ICE: Illinois Lottery director wants sector to aim higher

ICE: Illinois Lottery director wants sector to aim higher

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Lottery companies should make the most of the incredible prospects at their disposal and not settle for existing retail opportunities, according to Michael Jones, director of Illinois Lottery.

 

Lottery companies should make the most of the incredible prospects at their disposal and not settle for existing retail opportunities, according to Michael Jones, director of Illinois Lottery.

Jones, speaking at ICE Totally gaming 2015 session entitled ‘Rethinking Retail’, began by reminding delegates that lotteries start on the streets and executives should remember this when making decisions from their offices. He warned that the industry should not be satisfied with its existing retail activity and should push hard to find out the reality rather than the possibilities of its sales and marketing.

While admitting that there are a huge number of retailers that stock tickets, from petrol stations to restaurants, he called on the industry to consider all those outlets that do not - from Apple stores to Starbucks. 

“Customers at these places have high volume and high traffic, and are exactly the kind of people we want to attract,” Jones said.

He also said that existing technology should aid ticket sales: “There has been an explosion. Developers have done incredible things to fill that footprint through digital, banners, audio and video. There is even an app which will tell you each time you are close to a lottery retailer.”

However, he warned of a “big disconnect” between what is possible and what is actually happening: “100 per cent of people will visit a lottery retailer each week, but only 9-12 per cent of people buy tickets. Many people would walk out of a lottery retailer and claim they didn’t know it sold lottery tickets.

Jones has called on a rethink in how lotteries deal with retailers, citing an example in Illinois in which retailers would have their commission doubled on statewide raffles after the first 100,000 ticket sales. He also called for the maximisation of media space, which he estimated could be worth $1m (€874,774) per week, and suggested there are great possibilities for link ups with sports teams and media companies.

In making all decisions, companies must invest in research and development and he outlined a major test that is about to be taken by Illinois Lottery. Over the next six months, researchers will focus on 50 stores, with site visits in which they will watch what happens and speak to people who buy tickets and choose not to. Within those stores, half will be the subject of tests based on incentives and different types of display, with the other half maintaining the status quo.

He said: “It strikes me, having worked in lotteries, moved out and then moved back in, that such a small amount of research is done. As in everything, we need to build it, test it and learn from it.”

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