EL experts discuss (E)Instant Games developments
On the Portuguese ocean shore of Porto, EL’s experts on (e)instant games gathered from 9 to 11 May 2023 to discuss the development in this rapidly developing product vertical. As instant games and e-instant games are the fastest growing category of games in the EL members portfolio, it was not a surprise that this seminar was very well attended with some 120 participants. Next to the EL members, all important suppliers of these games were present under including EL Level 1 Partners Scientific Games and IGT & EL Level 2 Partner NeoGames. The whole seminar was graciously hosted by EL Member Jogos Santa Casa.
The seminar kicked off with an overview of the market developments, presented by Goli Dauvergne, Head of International Market Intelligence, FDJ and Member of the EL Data & Research Working Group. Goli explained the growth in this product vertical over all EL members, the French market developments with FDJ's leading instant games brand ILLIKO, as well as an insight into the development of ‘phygital’ instant games, the IDecide brand, that make a connection between the retail world and the online world.
Jonathan Parke, Director of Sophro and an academic expert in the field of games risk related research then provided an overview of what is know on product risk research and the implications of this knowledge to instant and e-instant games. He pointed at various (online) behavioural markers of harm related to risks in games as well as game characteristics that come from choices in designing games; mandatory limits, maximum stake size and game speed to name just a few. Jonathan concluded that a lot more research is needed to further understand the risk factor in instant and e-instant games.
Jonathan Parke was also a panellist in the panel on e-instant games, joined by Joni Hovi, SVP at Fennica Games and Raffaele Fiorini, Business Director of Instant Games at Nederlandse Loterij. The main question from this panel was how to either stay “in the zone” and follow a less risky path in offering e-instant games, or go “out of the zone” to be able to keep up with the offerings of commercial operators?
In his following presentation, Raffaele brought up the question if and how to use Artificial Intelligence (AI). He gave examples of the use of ChatGPT in general and the experimental use of the application EXPOZE to identify with AI what the best product placing for instant games can be in retail outlets. Asking himself if het could fire his dedicated brand manager Joyce Blok and replace her in full by AI applications, he concluded that the human eye and brain will be needed for some time before AI really takes over. If ever.
EL Level 1 Partner IGT presented its way of developing e-instant games and how the this process takes place. It was a good example of the specialists that are involved to make the games exactly to the need of the lottery operator.
Scientific Games, the other Level 1 EL Partner, presented the attractive concept of a second chance game, the Willy Wonka Challenge, as well as the digital extension of games as presented in France (IDecide).
NeoGames showed as EL Level 2 Partner, its possibilities from its NeoGames Studio and the work involved of designing e-instant or I-lottery games.
Great overviews of product and services oriented at the brick and mortar and the e-instant games were given by relevant suppliers and EL associate members with Pollard emphasising the omni channel opportunities within the instant games vertical, and Skilrock Technologies, looking into customer attraction.
A great example of how a creative idea on the development of instant games could change a market was presented by Kristians Purvins from the Latvian Lottery. They brought exciting and unique art pieces to their instant games, originally as an exclusive series for the 100th birthday of Latvia. Several years later, these tickets of instant ticket is still popular and continued with great success. The related art pieces are put in exhibitions and give national artists an opportunity to showcase their best art pieces.
A special insight was given by Vicky Scott from the North Carolina Education Lottery in the USA. Instant games are the dominant product category in the American market. Vicky explained that by optimising the instant games product portfolio in every detail, the North Carolina Education Lottery managed to become the fastest growing lottery in the USA!
The Polish lottery market was slowly but steady turned into an “instant games market first” over the past years. A dedicated operation with new games introduced every week and the development of attractive e-instant games turned out to be successful. It took almost a decade of work by Marcin Grzegrzulka and Mateusz Warpas (and others at Totalizator Sportowy) to achieve this. It sets an example in Europe of the importance of the instant games.
Bernardo Chagas gave, as Senior Product Manager and invited assistant professor at the Lisbon School of Economics & Management, an overview of the developments in the Portuguese market. For Jogos Santa Casa it is important to see if increasing price points for instant games can work for its players.
A last but not least presentation was given by the Product Manager for instant games at Lotto Hessen (Germany), Kristina Weber. She showed that with the right amount of “TLC” a almost given up product vertical as instant games were some years ago, can grow into a healthy business model, contributing positively to the player’s satisfaction. Lotto Hessen’s instant games are growing to a total sales of almost 100 million euros today.
The seminar presented a great opportunity to exchange and learn among the participants. Due to the Covid pandemic, it was almost four years ago that the first EL Instant Games in person seminar was organised and important developments in the markets emerged. The Porto seminar gave the opportunity to discuss this. Important outcomes lie in the line of the need for more academic research on the product characteristics and the implication for further product development, especially in the field of e-instant games or I-lottery.