We are working hard to enable improved connectivity and integrations between our gaming systems, data and customer value propositions to meet evolving customer expectations. We are embracing new ways to leverage technology to enable amazing new experiences and customer insights.
SC and CVDB: Customer expectations for lottery purchases do not currently align with regulatory requirements for registration. Customers expect a simple, quick purchase experience. An online purchase is simple but only after the player creates an account. Online lottery organizations need to be able to move to a shopping cart-style purchase experience, or alternatively examine reduction of registration requirements for lottery products in order to attract new players. Experiential game mechanics bring a great deal of opportunity to evolve lottery product. The casino world has begun to evolve to focus on creating a richer customer experience. Lottery can evolve to provide a more robust experience for those customers who crave it. Online provides an ideal way to consistently deliver these sorts of extended experiences.
WM: The National Research Council of Canada, Deloitte Canada and KPMG are all doing research on disruptive technology—the seismic change across the economy—demonstrated for example by developments in entertainment. Cameras, music and television are all being replaced by our mobile phones. Our industry is also seeing disruptive change. There’s no question that technological changes have an enormous impact on our ecosystem—as do operators at the edges. LottoLand, for example, is an industry disrupter, offering discount tickets to other lotteries. At the same time, low-tech innovations are also occurring in pockets of the industry, such as Chase the Ace. We have to pay attention. In addition to acknowledging that there is considerable action at the periphery, we also need to communicate with each other more, explore collaboration, share information.
GP: The aspects changing lottery are mobile technology, shifting attention to the needs of a younger demographic, and the pace of regulatory changes. Mobile technology is the primary technology that touches every aspect of our lives. Canadian lotteries need to interact through mobile to stay relevant with consumers but need options to do this that fit into the regulatory framework they have in each individual province. It is important to have options in terms of mobile lottery and find ways that mobile can help support traditional lottery models and offer new ways to grow.