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API’s are imperative for the Lottery

industry to meet the needs of the mod-

ern retailer. I think we have good sup-

port from the vendor community. We

just need to accelerate our efforts. We

all have IP and our R&D investment

to protect, but collectively we need to

pursue the best possible solution for the

industry as a whole. The single API is

not technical rocket science. It just re-

quires that we collectively come together

to establish that solution and implement

it on the back end.

Gary Grief:

Do we have the right

contractual relationships and business

models with our vendors to move us

from where we are to where we need to

be regarding API?

Gardner Gurney:

I think we do have

the right contractual relationships. It’s

about being creative. When you write

an RFP, insert language requiring the

vendor to commit to research. It doesn’t

even need to be specific, but it should re-

quire a commitment to invest a specific

monetary amount to research within a

pre-set time, like 12 or 24 months.

Carole Hedinger:

Any lottery can

write in an RFP a requirement for either

open systems or the ability to connect

with open systems. The modern RFP

should look much different than it did

even a few years ago. We need to think

about how our needs have evolved, and

future-proof by thinking about how

they will be evolving over the next num-

ber of years.

Gary Grief:

Terry is the chair of the

NASPL retail subcommittee. Tell us

where we’re going with that.

Terry Presta:

We have to get into the

retailers’ point-of-sale system, and the

API is the best way to do that. In my

first year as director, our largest retailer

of lottery products, increased from 12 to

20 facings. After a year, they reduced us

back to 8 because we were slowing up

their lines. We’re really not in-lane any-

where in groceries in America because

they’re not going to put up with us slow-

ing their lines down. That’s why it is so

important for us to get into the point-

of-sale in whatever fashion that takes.

API’s are a key component to making

that happen.

Retailers know they need to sell our

product. We are sometimes frustrated

because they tend to think of Lottery as

a “managed” category as opposed to a

“growth” category. Well, there’s a reason

for that. We treat our own product like

it is a “managed” category. If we cared

about growing sales, we would meet the

needs of our customers, i.e. the retailers,

for improved IT and operational sup-

port systems, starting with a standard-

ized API. Right now, retailers think of

Lottery as a product they need to sell

because it draws customers into the

store and if they don’t sell it then the

customer will go to the competition to

buy it. Their main goal is to not lose

money on Lottery and not let it slow

down their lines too much. That mind-

set is just not a great recipe for driving

sales. We need to show them that we

mean business. We need to treat them

like a customer, help them decrease the

cost and increase the profit for them to

sell Lottery.

It’s not just about enhancing service to

our retail partners. The open API bene-

fits us too. It increases the speed to mar-

ket of new technologies and new games.

It enables third-party innovation to be

implemented at a fraction of the cost to

replicate the deployment across differ-

ent IT platforms. These are benefits that

would clearly translate into increased

sales and net funds for Lottery.

Gary Grief:

How can we make the

cashless initiative and API work togeth-

er to expand our retailer footprint and

make the point of purchase easier for the


Gardner Gurney:

Cashless and APIs

line up perfectly together. In New York,

for the past three or four years, we’ve

been using redemption of instant tick-

ets at self-serve. When someone redeems

their ticket at self-serve, they can im-

mediately play—they don’t have to take

cash out of their pocket. Sales were

maybe $10,000 a week in the beginning,

and now we’re doing $2 million a week

in self-validation at self-serve. It makes

it easy for the player to continue to play

with their winnings. This is an example

of how an API enables a cashless applica-

tion to make it easier for the consumer

to play the lottery.

Gary Grief:

The feasibility of innovat-

ing becomes a matter of cost and ROI.

And isn’t that about getting everybody to

agree that the benefits of implementing

the standard API exceed the costs?

Carole Hedinger:

We need to start

having this discussion. Vendors and lot-

teries need to be clarifying the costs, the

values, the details of implementation,

and work it out. Enabling standardized

API’s that operate across multiple lotter-

ies is certainly not an issue that will solve

itself or work itself out over time. We

need to get actively engaged, address the

issue head-on, find the common ground

of what we want, decide on an action-

plan, and make it happen.