Ten years ago, when eight U.S. lotteries offered Fast Play games, annual sales hovered below $73 million (FY2011). By FY2021, U.S. sales had grown to over $914 million, representing a 10-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.1%*, with 23 lotteries offering the category.
These terminal-generated games span a range of mechanics similar to scratch tickets—from extended-play styles like Crossword and Bingo to quick-win games such as key-number match. And like scratch tickets, Fast Play wins are immediately redeemable by the player, with similar odds and payout designs.
But Fast Play games differ from their instants counterparts in some fundamental ways: many of the top prizes are jackpot-based; the games reside in the terminal rather than being visibly displayed on a retail counter; and playing them doesn’t require the removal of a scratch coating.
Given the increase in category sales, more and more questions have emerged from product designers and managers: What are the top drivers of play? How do players learn about the existence of games? Is it the jackpot amount that appeals most, or is it the theme, structure, graphics, or top prize? What are the reasons to choose Fast Play over scratch-off games? And how do players’ habits or the gameplay experience factor into their decision to purchase?
IGT set out to explore these questions, partnering in March 2022 with researchers at YouGov to conduct a dual-phase study: a quantitative online survey with 1,206 players in eight states that sell Fast Play games and qualitative one-on-one interviews with 17 retailers who are experienced in selling the games.
Snapshot of Findings
Some of the high-level research findings follow, and what’s equally important is what IGT plans to do with them. “Our intent is to better understand consumers’ motivations for play,” said Sarah Walker, IGT Senior Director Draw-Based Games Portfolio Optimization. “IGT invested in this study with the goal of marrying the findings along with industry KPIs to formulate a recommended Fast Play portfolio strategy for customers.”
To cite just one example, game mechanics is one of the factors cited by players as being the most important when choosing which Fast Play game to purchase. The IGT team is assembling indexes and KPIs around the game mechanics that tend to do best in the industry to provide customer lotteries with actionable recommendations.
Among the findings, the top drivers for Fast Play are similar to scratch-offs—led by ease of play, immediate gratification, fun/excitement, entertainment, and the chance to win money.
Retailers also cited the progressive jackpots as a top-tier driver, noting growth in sales during higher jackpot periods.
The top barriers, according to the research, are a preference to play other lottery games instead, particularly scratch-off products, coupled with lower awareness levels.
Fast Play players are most likely to cite a preference for scratch-off products as the top reason they don’t play Fast Play more often. Non-players say they prefer to play other lottery games in general.
Retailers suggest that most of their lottery customers are not aware of the game and that there isn’t enough advertising and signage to promote Fast Play over other lottery options. When they suggest a Fast Play purchase, customers are generally very happy with the experience.
“We regularly run concept tests and other types of research,” noted Audrey Pate, IGT Senior Manager Market Research, “and, in this case, we invested in understanding more deeply ‘why do people play these games, and what opportunities exist to grow sales,’ specifically to support customers in formulating a strategy.” To learn more, contact your IGT Representative.