Lottery and GDPR: How do Consumers Feel About Sharing Their Data?

Facebook Searches for Cambridge Analytica

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became enforceable on May 25. Essentially, GDPR requires companies to seek consent from European users to collect their personal data, and clearly explain to them how it will be used. For consumers – including lottery players – this is another example of the swell of concern about data security. Google searches for “What is GDPR” have spiked in Europe, particularly the U.K. and Sweden, and searches for Cambridge Analytica are highest in the U.S., where they were involved in the 2016 presidential election; Kenya, where they were involved in the 2017 general election; and the U.K. and Canada.1

Despite personal data security concerns being at an all-time high, consumers appear happy to share personal information with a company they trust. In the U.K., for example, 54 percent of consumers rank “I trust the organization” as their top reason to share their personal information with a company.2 Lotteries and other companies can secure consumers’ trust by being transparent about how and why personal data is collected, as this is an important factor to consumers when sharing their data.

According to Foresight Factory Trendspotter Anais: “In Germany, it is obligatory by law to ask permission to collect data. I think most people like to be treated seriously and therefore they like to be asked for permission. Though I also think they don’t want to be confronted with too many details and complications. A clear, simple, friendly, and transparent ask for permission is probably the most efficient approach.”

For the most part, though, consumers are unwilling or unable to scrutinize every brand they interact with regarding every claim or action – generally because this kind of information tends to be jargon-laden, lengthy, and difficult to understand.

For example, over a two-week period during summer 2017, over 22,000 U.K. consumers unwittingly agreed to carry out 1,000 hours of work, including “cleaning portable lavatories at local festivals and events” and “manually relieving sewer blockages,” when signing up for free Wi-Fi. Luckily for the unsuspecting users, the stunt was part of an experiment by Wi-Fi provider Purple WiFi, which added a “Community Service Clause” to its terms to both highlight the importance of reading terms and conditions in full, and to maximize exposure of the announcement that the company had become the first GDPR compliant Wi-Fi provider – a year in advance of the deadline.

As a result of GDPR, when it comes to data privacy, companies with European customers are obliged to share information intelligibly and transparently. By putting terms and conditions front and center, and forcing consumers to actively opt-in rather than opt-out, GDPR gives brands another touchpoint to engage consumers – not just by making information concise, but by imbuing it with personality, too. As Purple WiFi’s endeavors show, there is an opportunity for companies to comply via creative and transparent communication about how personal data is processed.

Further, consumers have expressed different degrees of willingness to share personal data based on how it will be used – i.e., what the benefit is to them personally. The most popular reason consumers would be happy to give permission to use their personal data is so the company can provide special offers or discounts relevant to things they like, with 41 percent of global consumers agreeing that they would be happy to give permission to a company to use their personal data for this reason. Weekly gamblers/lottery players across the globe tend to be as open to this as national averages for their countries. Greater openness of gamblers to data sharing for this reason is noted in only a few markets like in France, where 44 percent of weekly gamblers would be willing to share data for special offers, versus a 37 percent national average.3

When the benefit of data sharing is less functional, e.g., for companies to provide them with funny or amusing content, average agreement is much lower across countries, but there is comparatively higher willingness from weekly gamblers. In France, for example, the gap widens to 21 percent of weekly gamblers being willing to share for amusing content, versus a 10 percent national average.3

Consider also that 54 percent of weekly gamblers (including lottery players) like it when companies don’t take themselves too seriously, compared with a global average of 45 percent.4 Essential information can be communicated without being blasé about issues of security. For example, airline safety is no joking matter, but both British Airways and Air New Zealand’s in-flight safety videos capitalize on humor to encourage fliers to actually pay attention.

It’s predicted that other countries and jurisdictions will adopt similar legislation to GDPR, and some already have. (In October 2016, Indonesia updated the Law on Electronic Information and Transactions to include the right to be forgotten online.) So now is a time to act on data privacy and lay groundwork for the future. Here are some suggestions for how lotteries can make the most of legislation changes:

  • State terms plainly and transparently, and consider how humor might play a part to both engage and strengthen relationships with players
  • Offer concrete benefits from sharing data that inspire deeper engagement than before, for example, through personalized experiences
  • Where possible, get ahead of regulation to state how policies are even more respectful of the player than what the law requires

Rather than viewing GDPR as a burden, lotteries should try to see it as another opportunity to connect with their players.

Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be treated as legal advice or relied upon to determine how GDPR applies to you or your organization. For any questions concerning GDPR or regulation compliance, please consult a legally qualified professional.

1 Source: Google Trends (www.google.com/trends) FF Online, Worldwide, 2018
2 Source: Foresight Factory / DMA | Base: 1047 online respondents aged 18+, GB, 2017 DMA
3 Source: FFonline Research │ Base: 1000-5000 online respondents per country aged 16-64 (Indonesia and S. Africa 16-54), 2016 February
4 Source: Foresight Factory | Base: Weekly gamblers among 360-3254 online respondents per country aged 16-64, [Indonesia 16-54], 2017 August

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