As digital instant win games continue to take center stage for online lotteries, La Fleur’s finds out how IWG is evolving the game mechanics to keep players engaged and drive further revenues for good causes.
For those considering a full suite of iLottery products, there are many lessons to be learned from North American lotteries who have made the move online. You only get to launch once, so getting the right mix of content available to your players early and often is key for success.
One of the key components to keep in mind is to strategically and carefully plan your digital instant win game portfolio. A few years back, the retail scratch game seemed to launch every few weeks. Now, many lotteries are launching multiple retail scratch games once per month. While the internet lottery landscape is not nearly as mature as the retail sector, Michigan Lottery, with nearly five years’ experience and over 60 digital instant win games, relies on content from their system provider (NeoPollard) and IWG to achieve its goals.
Shannon DeHaven, Deputy Director of Digital Operations at the Michigan Lottery, stresses the importance of a steady game launch frequency.
”It’s critical that we launch a digital win instant game at the right frequency, which for us is typically every two weeks. We launch retail instant games every month, and while that cadence has proven very successful for retail, that pace does not cut it for digital. We need to have more flexibility in our schedule and nothing energizes our online players like a digital instant win launch.”
It’s a similar strategy shared by Stephanie Weyant, Deputy Executive Director, Marketing & Product Development at the Pennsylvania Lottery, which is one of the drivers behind their online success.
“In order to hit a frequency of new game launches every two weeks, we rely on game content from IWG and our iLottery platform provider, Scientific Games. Both game providers were available to us and our players since day one,” she says. “Having multiple game providers gives us plenty of content to release on a regular basis. It also creates an environment to ensure we’re providing the best games for our players, which in turn leads to higher revenue and profit that goes to programs which benefit older Pennsylvanians, every day.”
The launch frequency is just one piece of the puzzle. Mixing in the right content that appeals to a wide range of players is equally, if not the more important piece to solve. Lotteries are in a fortunate position that the major iLottery system providers offer excellent digital instant win games as part of their iLottery solution. What’s key, and as evidenced by the success in Michigan and Pennsylvania, is to offer content from a third-party games provider to complement the instant win offering.
“Third party content is paramount to give players the ultimate iLottery experience,” explains IWG CEO Rhydian Fisher. “We pride ourselves on delivering complementary offering to the system providers we integrate with. Lotteries should strive to have third party content available from launch, as players who enter the iLottery space early in the program’s lifecycle are your most loyal. It’s critical to offer these players the best experience possible with your instant win game portfolio.”
As lotteries build on their online offering, so will the categories within their digital instant win portfolio. Quick play, retail recreations, on-demand draw, extended play and other categories will emerge as the digital instant win portfolio matures. Once these categories are developed, lotteries will become increasingly confident in games roadmap planning, leading to increased player satisfaction and revenue for beneficiaries.
Brooke Hilton at British Columbia Lottery Corporation, who recently partnered with IWG, offers her expertise.
“Obviously every market is different, but what has worked well for us is to partner with digital instant win game suppliers who specialize in varying mechanics. From there, you test and learn to see what sticks. This philosophy has led to several new game categories that were driven by our players, categories that we would not have been able to predict.”
At launch, it is common practice for a lottery’s initial digital instant win offering to feature many games that are akin to retail games. This “familiar first” strategy is effective as new players entering the program will feel a sense of comfort with the familiarity of retail brands and mechanics. While “familiar first” is appropriate in the early days of an iLottery instant win offering, it’s vital to evolve the product and utilize all the benefits that the digital atmosphere lends itself to. This evolution will create a more entertaining and engaging product which will help retain players long term.
IWG’s latest creation, Jungle Tumble (Jungle Payout in Michigan) is a perfect example of how instant win mechanics have evolved in a successful way. The game was recently released in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and while it is pre-determined like any standard lottery game, it is clear that the game play is a step up from the traditional scratch game format.
Victor Marmorstein, Digital Games Program Manager at the Michigan Lottery, says Jungle Payout exceeded his expectations:
“It’s impressive how long it’s maintained its success after the initial launch. Most games will have a few strong weeks before starting to drop, and it’s exciting anytime a game bucks that trend. Jungle Payout has certainly done that! We are very happy with this game, and we’re eager to introduce more content like it.”
Pennsylvania Lottery’s launch of the same game is also off to a strong start in the Keystone State. “We’re very happy with Jungle Tumble’s performance thus far,” said Weyant of the Pennsylvania Lottery. “The game mechanic is proving to be extremely popular with our players and we’re looking forward to launching more games from IWG in the upcoming months.”
With instant win games an integral part of an online ottery’s product portfolio, third party suppliers such as IWG are leading the way in taking the vertical forward with innovative game concepts that keep players coming back for more.