A successful new add-on game called EXTRA launched by IGT Italy increased play on one daily draw game by 23% in the first month, providing an interesting model that lotteries around the world may adapt to their own draw-game portfolios.
To see how well innovation and tradition can work together, look no further than the Italian market.
In a nation where 40 percent of the adult population plays the lottery at least once per year, there’s an ongoing need to fulfill the expectations of existing player groups while evolving the portfolio to attract new players and retailers.
Yet direct advertising to players is banned in Italy, and competition with other forms of gaming entertainment is extremely high.
Against this backdrop, Italy’s largest operator and supplier, IGT, takes a disciplined approach to innovation that includes in-depth consumer research to inform, design, and test games that appeal to diverse player groups.
A prime example is the popular new add-on game “EXTRA.”
The EXTRA add-on launched on March 16, 2022, on IGT Italy’s daily draw game MillionDAY, following EXTRA’s successful 2020 debut on the IGT monitor game 10eLotto.
“EXTRA is the only optional game that enhances MillionDAY by giving players’ numbers a second chance to win,” said Silvia Vicari, IGT Italy Product Management Senior Specialist, who oversaw the program. (See sidebar for details on how to play MillionDAY and EXTRA.)
EXTRA’s game mechanics ─ and several new marketing ideas for the game that adhere to Italy’s law and regulations on advertising and promotion ─ offer potential models for adoption by other lotteries in Europe and beyond.
INNOVATIVE MARKET RESEARCH
In the year following the successful 2018 launch of the MillionDAY base game, the advertising ban that had come into effect in 2019 represented an obstacle to growth, and sales had begun to level-off. A team led by the IGT Italy Market Research & Insights group initiated some specific research to gather player feedback on the game in order to identify the likes and dislikes of the overall gaming experience in a real gaming environment and identify ways to support it.
The top insights:
Winner Awareness - Although MillionDAY’s original prize structure was focused on the promise of winning €1 million, players perceived the frequency of wins as being low ─ for both the top prize and the lower tiers. This perception was not helped by the national advertising ban on games of chance, which hinders winner awareness.
Playing Habits – The cut-off time for playing MillionDAY for the original 7 p.m. draw time was found to be too early for many players’ habits and routines. About half of players (46%) reported an “out of time” experience, when they missed the window to play at the point of sale.
In 2021, IGT Italy tested the concept of a new optional game for MillionDAY based on its new add-on for 10eLotto, called “EXTRA.” The EXTRA add-on would provide MillionDAY players with a second chance to win a prize, improve the frequency of wins, and partially redistribute the payout toward the lower prize category.
The team then performed market research to determine player interest. Using IGT Italy’s proprietary player community, Lottery Explorer, they conducted interviews via mobile phone with current MillionDAY players as well as players of other draw game who were aware of MillionDAY.
The new proposal was widely accepted by the interviewees, who perceived it as clear, easy to play, able to increase their chance to win an exciting top prize, and offering achievable lower-tier prizes.
Researchers also found high acceptance for a second proposal to change the draw time from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., with 96% of players interviewed being positive or neutral about the proposed change.
The new draw time would broaden the opportunity to play MillionDAY to include those whose work requirements or daily habits prevented them from placing a bet before the cut-off time.
The IGT Italy Product Management team then worked to transfer the “EXTRA” mechanic for 10eLotto to MillionDAY. They chose to adopt similar branding of the EXTRA add-on to create an association between the two EXTRA games, supporting familiarity and understanding.
The new EXTRA option and the later draw time of 8:30 p.m. launched on March 16, 2022, simultaneously on physical and online channels. (See sidebar for “How to Play” details.)
PHYSICAL & DIGITAL PLAYER COMMUNICATIONS
A key issue was how to make players aware that they could now enjoy the EXTRA option on MillionDAY, and that the daily draw time had been extended for greater convenience. It’s an issue that operators around the world commonly face ─ even without the added challenge of a national advertising ban.
The IGT Italy team drew on its extensive B2C marketing experience to devise specific player communications for physical touchpoints (playslip and point-of-purchase materials) as well as digital touchpoints, including IGT Italy’s “My Lotteries” app, the Lotto Italia website, and monitors running the 10eLotto fast-play game.
They redesigned the main playslip to call players’ attention to the later daily draw time of 8:30 p.m., highlight the new availability of the EXTRA add-on game, and clearly convey the rules and cost (see figure).
A separate “multi-bets” playslip, which allows players to bet more than one combination, conveys the information in a similar fashion, along with the option to add EXTRA for each chance played.
The IGT Italy marketing team also designed and tested special interactive posters for distribution to 4,000 retail locations. The posters feature a series of MillionDAY and EXTRA “Quick Pick” playslips that are perforated, so players can conveniently remove one. A QR code is included for the retailer to scan when a player presents the ticket for purchase. Lotteries that have struggled with awareness may consider adapting any of these interesting ideas.
The IGT Italy team also designed an informational motion-graphic leaflet as well as teaser shows for the point-of-purchase monitors, 10eLotto monitors, the My Lotteries mobile app, and the Lotto Italia website.
Included in the teaser campaign was a countdown banner designed for the mobile app, which highlighted the number of days remaining until the launch of the EXTRA add-on and reminded players that it was coming.
The day of launch featured additional banners on the mobile app and the Lotto Italia website with a dedicated landing page, again reminding players of the new draw time (see figure).
A FOCUSED PLAN TO ENGAGE RETAILERS
Matteo Wingfield, IGT Italy Store Improvement and Communications Specialist, who oversaw the retailer communications plan, notes that the team followed a carefully paced schedule of B2B outreach.
As with the player communications, these materials clearly articulated the benefits of the new add-on game and conveyed the key changes multiple times to support awareness and understanding. The retailer communications plan included:
- Focused emails and digital messages sent through the gaming terminals
- A digital campaign to engage retailers in training courses, highlighting the new aspects of MillionDAY and EXTRA
- Video training on the EXTRA option
- A special preview and reminder communication on the day before launch
- Launch-day communications
- Dedicated web pages with related news, FAQs, and a guide for sellers
- Shipment of more than 38,000 point-of-sale kits in waves to retailers across the sales network, with suggestions on how to display the materials. Top sellers received a special new playslip display, and all retailers received promotional posters, stickers, and newly redesigned playslips
- An online request form to receive an additional kit with the new point-of-sales materials dedicated to EXTRA MillionDAY
In the first month, the EXTRA add-on game was played at 97% of the retail locations, and thanks to the postponement of the draw time, the total number of daily wagers placed after 7.00 p.m. was three times higher than in the week before launch.
The various communications earned a high open-rate of 83%, five points above the average. Prior to the roll-out, the team also teased the launch of EXTRA with a video celebrating MillionDAY’s 200 previous top-prize wins, urging retailers to “stay tuned for something new.”
Complementing and reinforcing all of the other communications were two full-page print advertisements created for the retailer trade magazine La Voce del Tabaccaio. One focused on the novelty of the EXTRA add-on, and the other on reminding players of the draw-time change. The message on one ad ─ “There’s always a second chance for your clients” ─ further encouraged retailers to let players know about the new EXTRA option and an “EXTRAordinary” new experience.
The first month in which the EXTRA add-on game was available saw a 23% increase in sales over the pre-launch and play at 97% of the retail locations.
During the same period, the new draw time of 8:30 p.m. also proved highly attractive to players, with the total number of wagers placed being three times higher than the number that were placed in the pre-launch week, when the draw time was still 7:00 p.m.
The changes are off to a good start, and the IGT Italy team believes there is further room to grow. It was a challenging time to launch the latest EXTRA add-on game in Italy – not only with an advertising ban but also pandemic-related restrictions that prevented people from lingering as they otherwise might at the point of sale. Yet EXTRA demonstrates the possibilities for delivering impressive performance with the right game, research, thoughtful player marketing, and a thorough retailer communications plan. For detailed information about the EXTRA add-on game, please contact IGT Italy Senior Director Lotto Product Management and Development, Stefano.Mariani@IGT.com.
HOW IT WORKS
MillionDAY + New “EXTRA” Add-On
IGT Italy launched the hit draw game MillionDAY in February 2018 to fill a gap in the Italian draw-game portfolio between lottery games with weekly draws and faster-play games with multiple draws per day.
For a modest ticket price of €1, players of the MillionDAY base game choose five numbers out of 55 for a chance to win cash prizes – including the top prize of €1 million – in a five-number daily draw that was originally held at 7 p.m. The game can be purchased in both the retail and digital channels, on IGT Italy’s “My Lotteries” app, and on digital retailer sites.
Over the next two years, the operator introduced new ways to play the base game (i.e., multi-bets, system-bets) before successfully launching the second-chance add-on game called “EXTRA” in March 2022 and moving the daily draw time to 8:30 p.m., to provide more time to place bets.
Players can now purchase the EXTRA option for €1 over the base cost of €1 per bet, using the same five numbers played in MillionDAY. After the five numbers are drawn for MillionDAY, players participate in a second draw of a further five numbers from the remaining set of 50, providing them with an EXTRA chance to win.
Players who match at least two numbers or more in the EXTRA draw win dedicated prizes, with a prize structure independent from the base game.