The same is true in the lottery world; faced with competition from other forms of online gaming, pushing out engaging game content is the key to the success of an iLottery platform.
Driving digital engagement with innovative game design is at the heart of Pollard Banknote’s new Pollard Digital Games Studio, which brings together knowledge of all aspects of game development to offer a new portfolio of eInstant games uniquely designed to appeal to a wide range of lottery players. These games are available worldwide and are already generating sales and excitement in Europe.
Outstanding Digital Games
With a storied history of providing outstanding lottery games, Pollard Banknote understands that great games are the key to every lottery’s success. With close to 40 years of industry experience, Pollard Banknote is a proven innovator that understands that lottery players not only want to win, but they also want to be entertained, and therefore, designs games that meet these expectations.
Since 2009, Pollard Banknote has gained expertise in creating popular digital experiences for lotteries and their players and pioneered the iLottery space in the United States through NPi. From second chance apps and games to comprehensive loyalty programs, Pollard Banknote has proven its ability to provide the very best player experiences.
Given that eInstants generate the highest amount of revenue in the iLottery channel, lotteries must focus on developing strategies aimed at optimizing online game content to drive overall sales. With the launch of the Pollard Digital Games Studio, a natural next step for the company with its digital experience and deep insight into creating great games, Pollard Banknote is well positioned to support lotteries. The Studio’s outstanding games will help lotteries diversify their digital portfolios to meet player expectations for entertaining, relevant content and more choice overall, creating new opportunities to grow revenue for good causes.
As Co-CEO Doug Pollard puts it, “Our company’s success has been built upon a foundation of outstanding lottery games and it’s exciting to see that knowledge put to use with eInstants, part of our range of digital games meant specifically for iLottery.”
Pollard Banknote’s entry into the eInstant market enhances its ability to offer a comprehensive range of digital games to lotteries worldwide, delivered in the flexible, customer-centric way that Pollard Banknote is known for.
Strategic Digital Expertise and Expansion
In addition to recent acquisitions, which have increased capacity to better meet the changing digital needs of lotteries, Pollard Banknote has sought to recruit top industry talent including Shannon DeHaven and Bradley Johnson, who are leading the Pollard Digital Games Studio.
Shannon DeHaven, Vice President, Digital Engagement, draws on her considerable experience with the Michigan Lottery, including managing the operations of their incredibly successful iLottery program. Shannon was responsible for establishing the Lottery’s overall objectives for its digital programs. Under her leadership, Michigan became the first U.S. state to achieve significant success with iLottery, setting the industry standard by which iLottery success in North America is measured.
Bradley Johnson, Director, Digital Games Studio, has 17 years of in-depth and multi-disciplinary gaming industry experience—from game design mathematician to game studio director. With over a decade of content creation experience in iGaming, Bradley is well positioned to oversee the Pollard Digital Games Studio.
With a suite of eInstant games ready for market, including several already generating success for lotteries, Shannon and Bradley provide further insight into the Pollard Digital Games Studio and the importance of eInstants for lotteries:
What is the Pollard Digital Games Studio and what does Pollard Banknote’s market entry into eInstants mean for the industry? For lotteries and their players?
Shannon: Pollard Digital Games Studio, run by our in-house eInstants game development team, builds engaging eInstant games specifically for iLottery. Working with lotteries worldwide, we appreciate that every lottery is unique and must be treated as such. Our goal is to provide the best possible mix of games to entertain a broad player base, ensuring we have games that appeal to everyone. We analyze market insights, including trends and player behaviour, to understand what resonates with players and ultimately use this data to drive decisions on new game development and existing games’ enhancements.
Bradley: Our long-term sole focus on the lottery space, combined with our player-centric approach, is what sets our offerings apart from what is currently available in the market. With our team’s vast lottery expertise across channels and disciplines, we bring together critical game elements, both technical and creative, in a fresh way. We know lottery players, so we strive to make our games appeal to their likes and preferences.
Shannon: We also believe that great games are not only about game characteristics, but also the way they are delivered to the player. We help our lotteries execute on a unique, personalized engagement journey for their players across the sales cycle, from acquisition through the game play experience.
Bradley: Our eInstants portfolio also enables us to provide unique omnichannel opportunities to drive sales. This is important since we know that players who engage through multiple channels provide increased lifetime value for lotteries. Here, for example, we can leverage our licensed game portfolio, which includes recognizable brands that are very effective for player acquisition, to create games specifically to sell across retail and online platforms.
Shannon: Ultimately, the introduction of the Pollard Digital Games Studio creates more competition, which results in greater incentive for all companies, us included, to push themselves to offer the best products for lotteries, thereby fostering creativity, innovation, and diversity of supply.
What makes a great eInstant game?
Bradley: A great game is one that is player-centric, that is focused on providing the player with an exceptional user experience in all aspects of game design and leaves them feeling they have received value for their money. The Pollard Digital Games Studio creates experiences that meet player expectations by considering every aspect of interaction with a player including, for example, that games are easy to access and understand, play mechanics are fun and engaging, that any bonus features are exciting, and the outcome of the game is clear and instantaneous.
Shannon: Lotteries with the most success in eInstants understand that excelling in the iLottery space requires more than just taking a retail instant game and putting it online. Player expectations vastly differ between those sales channels and games must be developed accordingly. We can help lotteries navigate those differences to provide the best game content. One of our key advantages is the incredible wealth of knowledge that lotteries can tap into through Bradley. His leadership and understanding of the key elements in developing successful eInstant games is invaluable and will help games exceed player expectations and thus drive lottery success. Bradley’s background in game mathematics and game design for markets in Europe, North America, and South America includes several patents and many popular games. This experience, coupled with Pollard Banknote’s knowledge of what makes a great lottery game, means that we can tailor games to lottery needs and design games that players around the world will love.
What kinds of games can we expect to see from the Pollard Digital Games Studio?
Shannon: First and foremost, our games are designed with responsible gaming principles and best practices at the forefront. Our flexibility allows us to customize game elements to adapt to specific regulations in different jurisdictions and we do thorough testing to ensure the games meet all required standards.
Bradley: We’ve said that diversity is a key, so we have games that appeal to a wide range of players. For example, VIP Riches and Sizzling Hot 7s are two established lottery themes that we’ve adapted to an eInstant format featuring number match play styles. These games were recently launched by a European lottery and quickly became player favourites, helping the lottery sell the most game portfolio tickets in a single week. Lucky Forest is another great game that has a more whimsical feel with enchanting graphical elements and bonus features. It was launched recently by another European lottery and sold nearly three times the average game in its first week.
What is one piece of advice you would give a lottery that has an eInstants library now?
Shannon: Beyond what we’ve already discussed with respect to ensuring game diversity in mechanics and presentation to appeal to a wide variety of players, lotteries must also carefully consider how to successfully market the games to players for maximized awareness and visibility. We can support lotteries in developing successful launch strategies, including consulting on effective email and CRM strategies and website positioning, to name a few.
Why should lotteries not yet in the iLottery space be interested in Pollard Digital Games Studio’s eInstants?
Shannon: For lotteries getting ready to launch iLottery, we can help guide their eInstant game and portfolio strategy to the most effective outcome—a customized iLottery channel with the best possible games to appeal to every lottery player.
Bradley: And for jurisdictions where iLottery is legislatively prohibited or still years away on the digital roadmap, it is important to note that the knowledge and insights we gather from our eInstant portfolio apply to other business areas. The more we understand about player activity and preferences, the better we can personalize products to suit them. For example, what we learn from eInstants can improve second chance opportunities and other digital games and products and these additional learnings can be applied to the retail channel.
What should lotteries keep in mind when engaging with the eInstants category?
Bradley: There is a big future in eInstant games. They deliver player experiences that other types of iGaming do not offer to meet evolving player expectations and to ensure the continued success of the iLottery channel. Therefore, lotteries must ensure they are continually enhancing their portfolios with new games that appeal to a broad audience of players.
Shannon: Not only must lotteries ensure they are continually enhancing their portfolios with new games that appeal to a broad audience of players, but they should understand that the Pollard Digital Games Studio is here to help. We can provide eInstant advice grounded in the expertise of our in-house team, including data insights, marketing, best practices, and game portfolios.
Bradley: Player expectations are becoming more nuanced and varied so ongoing eInstant success is a matter of recognizing and actioning on ensuring your lottery has the key ingredients. These include game development driven by insights and best practices gathered from analytics at every point along the player experience. Lotteries also need games that push the envelope in terms of innovation and recognition. Taken together, it’s all about player-focused marketing and the creation of a unique and entertaining journey.
Shannon: Ultimately, lotteries need to deliver more and more highly engaging experiences in a thoughtful and focused manner. And be open to continuous learning. Like we have for close to four decades, Pollard Banknote continues our journey of delivering outstanding games to our lottery customers by offering eInstants and supporting services from our Pollard Digital Games Studio.