Many industry events were reimagined in a virtual format over the past few years – but there’s nothing like face-to-face interaction. With the aim of giving Instants Product Managers a chance to connect with their peers and share challenges and practices, IGT recently hosted its 13th annual International Instants Ticket Workshop in Lakeland, Florida.

This latest iteration of the Workshop marked several firsts: It was the first to be held since Bratislava in 2019 – after which the pandemic intervened. It was also the first to be held in Lakeland, home to IGT’s North American instants production facility, and the first time the Workshop was expanded to include some North American customers.

“We also didn’t restrict participants to a particular theme. We left it very open for attendees to discuss what was interesting or valuable from their point of view,” says Scott Gallagher, IGT Vice President Global Instant Sales.

Following an informative keynote presentation on the evolution of Florida’s instants program from guest speaker Tony Kirkland, Sales Director of the Florida Lottery, 28 participants from 17 lotteries and other invited speakers presented on a range of topics over two days, from inventory management and product innovation to price-point evolution.

“I enjoyed getting to see how other lotteries deal with obstacles,” noted a participant. “The discussion with other Product Managers was extremely helpful and enlightening.”

“It was interesting to see that the European lotteries face many of the same challenges that the North American lotteries face,” noted another attendee. Among the insights was the fact that one historical difference between these markets – the retail environment – is changing. Explains Gallagher, “There is not as much retail space to sell lottery in Europe, compared to North America, and the format is different. In the U.S., a lottery might have 40 instant games for sale, while in Europe retailers might only allow 12. That’s changing now, and there is a convergence. Europe is expanding its offer, and more importantly, the reality and challenge of self-checkout resonates globally. There are related retail innovations in Europe that attendees noted.” To cite one example, Olifeja, the largest and oldest Lithuanian lottery, discussed its innovative approach to changing retail environments, which resonated with all participants. The presentation and ensuing discussion surfaced ideas for adaptation.

Peer-to-peer presentations included the launch of a new instants program and a new hand-held terminal, themed marketing campaigns, advertising strategies, families of games, the successful launch of a new €25 Gratta e Vinci game in Italy, and research on which smaller prizes consumers consider meaningful.

A Workshop attendee from the Kansas Lottery discussed the successful launch of several IGT Infinity Instants games, including Day of the Dead (shown uncovered). The title has been a hit as both a slot title and a traditional instant IGT Slots game prior to the development of this Infinity-enhanced version for Kansas Lottery players.

Prize structure optimization was also the focus of a presentation by guest speaker Patrick Bentley, IGT Senior Director of Marketing and Sales Development, North America. He outlined the benefits to players and retailers of allocating more prizes to tiers that are redeemable in-store, generating much discussion among attendees. Giancarlo Perrotta, Vice President of Global Innovation for IGT Instants, shared the evolution of IGT’s Infinity Instants™ as well as other IGT innovations. Infinity proved to be of particular interest, as attendees had seen many successful case studies presented by their Workshop peers. Perrotta noted, “We are ready to work together with customers on their instants-innovation challenges,” and urged participants to think long-term as to how digital printing could impact their strategy.

As part of the Workshop experience, participants were hosted on a plant tour of IGT’s Instants production facility in Lakeland covering all areas of production, from pre-press to packaging. For many attendees, it was one of the highlights of the workshop and the first time they had seen how their tickets were produced, revealing the level of complexity required to bring them to market. Local retailer visits were cited as another Workshop highlight, especially among international customers, who found value in seeing how successful U.S. lottery sales were supported by self-service, various counter-display solutions, and other marketing elements.

Among the highlights cited by attendees at IGT’s 13th annual International Instants Workshop: a visit to IGT’s Lakeland, Florida, printing facility, local retailer visits, and the insights they gained into sales trends and distribution practices.

“Some of our lottery customers have attended every workshop since its inception as a Europe-based event, and new attendees have joined, but we’ve never hosted U.S. lotteries,” notes Gallagher. This year, by a large margin, participants considered the newly expanded workshop a positive. As one participant put it, “Sharing experiences and making new connections is the most valuable element of the workshop.”

To learn more, contact your IGT Account Representative.