Scientific Games Analyst Cameron Garrett Offers Valuable & Actionable Insights

What is a trend? A collection of what’s hip and popular? Market tendencies that move in a particular direction over time? Perhaps both, depending on how you look at it.
In the business of lottery, if there’s anyone who knows how to identify and assess trends as they’re happening, it’s Cameron Garrett, Marketing & Insights Director, Scientific Games. He’s been using disparate data sources and a variety of unique analytical tools to observe the minutia of instant game sales performance for 10+ years at Scientific Games.

Watching the intricate patterns of an $80.5 billion industry is a marketing analyst’s dream—one that Garrett, who holds an M.S. in Information Systems from Northwestern University, has clearly mastered. Transforming industry data into valuable and actionable insights, his weekly reports to the customer and game design teams at the company can impact decisions and bottom lines for many different lotteries.

We asked Garrett to share three instant game trends he’s watched closely this year, and here’s what he reported to La Fleur’s.

Trend 1: Price Point

While it’s tough to keep banging the proverbial drum on price point trends, price point remains an incredibly important performance driver. But price point growth today is a bit of a double-edged sword. It’s clearly effective in increasing retail sales performance, but can introduce complexities and challenges for product planning and positioning.

As example, the $30 price point yielded approx. $500 million in domestic revenues in 2012. Today, $30 instant games are a $6 billion+ and growing category. Many lotteries hit their financial goals in the last few years primarily thanks to $30 games. While this upshot of growth is fantastic, how do product managers balance $20, $25, and $30 games within a portfolio?

Everything from launch cadence to product differentiation must be carefully considered and actively managed. Continuing the success of an initial launch can be daunting. A lottery has just launched the most exciting game in its history—how does it improve from there? The answer isn’t always exact.

However, it is clear that there’s been tremendous growth in the industry—both revenue and profits—when this difficult balancing act is executed effectively. Using analytics, Scientific Games’ teams work closely with lotteries to navigate the science behind the games. And the proof is the performance these lotteries deliver.

Trend 2: Families of Games

Introducing or expanding “families of games” in an instant product portfolio is one of the most common recommendations Scientific Games makes after a comprehensive market analysis evaluating a lottery’s performance. This unearths opportunities by separating the overall business into key determinants of demand, and it’s a necessary process to identify when families of games represent an appropriate strategy.

Creating a successful family requires more than applying the same theme on a handful of games and launching them at the same time. These games must be thoughtfully positioned, timed and differentiated in order to drive maximum performance. By doing so, families have increased presence and new efficiencies and opportunities with advertising and promotions.

Scientific Games’ research shows that families of games have grown into a category topping $6.5 billion in annual sales, which are likely to accelerate further as lotteries realize their power. One thought to ponder is the value of families of games as staple or base games, enabling even bigger brand recognition for these products.

Trend 3: Linked Licensed Property Games

Something happened this year that proves there’s still tremendous opportunity to leverage licensed property games. This is particularly true when linked across jurisdictions and backed by exciting experiential promotions. It also served as a reminder that it’s possible to successfully use brands that resonate strongly with casino players. This group is 58% more likely to have played a lottery instant game in the last year, and 42% more likely to consider any lottery game. There is definitely a stronger link between casino players and instant games.

WILLY WONKA GOLDEN TICKET™, featuring the Billion Dollar Challenge™, is the big game of the past year. To date, the concept has produced 100 million+ instant game tickets. WILLY WONKA™ licensed branded games have performed above average in 14 jurisdictions, and on average have outperformed peer games by 18%. While this brand has been highly successful, the industry should consider returning to the embrace of other powerful brands tied to exciting experiential promotions like the Billion Dollar Challenge.

Not only do licensed brands provide an innovative mechanism for generating player engagement, they also appeal to players who like other types of gaming. With gaming and legal sports betting expanding, lotteries must keep innovating in order to remain relevant.