SBC Americas caught up with IWG’s VP of North America Jason Lisiecki, to find out more about the instant win supplier’s expansion within the territory and its plans for the future.
SBC Americas: Since joining IWG earlier this year, how have you settled into your new role?
Jason Lisiecki: I’ve really enjoyed my first few months with IWG. Having worked for the Michigan Lottery previously as digital products director, I knew the team at IWG really well and had first-hand experience of the quality games they deliver.
It’s been a seamless transition for me, but also a very busy period following the integration of our games with the newly-launched iLottery platforms of both Pennsylvania Lottery and BCLC.
SBCA: Tell us more about IWG’s expansion within North America.
JL: IWG has a strong presence in North America with our games live across many of the territory’s online lottery platforms, consistently delivering healthy funds for good causes. The addition of Pennsylvania Lottery and BCLC to our network of iLottery partners is a major boost for us and strengthens our credentials as a leading provider.
Pennsylvania just launched their iLottery program and it’s very exciting to be a part of a very successful program. BCLC has been online for a number of years, and it is great for our games to be included in one of the best online lottery programs in the world.
“…what we’ve seen is that iLottery has actually led to increased retail sales”
SBCA: With more lotteries within the territory launching online platforms for the first time, is this having a negative impact on the retail sector at all?
JL: This is a question we often get asked, particularly from those concerned that iLottery is cannibalising the hugely successful retail space. However, I can categorically state that this is not the case. In fact, what we’ve seen is that iLottery has actually led to increased retail sales, because lotteries have been savvy in the way they have ensured that both channels work alongside each other in an effective way.
Take the Michigan Lottery and Atlantic Lottery, for instance. Both have done great jobs at positioning products and promotions effectively, which has led to a boost in retail commission. For example, both offer a prepaid card product sold from the lottery terminal. This gives players a new way to fund their iLottery accounts but also gives retailers a way to earn new commission based on iLottery play.
It’s creative initiatives like this that promote iLottery but also give players a reason to go back into a store. Ultimately, the most successful lotteries leverage retail and internet assets to drive customers back and forth between all channels.
“The fact is, retail games offer experiences that internet games cannot, and vice versa”
SBCA: How can an internet lottery program complement a retail product offering?
JL: The fact is, retail games offer experiences that internet games cannot, and vice versa. For example, retail scratch games utilize print runs that are massive. Remember, this is a product that has matured for years and means that top prizes are 30-fold compared to an internet game. Take Pennsylvania Lottery for example. They can offer 5 top prizes of $3,000,000 in a $30 retail game and quite amazingly, the game will pay out those prizes and still generate millions in revenue.
Top prizes at retail are very important and that is not the case for internet instant win games. Simply put, internet lottery instant win games can’t offer the liquidity of a retail game prize pool. A top prize of $100,000 is more than enough to attract an internet player.
What an internet game can offer that a retail game cannot is taking basic game play and putting a fun and exciting theme and animation on top. For example, internet instant win games has the ability to present the bonus play area in a far more entertaining way, like collecting multiple prizes to accumulate to the total prize.
Retail and internet products are very different. Some players will like both styles, while others will prefer a specific channel. The introduction of an online lottery product proposition, particularly with instant wins, diversifies the Lottery’s product portfolio and will appeal to wider audience.
SBCA: You’ve recently collaborated with Inspired Entertainment to create instant-virtual sports, how did this come about?
JL: The repeal of PASPA has opened the floodgates for legalised sports betting in North America, and the idea behind instant-virtual sports is to provide those intrigued with the vertical, but with no previous experience, the chance to flavor sports betting for the first time.
Our new game will allow players to view single virtual football plays and win prizes based on the result of that play. We’re really excited with the potential of these new games and can’t wait for them go live in time for the NFL playoffs.
SBCA: What plans do IWG have for the near future?
JL: I am genuinely excited about the games we have in our development backlog. One area we’re focusing on is the development of new content and features for North American lotteries, which includes the launch of our very first keno game.
Not only will we put our own unique twist on the popular game format, the move will also help to significantly broaden and diversify our portfolio. We also have more keno concepts in the works.
Of course, we’ll continue to look at opportunities where we can partner with other lotteries looking to move into the online environment. It’s an exciting market to be involved in right now and I expect there will be more state lotteries making the switch to online within the next few months.