After nearly three decades in the lottery industry, Keith Cash has a well-rounded view of the business, with expertise in everything from press operations and instants sales to experience working on the lottery-operator side. It’s a perspective that makes him optimistic about the future of instant products, and one he’s excited to share with customers in his new role as Vice President and General Manager, IGT Printing & Services.
“Starting with my first job in the industry in 1990, I spent about five years in the manufacturing environment, on the press room floor as a technician,” says Cash. “It laid a good foundation for every other job I’ve done related to instants.”
In 1995, he ventured onto the business side. “That’s when I started interacting directly with lottery customers, and I got more involved in their business goals,” he notes. Through a progression of roles including VP of Operations and VP of Sales for a major supplier, Cash’s career has covered a lot of disciplines. But the experience he credits most with expanding his understanding of customer needs is the time he recently spent as Director, Portfolio Management at the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.
“I’ve called on lottery customers for many years and given countless presentations to them, but being on the lottery side reshaped my definition of ‘value,’ ” he says. “I’m much more conscious now, from the customers’ perspective, of how the IGT instant products team and I can bring real value to lotteries.”
A New Perspective
“I think it’s very important not just to be a supplier,” he emphasizes. “We want to understand a lottery’s business goals and pain points, so when we bring a solution to them, it takes them closer to achieving their mission. The only way we can do that is to understand their business as deeply as possible and be a partner to them, whether that’s with one game or as the sole supplier.”
When he arrived in March at IGT’s instant game facility in Lakeland, Fla., Cash says the recent $15-million, 45,000 sq.-ft. expansion made him feel like the proverbial “kid in a candy store.” “When I walked in here, I was just blown away,” he says. The recent enhancements and the company’s new, state-of-the-art TRESU printing press will increase IGT’s printing capacity by approximately 30%. Cash sees it as a tangible expression of the organization’s commitment to working with customers to innovate and grow the market for instant products: “The focus of my role is to bring value to our customers, and one of the ways is by making sure we use these recent investments to deliver innovation and a quality product.”
“I’m also going to be very active in the customer space,” he continues. “I intend to spend more time outside this office than in it. You’re going to see me at customer sites and you’re going to see me on the press room floor.”
Business and Player Insights
To help the sales team continue to bring unique and valuable insights to the table when they meet with customers, Cash plans to leverage the extensive player research conducted by IGT, and he will work closely with the company’s business intelligence and analytics specialists to shape strategy and recommendations.
“That’s one of our real competitive advantages,” he notes. “I’ve always felt that, as a world leader in the systems space, IGT had unlimited potential in instants. I’m excited about being a part of that future and helping the company define its role going forward in this area of the business.”
“IGT’s growth in the instants space is undeniable, having gone from six customers a decade ago to more than 55 today,” he says, citing the company’s success with products such as Wheel of Fortune, The Voice, and Super Ticket®, a global success that has been shown to grow portfolio averages by more than 5%.
“We’re committed to product ideas and brands that attract new players, and I want to see where these products can go. With the new press and products, the depth of insights, and the other work we’re doing across the industry, we have a real opportunity to be growth partners to our customers. That’s why I’m here, and why I’m optimistic about the future of the instants product.”
He reflects, “During my first year in this business, industry-wide instants sales in the U.S. were around $5 billion. Today it’s more than $46 billion. With all we know about basic player motivations and the simple pleasures of lottery, we will continue to evolve the product line and the value proposition along with our customers. I’m confident that the best days for the instants product are yet to come.”