July/August 2016 // PUBLIC GAMING INTERNATIONAL //
age. Of course, that’s great for us since it
also promotes Lottery and so it is an effort
that we are actively working to improve.
You are a supporter of multi-jurisdictional
collaboration to build an API. How will
API’s help individual U.S. lotteries?
API’s have the potential
to reduce costs and time to market. Most
lotteries already apply API technologies
internally to enable the seamless transfer
of data. We need to now work together
to establish multi-jurisdictional protocols
for a variety of needs. Interfacing with
multi-state corporate accounts/
retailers may be the most criti-
cal, and the most easily under-
stood. Multi-state retailers need
lotteries to create standardized
programs so that they do not
have to interface with multiple
varied software and data trans-
fer programs like they do now.
Presently, these multi-state re-
tailers need to create different
sets of procedures for interfac-
ing, sending and receiving data,
with each individual lottery. It
is very inefficient. We need to
develop the API’s that enable
us to provide the most seamless
data transfer across all jurisdictions. That
means collaborating to build the API that
provides one standard with which the re-
tailers can connect.
There are different ways to enable ma-
jor retailers to access the data. I think the
way to start is get a pilot program going.
Something simple that would enable the
multi-jurisdiction retailer to start getting
certain reports and information the same
way from multiple jurisdictions. Then we
can build from that foundation as we ac-
quire the knowledge and competencies to
develop API applications. Instead of trying
to implement an API that would be robust
and comprehensive enough to address all
the things we know need to be done, we
need a way to prove that it works, and
demonstrate the benefits to both Lottery
and retailers. We need to build consensus
and a collaborative process that includes all
stakeholders, including the vendor com-
munity, the lotteries, and the retail chains.
APIs are not new to big box retailers. API’s
are already in extensive use by these large en-
terprises. Every individual lottery will ben-
efit by enabling the large retailer chains to
do business with us. We all know that, but
we need to think nationally. The investment
in building the API would pay off huge in
terms of sales and net funds to good causes.
Development costs are an obstacle. But the
benefits, the ROI on those costs, are pro-
found. So we need to figure it out together.
The API involves a lot more than just
sales data. We need to start with a pilot pro-
gram, but we also need to realize that the
long game of an API includes a wide vari-
ety of applications, many of which may not
even be known to us right now. What we do
know now is that we need to have a secure
way to transact data with multi-jurisdiction-
al organizations. Thinking about the entire
lottery business model and process, API’s are
truly a vital step to unlocking the full po-
tential for Lottery to serve its stakeholders.
Perhaps the best way to start is to collaborate
with a multi-jurisdictional retailer to build
the API pilot that meets their specific needs.
We need a smaller-scale pilot program to
manage costs and enable everyone to embrace
the project. But shouldn’t the more ambitious
long-term applications of the API be baked
into the process from the beginning?
Yes, but a pilot program is
necessary to ensure that the time and re-
sources invested in the API include the fea-
tures that are relevant. The pilot will mini-
mize the costs of adjustments that are likely
to be needed along the way. Of course,
the whole process should be implemented
with a view toward the end result of a fully
featured API. And to do that, we need the
active participation of all lottery stakehold-
ers, and definitely including our retail part-
ners. If we can provide them relevant and
consistent data, they can then easily con-
vert the data forms to whatever
works best for them. Since the
retailers already interface with
other CPG supplier API’s, Lot-
tery will benefit by the input and
guidance of our retail partners.
So implementing an API that re-
quires multiple lottery jurisdictions
to agree to common standards and
protocols is very do-able. There are
no intractable obstacles to making
If we say we can-
not go forward unless we have the
agreement of every jurisdiction in
the United States, it’s never going
to happen. I would add that, from an oper-
ations perspective, if we never did anything
in the New York Lottery until it was perfect,
we never would have launched anything.
Why did Cash4Life start with only two
states, New York and New Jersey? Because
we couldn’t get others to agree and commit
their limited resources of staff and time.
Now there are seven states in Cash4Life.
And I think the expansion of Cash4Life into
multiple states prompted further expansion
of the Lucky-for-Life into even more states.
(Cash4Life and Lucky-for-Life are almost
identical games, the main difference being
the prize payout percentage.) Once people
see the benefits proven out in the market
place, they want to jump on board. We just
need to get that traction going for the API.
Start with a handful of state lotteries and
expand from there.
The investment in building the
API would pay off huge
in terms of sales and net funds
to good causes.
Development costs are an
obstacle. But the benefits,
the ROI on those costs,
are profound. So we need to
figure it out together.