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es on the day of launch of the e-newsletter,

and for the days following the launch. This

was our first significant foray into direct

mobile marketing, and we are very optimis-

tic about the potential of digital to directly

engage our known players. And that was

basically just broad mass market messaging.

Now we are working to customize and pin

point our messaging based upon learnings.

Where did you get 400,000 email addresses?

G. Gurney:

Some of them were from

the winning numbers app, some were from

subscriptions, and some were from people

that sent in winning tickets. We have held

second chance drawings for years and that

is a source for email contact information.

Now we are thinking about how to gather

more email information and really build

on this to develop an even stronger email

marketing campaign throughout this year.

With the new winning numbers app

we’ve also developed, through our market-

ing partner, fun ways to pick your lucky

numbers and interact with the NY Lottery.

We integrated illustrated scenes of New

York State into the app, like Niagara Falls

and mid-town Manhattan, to add local fla-

vor. We also have a feature that enables the

player to set the jackpot amount for draw

games of when they want to be notified

when the jackpot hits that point. We are

working on creating digital coupons that

are scannable to make it easier to use your

mobile device to play at the retailer or a

self-serve station.

You did not get many complaints from people

not wanting to receive the emails?

G. Gurney:

Correct, hardly any at all.

Keep in mind, we emailed only people who

had signed up to receive notices or some-

thing from us. And we make it easy to be

removed from the list if they want. We may

have had a couple thousand people ask to

be removed. But in one month alone, we

gained 20,000 new followers. We need to

look at the big picture and just make sure

we deliver relevant messaging and respect

everyone’s preferences.

What is your thought on managed jackpots, or

capping the jackpot of the big jackpot games?

G. Gurney:

Mega Millions and Power-

ball are two highly successful games. Like

any other product, they have to be man-

aged with a long-term strategy and with

an eye towards sustainability. Jurisdictions

sometimes change lottery directors, which

means we get different input and some-

times fresh input from the stakeholders of

these games. That makes it even more im-

portant for us to have a defined long-term

strategy in place. We all need to respect

the fact that these games serve the interests

and objectives of all participating lotteries.

We need to realize that every decision to

change something is based on the informa-

tion we have now about how to grow the

games. And that information changes over

time. Three years from now, we will have a

different perspective on what is needed to

produce optimal results. In spite of uncer-

tainties about how demographics, market-

ing methods, consumer preferences, tech-

nology, and everything else about what the

future holds, we need to continually push

to keep the games fresh and relevant.

More and more, we need to view our

business as a competition for the discretion-

ary spend, the entertainment dollar. That is

an important concept because competition

for the entertainment dollar is getting more

intense and innovating far faster than lot-

tery games are evolving. So I think capping

or managing jackpot size may well be a part

of working with a maturing product, and

trying to keep ahead of players, and keeping

them from getting turned off or tired of a

product. I would say it’s just good business

sense to stay ahead with known changes

in consumer mindsets and what consum-

ers consider important. The answer can’t

be that we just keep changing the matrix,

making it more difficult to win, in order to

drive the jackpot to higher levels.

Retailers, especially corporate accounts, need

advance notice to cross-sell and otherwise

help Lottery to promote its products. Does the

NY Lottery give its retailers advance notice

about the games to be launched in the coming


G. Gurney:

Yes, we do give retailers

advance notice. We know well in advance

what we are doing and have a pipeline of

Instants ready to launch as needed. Next

year will be the NY Lottery’s 50th anniver-

sary, and we are preparing games and pro-

motions to celebrate that. And we always

have a great set of holiday games which we

give the retailers lots of advance notice so

they can help us promote them.

We work closely with our retailers and

especially our corporate accounts to ensure

we are doing everything possible, or at least

making the suggestions, to optimize perfor-

mance. For example, there is a new feature

on a recently launched instant game - Gold

Castle. Months before launch, we started

demonstrating how the game would work

at the New York Association of Conve-

nience Stores Conference. Closer to launch

the sales staff was introducing the game play

to our retailers to make sure that they know

about it and hopefully help us to promote

it. Corporate accounts like 7-Eleven like to

cross promote products to promote their

high margin categories like food and bever-

So I think capping or managing jackpot size may well be a part of working

with a maturing product, and trying to keep ahead of players, and keeping them

from getting turned off or tired of a product.

Gardner Gurney Interview

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