It is no secret state lotteries are big business, but few people realize just how big. Why in 2015, U.S. lottery sales totaled $73.8 billion (USD). Canadian sales reached $9.1 billion (CAD). And with only 52 total lotteries in North America, that’s a lot of revenue being generated by a pretty elite group.

In fact, the lottery makes for one interesting “club,” one marked by camaraderie that fosters an incredible learning environment. With an openness to sharing best practices, lotteries are able to look at the strategies of others and take note of what’s working and what’s not. If there’s something particularly innovative and effective in place with one lottery, they are eager to discuss how it can be adapted by others.

Helping to facilitate this is the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. This industry group acts as the conduit, helping each lottery program make the necessary connections to keep pace with market changes.

For Stellar Loyalty, July featured an exciting week at the NASPL Professional Development Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee, with our partners at Pollard Banknote. Chock full of meaningful content and engaging discussions, this conversation is only just beginning, as we explore the ways in which  the lottery business mirrors the larger consumer goods industry when it comes to customer engagement and loyalty.

In most cases, like many consumer goods enterprises, lotteries don’t sell direct to consumers but rather are entirely dependent on their retail partners who sell many things aside from just lottery tickets. And more often than not, the salespeople usually don’t know how to explain or promote the tickets. But that’s not the only commonality. There’s the inevitable generational shift in the customer base as well. So, how do lotteries begin to reach and pique the interest of millennials? Build brand awareness? Promote new products, games and tickets? Get new customers? Where do new technology and loyalty approaches come into play?

The lotteries have figured out that digital transformation is critical to their businesses. In order to meet today’s consumer expectations of frictionless transactions and immediate gratification, the player experience needs to undergo a dramatic upgrade. It was exciting to share some of the successes we’ve seen in this space and how those can help lift the industry as a whole.

I am looking forward to the next NASPL event in September in Portland, OR, and delving further into this topic. There, many of the industry’s best service providers will share their latest products and services in the area of loyalty, player engagement and consumer-facing technology as the lottery enters the new era of gaming.

Keep your eye on this blog for more next month on what some of the more progressive lotteries are doing to up their player experience and loyalty game.