Insight: Hitting the jackpot with lottery players’ data

Insight: Hitting the jackpot with lottery players’ data

Monday, January 25, 2016 Totally Gaming
Nick Bonney's department played a role in last year's changes to the UK Lotto

The world seems to have gone lottery crazy since the start of 2016, with incredible jackpots catching the imagination of the public on both sides of the Atlantic and everywhere else besides.

The US Powerball produced a jackpot of an incredible $1.5bn (€1.39bn/£1.05bn) in the middle of January, with three winners each becoming about $500m wealthier thanks to the luck of the balls.

The UK National Lottery’s £66m top prize, the biggest in the 20-year history of the draw, was rather modest in comparison, but has still been the subject of endless stories across the media. First, the rising jackpot, then the announcement of two lucky ticket-holders, followed by the unveiling of the first winner. The last week has been all about the second potential multi-millionaire, with hundreds claiming to have been the purchaser, including a Worcestershire woman who alleges that she put her winning ticket through the wash.

The saga will undoubtedly continue, and that seems to be just fine for Camelot, which runs the UK National Lottery and has been the beneficiary of the hype surrounding its draws over recent weeks.

The company made major changes to the main Lotto draw in October 2015, and was the target of criticism from many due to the increase in the number of balls from 49 to 59, which made a win even less likely for players.

Nick Bonney, Camelot’s head of insight, played a major role in the changes that took place last year and, ahead of his appearance at ICE Totally Gaming next week, said that the company is still in the process of learning what difference the amendments have made to customer behaviour.

“The great thing was to see how the nation got behind the record jackpot and how Lotto was being talked about up and down the country once more,” he told

“Learning from how player behaviour has bedded down after previous changes, it’s probably a little too early to give a clear view on how player behaviour has changed but this is obviously something we are monitoring on an ongoing basis.

“We have spent a lot of time talking to our players across all segments about the existing game and understanding the triggers and motivations to play. We have also been looking at player behaviour and how consumers respond to different jackpot levels. Working with our strategy and innovation team, the trick has been to fuse these two together to inform the design of the new Lotto game.”

Bonney will appear in an ICE Data Insight & Business Intelligence panel discussion entitled ‘Player Behaviour: Using BI and predictive modelling tools to understand players’ behaviour and motivations’ in which he will, in part, look at the effect of big wins on the behaviour of customers.

Bonney, who joined Camelot in 2013 after 13 years with Orange and EE, said that he hopes that those attending the session can discuss how the sector can overcome discrepancies between players’ actual behaviour and their anecdotal evidence. 

“As an industry we are often grappling with how we balance what people say with how they behave and the trick is how we combine these multiple streams of data,” he said.

“I hope that we’ll be able to have a frank and honest discussion as a panel about where we’ve been able to make strides forward but also some practical and honest tips about where it has been harder to make progress.”

* ICE Totally Gaming takes place at London's ExCel Centre from February 2-4. For updates on ICE 2016 and to register for tickets, visit:


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