Native v HTML based mobile applications have long presented organizations and developers alike rich debate. Apple’s recent ‘Updates to the App Store Review Guidelines’ has not only added fuel to the fire, but has articulated which approach iLottery apps must adopt and by when, to remain in the App Store.

The challenge with Apple Guideline 4.7, which essentially articulates that real-money apps need to be designed specifically for IOS, is the firm deadline of September 3rd 2019. As a significant number of iLottery apps are built using HTML and the time-frame to build apps native to IOS is considerable, operators are confronted with two options; scramble to refit their IOS application to comply or abandon the App store as a sales channel. Given the significance of the App Store as a marketing and advertising channel, it goes without saying that abandoning this channel is not a realistic long-term strategy, leaving operators to determine the most appropriate course of action to ready their App and mitigate any downtime.

Jumbo chose to develop its apps natively back in 2015 and the topical nature of this subject has encouraged us to reflect on our experiences. Choosing to avoid HTML was the more expensive option initially, but ultimately the right option. HTML did offer a lot more flexibility with content however at the expense of consumer experience.

Since launching Oz Lotteries application in the App Store in 2015, the customer has always been central to our thinking. We wanted to ensure a world-class digital lottery experience, regardless of transaction options. As we commenced this journey, it became evident that delivering a mobile application using a web-based HMTL view, whilst being cost effective and operationally versatile, would not suffice. To deliver an experience befitting of our ambition, our mobile applications would need to be built specifically for the operating system; to this point, we’ve built and continue to add functionality to our IOS application using native language.

Today, around 75% of our Oz Lotteries customers elect to use our mobile applications; highlighting both the importance of mobile as a sales channel and the need for customers to enjoy the optimal experience. To ensure our mobile applications remain world-class, our product and customer teams employ a variety of qualitative and quantitative research methods to ensure a robust understanding of the customer and grounded insights-based approach to product enhancements. A key learning and guiding principal in our journey have been that our mobile applications and development process must be dynamic. As technology and customer preferences evolve, so must our approach and offer. Through building our mobile application specific to iOS, we have been better positioned to continuously improve our offer, ensuring our customers enjoy the world’s best digital lottery experience; this satisfaction is reflected from customer actions rating our Apps 5-Stars

For over 40 years lotteries and their suppliers have focused on the development of retail terminals and the supporting software to meet the demands of the user, i.e., the retailer, to provide an intuitive, effective and efficient experience; it should be no different today. In fact, as the user is now the player, the consumer of our products it should be a much richer experience. Jumbo’s best in class native 5-Star App and the Powered by Jumbo software platform delivers to drive lottery sales through an exceptional customer experience.

By Brian J. Roberts, President North America.