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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 09:49AM
Washington, D.C. – Who could imagine when the first D.C. Lottery drawing was conducted three decades ago with hot air and balls with painted on numbers that the industry would grow to where it is today? Bolstered by ever-developing computer systems and hand-held devices, the fundamental elements of the lottery industry – numbers and chance – have transformed in the Digital Age.
On the eve of its 30th anniversary, the D.C. Lottery is using leading-edge capabilities to ‘step up its game,’ as it has recently implemented a new state-of-the-art gaming system to continue its charge of generating revenue for the District of Columbia. To do so, the agency is expanding its product line and player outreach by optimizing its website for mobile devices and increasing its use of QR codes.
Research shows that in June 2011, 14 million Americans scanned QR codes from their mobile phones, and Buddy Roogow, executive director of the D.C. Lottery, recognizes that as mobile device use increases, the D.C. Lottery has to be prepared to provide mobile-friendly content to its customers for their SmartPhone or tablet. “Recent statistics show that 82 million people in the United States own SmartPhones, representing 40% of the mobile phone market,” stated Roogow. “And, several studies indicate that Washington, D.C. is one of the most socially networked cities in the country.”
Recognizing this, the agency is upgrading how it provides information to its customers by optimizing the D.C. Scratchers pages of its website, allowing SmartPhone and tablet users to easily view and navigate the pages from their mobile devices starting in July 2012. This experience will also be supported at the point-of-sale. Beginning in August 2012, the Instant Ticket Vending Machines (ITVM) display cards will incorporate QR codes, enabling players to scan the QR code and read about the specific instant scratch game – literally – from the palm of their hands.
“Technology is rapidly changing how consumers obtain information, and more and more D.C. Lottery players are using SmartPhones and tablets. It’s important that the lottery reaches its existing players in a space that’s convenient for them, as well as the emerging market,” said Roogow.
Roogow’s strategy also includes increasing the sales of the instant product line, which are already moving at a record-breaking pace. “With the QR codes on the ITVM display cards, customers can scan the ticket they are interested in, look at the remaining top prizes, and make an informed purchase,” noted Roogow, adding, “We know that many of our scratchers players make purchasing decisions based on the remaining top prizes. Now, they can scan the ticket and know fairly quickly if it’s a ticket they want to play along with any others that interest them.”
The D.C. Lottery tested the feasibility of placing QR codes on D.C. Scratchers with its $5 game, Cadillac Riches. In addition to the $50,000 prize that could be won instantly, Cadillac Riches had a second chance drawing component. Players entered their nonwinning tickets into the contest by scanning the QR code on the front of the ticket, or online through the agency’s website. As the pilot program for the QR codes initiative, the D.C. Lottery was encouraged by the results.
“Four percent of the total entries into the Cadillac Riches second chance drawing were submitted via QR codes. That is a pretty good first step for the pilot program,” stated John Gorman, the D.C. Lottery’s Strategic Development Specialist, who manages the instant ticket product line. Gorman has specific goals for the QR Code program. “Within a year, we’d like to get 1,000 unique players and keep them active. The next goal after that is 5,000.”
Before the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2012, the D.C. Lottery will have implemented the QR codes with two other product promotions. A QR code will be on the agency’s Soul Train D.C. Scratcher and link to a video featuring the Soul Train Awards and Soul Train Cruise to promote the game’s Second Chance contest with prizes of a trip for two to the 2012 Soul Train Awards and a trip for two on the upcoming Soul Train Cruise. In September, the D.C. Lottery is planning a scavenger hunt to support its Monopoly ticket. During the scavenger hunt, when players arrive at the correct station, they will scan the posted QR code to receive their next clue from Roogow via a video clip.
As the agency nears the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2012, planning for Fiscal year 2013 is underway to continue strengthening the QR codes initiative. In the upcoming year, all D.C. Scratchers with a second chance drawing will have a QR code. The agency is also working on providing its players with a QR code promotion for its online games. And, another potential QR code sales opportunity is to add an interactive instant scratch ticket game to its portfolio.
Roogow is confident that the strides his team is making to connect to the emerging market will benefit the D.C. Lottery significantly, particularly as customers in every industry are conducting business online. “When you look at society, people are increasingly engaging in the world around them on their mobile devices. On the train, walking down the street, in almost every capacity. So, the D.C. Lottery should not allow itself to fall behind in the technological momentum. We are going to engage players through these devices because that is where they are. The D.C. Lottery should be the tip of the spear, leaning forward.”
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