La Fleur’s Magazine surveyed lottery marketers on what’s new at their lottery in terms of marketing instant and draw games in the first quarter of calendar 2021 (1Q21).
All draw games enjoyed the “halo” of renewed player attention both at retail and online due to the dueling Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots.
“The impact of the Powerball and Mega Millions run-up will be tremendous not only for the sales of those two games, but there will be a positive impact across the portfolio as players come into our retail locations and see our vast array of scratch ticket games on display,” said Robert Tirloni, Products Manager, Texas Lottery.
Spotlight on Instants
Strong player interest in dueling Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots translated into big sales for multiple lotteries’ scratch games in January. For tourist states, like Florida, winter is a top-selling period.
“Q3 (Jan. 1-March 31) is our highest-selling period of the fiscal year, as it’s when our population is the highest due to the influx of ‘snowbirds’. The post-holiday period is comparable to a post high-jackpot period, in that you have a limited time to capture a new or infrequent player audience,” said Shelly Gerteisen, Director of Product, Florida Lottery.
“Holiday gets all the bells and whistles—a full ad campaign, a second chance Players Club promotion, and a ton of social media support for three full months. So January has to be comparable to keep our players and new players interested. We launched a family of five games with the same level of ad support, with a concurrent promotion with prizing that rivals the holiday promotion,” said Shelby Alessi, Arizona Lottery Marketing Manager.
Connecticut Lottery Corp. (CLC) will continue to sell its Jewels FOG launched in December. “Instant games strategy remains pretty consistent. We are monitoring trends toward big growth at the higher price points but also making sure that we keep focus on the $1, $2 and $3 tickets,” said Pete Donahue, Senior Director of Marketing, Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC).
The Iowa Lottery just launched its first see-through ticket called “The Cash Game.” “We built a Play It Again promotion around the ticket launch and included a multi-media campaign with the goals of engaging and recruiting new members to the VIP Club and sampling a new ticket style. It’s still very early, but so far results have been very encouraging,” said Teri Wood, VP, Sales & Marketing, Iowa Lottery.
The Mississippi Lottery Corp. (MLC) will offer an all-new price point in 2021. “Our players are very interested in $20 tickets. We value player feedback and are thrilled to bring them our first one in March,” said MLC President Tom Shaheen.
The Nebraska Lottery traditionally sells an instant ticket featuring a truck as the big prize. “We are pretty much staying true to our regular plan for the first quarter of the year with the launch of our $2 Truck$ & Buck$ Scratch game. We did change things up a bit this year and are giving away blue trucks for the first time ever. We did a social media poll last summer to let our fans select the color of truck for this year and blue was the winner,” said Jill Marshall, Marketing Manager, Nebraska Lottery.
North Carolina Education Lottery (NCEL) will launch several big instant ticket initiatives. “We had a record-breaking week for the first week of January with $62M in total game activations. Our Q3 net sales are up by 24%. We have a strong product plan for the second half of FY21 with the Multiply the Cash family launching in February, a new $30 scratch-off called Millionaire Maker in March, and a 7’s-themed suite of tickets in May,” said Frank Suarez, Deputy Executive Director, Brand Management & Communications, NCEL.
The Oklahoma Lottery is launching its first $30 Scratcher in late February. Millionaire Extraordinaire offers the lottery’s first ever Scratcher prize of $1 million. “The ticket will be printed on holographic paper and we have planned a media campaign around the launch. Oklahoma players have been asking for higher price point game options since before we revamped our instant product and we are constantly working to enhance our product offering,” said Brandie Reisman, Director of Marketing & Administration, Oklahoma Lottery.
The Minnesota Lottery’s True North scratch game features artwork by its advertising agency. “It’s a theme we can use to connect with players and potential players by embracing what it takes to survive the cold depths of a Minnesota winter,” said Todd Maki, Research Analyst, Minnesota Lottery. “Social media, video clips and words of wisdom that maybe only someone living here will understand are part of the campaign as are POS materials for our retailer network. Our sales force will also have a chance to earn some bonus pay by increasing True North sales in their territories by 10% or more over a scratch game on sale at the same time last year, Minnesnowta Cash.”
South Carolina Education Lottery (SCEL) will continue to develop its $10 price point. “SCEL will launch its first $10 game with a $2 million top prize on March 9th which will also have a second-chance for $2 million. Due to the lower population in our state and the frequency that we launch games it is not until FY21 that we have been able to support in quantity on our games a $2 million top prize which will be very exciting for our players,” said Josh Whiteside, Director, Marketing, SCEL.
Family of Games
While families might be limited to meeting physically during the winter months, this doesn’t mean that family of games (FOG) can’t be together.
The California Lottery will launch a new family of MONOPOLY Scratchers®. “We are excited to bring back a player favorite this year with a fresh release of three Monopoly games, which offer the familiar nostalgia and fun of the popular board game to our product lineup for spring,” said Whitney Alderson, Assistant Deputy Director, Marketing, California Lottery. “Our next marketing campaign with TV advertising is currently planned for late March; however, we will not be producing a brand new spot for this. Instead we are planning to revise and run existing TV creative for this spring campaign, which will support our new family of Monopoly Scratchers.”
The Colorado Lottery launched the Mayhem FOGs on January 11 to continue the sales momentum generated over the past two months. “Colorado recorded record weekly sales over the holidays and hopes to keep that trend going. For a number of years, Colorado has launched a large number of games right after the new year to keep sales invigorated and to fill inventory needs following the holiday rush. The Mayhem FOGs consist of several price points ($1, $2, $5 and $10) and all have top prizes that can be claimed at our retailers,” said Colorado Lottery Director Tom Seaver.
The Kentucky Lottery Corp. (KLC) launched its Kentucky Jackpot FOG on January 8. “It is modeled after the Georgia Jackpot games and promotion. We will have $20, $10, $5, $2 and $1 options for sale,” said Edie Frakes, VP, Marketing, KLC. “We are very excited about our Kentucky Jackpot Scratch-offs contributing to a growing jackpot and all games being eligible for entry into a second chance promotion for the prizes!”
In February, Massachusetts Lottery will be launching a Decade of Dollars suite of tickets at four price points—$1, $2, 5 and $10. According to CMO Ed Farley, the FOG will offer “unique top prizes available in monthly payments for 10 years. This is the first time we’ve offered an annuitized monthly prize. All top prizes do have a cash option.”
The Missouri Lottery introduced a new FOG “using our state’s nickname the ‘Show Me State’ in late December. The family consists of four stand-out games using bright fluorescent inks (colors) for maximum impact and offers special prize structures,” said Bill Burton, Instant Product Manager, Missouri Lottery.
The Rhode Island Lottery will launch a Power FOG in March. “We will be promoting with POS, television and radio spots. We will also be launching our first oversized ‘Super Ticket’ this spring, which will include a 2nd chance promotion, and a poster at retail. For our draw games, we have a second chance promotion planned for our Lucky for Life game,” said Melissa Juhnowski, Marketing Manager, Rhode Island Lottery.
The South Dakota Lottery is set to launch its Wild X Family tickets on February 1. “This family features $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20 tickets and is usually a popular family among our players. We are supporting the launch of these tickets with email and social media teasers prior to the launch. After the launch, we have POS items and will have paid advertising efforts on our social media platforms,” said Wade LaRoche, Director of Marketing, South Dakota Lottery.
The Kansas Lottery launched the sixth generation of the X Family games in January. The FOG consists of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20 and $30 price points. The $30 ticket is an oversized ticket that features all of the other price points combined into one convenience ticket. “This ever popular brand has become an anchor within our instant ticket portfolio,” said Stephen Ortiz, Director, Marketing & Sales, Kansas Lottery.
The Texas Lottery always starts the new year off with a scratch FOG which is typically multiplier themed. “Our five game X the Cash family includes the following price points: $1, $3, $5, $10 and $20 with the $3 game being a crossword style game (30X the Cash Crossword) that complements our core $3 crossword game, $50,000 Bonus Cashword. This FOG receives full advertising support including in-store POS, outdoor, radio, social and digital. We also have a new $50 game, $5 Million Fortune, launching on January 18 and last but not least, we are also introducing a $20 Crossword game on February 1 with the goal of developing that game into a core product offering,” said Tirloni.
The Virginia Lottery relaunched its entire family of X games. “We set records for both single-day and weekly scratch sales. This is the first time we included all price points for this family of core games in one launch and we’re encouraged at early results,” said Terri Rose, Director of Marketing, Virginia Lottery.
The Wisconsin Lottery is going bigger and better with its FOG releases in early 2021. “For starters, we are offering two FOGs this year instead of the usual one. The first Family will be launching in late January and a second will follow it in April. Secondly, we are adding a $20 price point to the first Family, which is bringing our offerings to FIVE price points ($1, $2, $5, $10 and now $20), thereby including more of the extremely popular high price points and helping to maximize the sales potential,” said John Sams, Instant Game Coordinator, Wisconsin Lottery.
The Arkansas Lottery will offer its 5-Buck Bundle promotion January through February. The group promotion is available to all retailers. “It includes a $3 Powerball® with Power Play®, $2 Mega Millions®, and a free $1 Natural State Jackpot ticket. “This $6 value for $5 is a great way for our retailers to up-sell and ask for the sale. We have run this promotion for several years. Through the first 11 days of January, we have sold nearly five times as many 5-Buck Bundles versus last year,” said Mike Smith, Gaming Director, Arkansas Lottery.
Delaware Lottery will run a Play 3, Play 4 and Multi Win Lotto—Collect N Win promotion in March. Players will receive a trailer ticket coupon at a nth ticket frequency—the coupon can be used through the Collect N Win app or website for an immediate entry into the monthly drawing. The objective is to increase awareness amongst Delaware players and increase the overall player base for Collect N Win,” said Cheryl Couvillion, Product Manager, Delaware Lottery.
The New Mexico Lottery Authority (NMLA) continues to promote Powerball and Mega Millions with its “Always a Big Jackpot” campaign. “The recent jackpot run-ups have been exciting. Our media plan was adjusted to include TV, radio, digital billboards and social media jackpot alerts. We currently offer several second-chance promotions and remind players to enter via My Rewards, our player rewards platform,” said Wendy Ahlm, Director, Advertising & Marketing, NMA.
Draw Game Launches
Several lotteries began sales for new games or introduced add-ons for games.
The Idaho Lottery launched a twice-daily Pick 4 game on January 10. “Our players really appreciate and enjoy Idaho-only draw games,” said Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson. “Pick 4 is a daily game, with draws twice a day that our players have been asking us to add to our lineup. We’re looking forward to it joining Pick 3 and the prize-winning it will give to our players and the good causes we support—Idaho’s public schools and buildings.”
WyoLotto will launch 2by2 on March 14, 2021. 2by2 will be the lottery’s first daily game and the perfect compliment to the rest of the products in its portfolio. “We are excited to be joining North Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska Lotteries who currently sell 2by2. Pre-launch and launch campaigns will include mass media (TV and radio), digital media, app and website, billboards, social media, in-store merchandising, retailer incentive programs and player and retailer swag.” said Robin Medina, COO, WyoLott.
The Hoosier Lottery will introduce more Fast Play games in 2021. “We are excited to provide our players with more Fast Play offerings, including two new rolling jackpot games launching in March. Fast Play continues to play an important role in our overall product portfolio, and provides players instant fun with a variety of themes and price points to choose from,” said Ali Beyrer, Associate Product Manager, Hoosier Lottery.
The second half of calendar 2021 will see major game changes for several bloc lottos. “Lucky for Life is moving to daily draws in July, Powerball is adding a Monday draw in August, and we are waiting to see if Mega Millions will make a change in 2021. We are researching some add-on options for our 3 and 4 digit numbers games as well as another in-state or multi-state Lotto game,” said Smith.
Texas Lottery is considering adding an additional draw day for Lotto Texas when it implements Monday draws for Powerball in late August. Both games would be drawn on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Lotteries also continue to change their advertising strategy as they navigate changes in consumer behavior.
The Florida Lottery is the first to use the GSTV LBar that triggers for both Mega Millions and Powerball above the threshold of $250 million. “There is an opportunity for incremental sales when the jackpot is high, so the trigger technology allows us to seamlessly activate the messaging to prompt both frequent and new players to purchase,” said Everett Williams, Advertising Manager, Florida Lottery.
The Arizona Lottery pulled down all of its jackpot billboards, ironically just before the big jackpot run. “We found extreme cost efficiencies in taking down static boards and using that money for digital boards. This approach allows us to have relevant messaging at all times, and we are not spending against jackpots that have not reached the jumping-in point,” said Arizona’s Alessi.
Texas Lottery staff produce daily organic social posts for draw and scratch games. “The Texas Lottery will continue to produce digital content in-house, which has resulted in an increase in high-quality and cost-friendly content being distributed on social media to support various product initiatives throughout the year,” said Andrew Leeper, Brand Strategy Coordinator, Texas Lottery.
The West Virginia Lottery continues its advertising efforts to promote specific instant games and promotions related to these games. “We are also focusing a portion of our advertising efforts to jackpot alerts on a consistent basis regardless of jackpot amount,” said Michael Thaxton, Product Development Manager, West Virginia Lottery.
The Illinois Lottery increased its digital efforts for Mega Millions and Powerball games to capture infrequent players that may be more apt to play online. “We are leveraging new digital tactics for our Instants campaigns this quarter, including advertising on the Gas Buddy app and doing a social media takeover for the launch of our Willy Wonka Instant ticket in March,” said Meghan Powers, Communications Director, Illinois Lottery.