What level of innovation is the lottery ready for today? In a recent post, we examined the reality that only about five percent of worldwide lottery sales in the past three years can be attributed to brand-new product launches, versus 25 to 70 percent for industries where there is much more consumer pressure to innovate. To succeed in the lottery category, a new game must strike the right balance between being just “more of the same” and being so extreme that it risks not being adopted.
To support sustainable growth for customers, IGT is proactively evolving lottery play through a proprietary process of balanced innovation called FutureGame. Since it was established in 2016, the FutureGame process has included a critical phase of assessment to determine which game innovations can be successfully executed in the market.
When the group started designing and testing a dozen different ideas two years ago, we looked at one of the most successful properties in the lottery and gaming industry, which is exclusive to IGT: Wheel of Fortune®1. It was the first time we were attempting to create a game where, after playing the scratch portion of a ticket, players try to complete words on the other half of the ticket based on a draw game for letters of the alphabet, rather than numbers. In the process of designing the mechanics for this new product, we discovered that a draw game with an instant component strongly appealed to our player test-group.
To begin with, there were two chances to win in one product. IGT had previously created a draw game with two chances, but it had never been done in a scratch-ticket format. Secondly, players considered the game a good value for the price and something that was a little different from other products on the market. Finally, from a game development perspective, it opened up a lot of game mechanics that we hadn’t been able to innovate with before. The outcome of our initial tests was so positive that the FutureGame group continued to work around the concept of a hybrid product as we designed other ideas.
Following more successful testing, we launched this new hybrid category of lottery play at the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) annual conference in September under the brand NOW & LATER™, along with the first two games, Black Pearl and Lucky 7, currently in pilot testing with Indiana’s Hoosier Lottery. Packaged as physical tickets with a fresh graphic design and a horizontal look and feel, NOW & LATER games are draw games with a scratch component. They combine the best of an instant experience with the best of a draw experience to deliver more than the sum of both parts – along with a lot of player anticipation.
IGT’s FutureGame also showcased a second new type of game at NASPL, an add-on to keno called Overtime. While this might sound like a niche product, keno sales are consistently high for the lotteries around the world that include keno in their portfolios, and a good add-on game can be expected to generate consistent sales. Overtime play in a keno game is similar to fast keno: In addition to the first 20 numbers drawn, the last 10 numbers are awarded as well, giving players two pay tables and the ability to play “overtime.”
This innovation is very easy for a lottery to implement, and tested very well in Rhode Island. The Overtime game has now launched in that state, which has the second largest per capita keno sales in the U.S., with sales increasing day after day. Again, from a game development perspective, Overtime is a balanced innovation that lotteries can execute now to replace underperforming games and help sustain growth.
With the FutureGame process, IGT is continuing to generate a pipeline of working ideas. Importantly, our goal is not to shift players away from other games, but to help grow the industry by creating more fun and new categories of play to attract more players.
As the first of IGT’s new FutureGame products are coming to market, we invite you to reach out to your Account Development Manager (ADM) to learn more.
1 ©2017 Califon Productions, Inc. "Wheel of Fortune" is a registered trademark of Califon Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.