The first lottery with money prizes was recorded in the Low Countries in the 15th century. Lotteries were common in the Netherlands in the 17th century. In 1758, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts raised money for an expedition against Canada using a lottery.
A popular modern lottery is the MegaMillions, a multi-state lottery launched in 1996. Today, more than 46 jurisdictions participate in the game. Its grand prize is over $1 billion, making it the largest national lottery in the U.S. However, it isn’t the only lottery available to the American public. Many states also offer drawing games, instant win games and sports betting.
Modern lotteries are designed to put players at the center of the brand experience. They align retail and digital experiences for a more seamless experience, which spurs increased engagement. While traditional brick-and-mortar retailers continue to play a central role, digital expansion helps the lottery become more accessible, convenient and relevant to today’s consumers.
Digital wallets reduce friction at the point of purchase and enable real-time data collection across channels. This technology also supports responsible gaming programs. As a result, future-focused lotteries will move towards an omnichannel approach to deliver a more immersive and engaging digital experience to their players.
To ensure the long-term viability of a lottery, it is important to understand the fundamentals of responsible growth. It involves supporting retailers, providing education, building online safeguards and incorporating a responsible gaming approach throughout the entire organization.
Lotteries need to understand where their customers are and what products they want. Retailers can help by customising their offering based on their customer segments’ preferences. Additionally, they can leverage data to better understand customer behaviour, enabling them to create a more targeted marketing strategy. Using a machine learning model, for example, can predict player behavior and thereby drive incremental growth.
Today, many states are considering expanding their online reach. Some Northeastern states are even experimenting with legalizing online lottery ticket sales. One example is New Hampshire, which approved online lottery sales last summer. Another is Rhode Island, which is in the process of legalizing it.
While the traditional brick-and-mortar retail experience is still in place, many states are exploring how online lottery ticket sales can be a complementary channel. The first US lottery to offer draw-based Fast Play games online was Illinois Lottery. Similarly, several states are developing e-Instant games that can be played from a smartphone or tablet. These products give players the convenience of being able to play the lottery on their time, at their convenience.
A successful lottery relies on the retail channel, but there is no doubt that the future of the industry is moving toward digital technology. Players want more convenience. Moreover, they want a personalized user experience. By building digital fingerprints of players, lotteries can provide more personalized, relevant products and services. With data, lotteries can determine which attributes different segments of the population have in common and tailor their offerings accordingly.
Despite the fact that there is a tremendous amount of data coming at lottery operators, it’s important to recognize that not all data is valuable. A lottery’s highest controllable cost line item is the marketing budget. If the marketing dollar isn’t deployed effectively, it can have a negative impact on the overall cost of running a lottery.