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The retail, travel, and restaurant industries have been investing in digital technologies for the past decade. The engagement activities timing between a brand and its consumers have never been shorter. Consumers can order apparel, electronics, groceries, and food and have it delivered to your home, a local Amazon locker, or your automobile trunk in an hour. After posting a review for a purchased product, consumers receive a thank you from the brand within seconds.  Today, nearly every consumer-centric industry is moving at light speed and the Lottery industry is getting on board.

The recent Supreme Court decision to allow states to operate $150 billion online sports betting is accelerating the demand for the lottery industry to adopt online and mobile platforms. Delaware’s legal sports wagering kicked off on Tuesday June 6th at the state’s three casinos: Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and Harrington Raceway & Casino, just three weeks after the Supreme Court ruling.

Leading lotteries now realize that the first step from moving from cash-only in-store transactions to the digital online sports betting realm is to create a first-party, captive digital player database consisting of player email addresses, player preferences, and player activities via a loyalty program.  This is exciting for all stakeholders who will be part of the action and will push digital systems and strategies into new and sometimes unfamiliar areas — all in the name of player experience. Here are just a few impactful tactics where digital loyalty is already boosting lottery programs.

Second Chance Tickets

Today, many lotteries offer online and mobile “checkers” where players can verify winning tickets by scanning or entering ticket numbers. However, an anonymous “winning ticket checker” is far from sufficient for building a digital player database. Leading lotteries are now deploying modern loyalty programs that include second chance tickets, wherein a player gets an entry into a new weekly, monthly, or quarterly digital drawing. The possibility of winning a draw prize boosts ticket scans by three to ten times and is a critical incentive for players to join the player loyalty program.

Engagement via Earn Challenges

Offering players unique ways to engage with the brand is a fundamental strategy with multiple advantages.  Players are kept engaged via surveys, viewing videos, sharing preferences, progressively updating profiles, posting on social media, and playing Free Play style games.  The lottery gains direct feedback from its player-base and, in exchange, players get fun experiences and tailored, relevant content delivered to the mobile and web devices.

Online Games

Online games or Free Plays offer yet another way to reinforce the lottery’s brand and keep the lottery top of mind.  Free Plays are unusually easy to play, fun and themed around existing tickets or lottery-supported events. Often, players can earn draw entries for their daily free plays, so players come back daily for a chance to win more prizes. Just as with popular digital games, such as Candy Crush and Clash of Clans, these daily free plays keep the lottery top-of-mind to the players.

Social Advocacy

Done right, social advocacy is one of the strongest elements of any program.  We know we need to focus on players segments (new, routine, infrequent and high usage players) but we also need to capture advocacy and for this, we turn to social media and players’ ability to share their experiences with friends and family about new tickets, lottery-supported events as well as their winnings.  Advocacy both supports awareness and provides endorsement of the lottery and all that it offers – its word-of-mouth marketing at its best.

Digital engagement is a key component of any gaming program.  Whether states are now ready to pursue the $150 billion online sports betting market enabled by the Supreme Court ruling or not, a digital engagement program will both ensure needed interaction from their consumers and lay the groundwork for new offerings — such as online sports betting.  There’s no disputing it, if digital engagement is not part of your overall player loyalty solution, now is the time to start — it will pay dividends now and in the future.

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