Promotions help to attract players and sell tickets, but can they open players’ eyes to a whole new way to enjoy a game?
A recent promotion from the New Jersey Lottery did just that with IGT’s proprietary draw-based game Cash Pop™. By showing players how to approach the popular game in a way that increases their fun and excitement, the promotion generated a 29% increase in sales.
A Player-Driven Experience
A product of IGT’s FutureGame development process, Cash Pop™ was designed for flexibility and ease of play (see sidebar). After a successful launch in New Jersey in September 2019, where Cash Pop drawings occur every 15 minutes, the Lottery found that players who were selecting just one number weren’t having an optimal experience with the game.
The Lottery had been running a “Bonus Hours” promotion for its keno product, Quick Draw, modeled on a promotion used in the bordering market of New York. The promotion gives players the chance to win 50% increased prizes for play during a specified timeframe.
With both the Quick Draw and Cash Pop draws running on the same monitors, New Jersey decided to shift the promotion to Cash Pop and set the eligibility at a minimum of five numbers (or “Pops”) played.
The move invited new and previous players to experience more of Cash Pop’s fun and flexibility, and playing five numbers increased their odds of winning to a one-in-three chance.
The promotion ran from 4:00-8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays from March through December 2020, then changed to the current schedule of 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. After a natural dip at the outset due to the pandemic, players coming back to social spaces and other retailers learned of the promotion, and many enjoyed a new experience with a game they thought they already knew.
“After the promotion went live, we saw a significant rise in sales on Wednesdays because of the opportunity to win increased prizes,” said Sam Fromkin, Senior Manager Strategy and Planning, Northstar New Jersey, the lottery operator. “But this promotion seemed to have a halo effect. Once it got going, we started to see increased play on other days of the week as more players became aware of the game and were having a better experience with it.”
Promoting the Promotion
The Lottery made players aware of the promotion primarily through its owned assets, including point-of-sale, the ESMM show, social media, the Lottery’s website, email blasts, and messaging on other draw game tickets. “We also created tent cards and menu inserts for bars and restaurants,” said Fromkin, who noted that word-of-mouth enthusiasm among players played a big role.
Another layer of the promotion supercharged its success: On September 30, 2020, the one-year anniversary of Cash Pop’s launch, the Lottery ran an all-day Bonus Hours promotion to generate excitement. “We think there was a lot of trial play, and people really enjoyed the experience,” said Foster Krupa, Senior Director Product Innovation, Northstar New Jersey. “It reset the player base and sales for Cash Pop,” said Fromkin. “If you look at a graph of sales, you can see the trend line go up from that day, and it has not gone back down.”
In addition, the Lottery launched a new ad campaign in January to support Cash Pop, which coincided with the Powerball and Mega Million jackpot runs. “There were more people in the stores being exposed to our marketing efforts for Cash Pop,” said Krupa. “All of these things came together to support the game and attract more players.”
Fromkin and Krupa note that New Jersey Lottery research found awareness and playership to be very strong among younger adults and lighter lottery players. The research also shows that most Cash Pop players find the Bonus Hours appealing (87%); almost half (46%) of Cash Pop players who have participated in the Bonus Hours claimed to have played Cash Pop more because of the promotion; and 84% of Cash Pop players claim they will continue to play it in the future.
Players Can Strategize & Create Their Own Cash Pop™ Experience
At each scheduled drawing, set by the operator, the Lottery draws one winning number between one and 15. Players can play more than one number to improve their odds of winning, play different price points to improve the prizes, or play multiple draws, setting additional opportunities to win.
The many options allow players to personalize their strategy and play experience. Cash Pop has launched in four jurisdictions to date, each offering the game in a unique way catered to their markets, with more launches to come in 2021.
Lotteries that offer Cash Pop can use the promotion even if they don’t offer keno. For more information, contact Samuel.Fromkin@NSNJ.com