Lotto NZ boss keeping the business simple

Lotto NZ boss keeping the business simple

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 Posted by Andy McCarron
CEO Wayne Pickup: ‘We’ve had an outstanding first half."

Lotto New Zealand has hit the ground running in 2017, after the company reported strong growth in its core retail business and increasing uptake across its digital channels over the previous six months.

The Auckland-based group, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, operates a range of lottery games in New Zealand, with its flagship, twice-weekly Lotto, Powerball and Strike draws being complemented with other games including Keno, Bullseye, Instant Kiwi and Play 3, among others.

Proceeds from lottery ticket sales and other games are used to fund a wide range of community projects via the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, and according to Lotto NZ chief executive, Wayne Pickup, sales over the past six months have seen strong.

“Our financial year runs from July to June, so December marked the completion of the first half of fiscal 2017,” he explained. “We’ve had an outstanding first half, with sales up 50 per cent on last year. We benefited from two record jackpots during the period, and I’m very pleased with our underlying game performance across the board.”

He added: “We’ve seen the benefits of some game changes we made last year, and these have been supported well with new campaigns in the market. We’ve continued to evolve our retail footprint to better align with changing shopper behaviour, and our digital business continues to go from strength to strength.”

Pickup joined Lotto NZ in 2012. He relocated from Europe for the chief executive role, where he had been working for Gtech as head of government markets for the group’s internet gaming and sports betting division.

Discussing Lotto NZ’s strategy in 2017, the Auckland native said: “We are focused on keeping the business simple and to invest only in areas that we believe will improve our players’ experience. This will see us make further product enhancements during 2017, ensuring that we are keeping our games and brand fresh and exciting.

“We will continue to invest in technology that delivers an improved experience for our players, and believe this will be centred on mobile app enhancements. We will also complete the rebranding of our entire retail network and continue to align retail with the way people are shopping.”

New Zealand’s first Lotto ticket was sold in 1987. Since that time, Lotto NZ has grown significantly. It now manages a retail network of approximately 1,500 lottery outlets across the country – and this is being bolstered by a growing digital offering.

The group’s digital channel – MyLotto.co.nz – was launched in 2008. With more than 350,000 registered players, revenues through MyLotto now represent almost 15 per cent of total sales for the company.

Visits from mobile devices now account for more than half of all online sales for Lotto NZ, and in an effort to further bolster sales in this sector, the group launched a new smartphone app in December.

Lotto NZ was established to promote, organise and conduct lottery games for the purpose of generating profits for the maximum benefit of New Zealand communities. And while the company continues to diversify and embrace new technologies, this is all done with a focus on boosting funding for the many social, community, arts, heritage, sports, recreation and health research activities that are taking place across the country.

“Lotto NZ transferred a net surplus of NZ$204m (US$142m) to the Lottery Grants Board in the last financial year,” said Pickup. “Sport is a major benefactor of lottery funding in New Zealand. More than NZ$40m (US$28m) was provided to Sport NZ in the last financial year, and this plays an essential part in supporting the culture of sport in the country.

“This was clearly evident at the Rio Olympics, where New Zealand won 18 medals – not bad for a country of 4.5 million people. Other major benefactors of lottery funding are the arts and film. At Lotto NZ we continue to focus on developing and growing the business so that we can help continue to make good things happen for our sportspeople, artists and filmmakers.”

Totally Gaming says: Lotto New Zealand was created as a Crown Entity in 1987, with the primary goal of raising funds for community, cultural and sporting causes. The adoption of new technologies is helping the group build on the momentum it currently has in the business and to continue to deliver improved funding that rely on the Lotto NZ’s profits.

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