Ade Repcenko – ‘Using AI to find cost-effective long-term solutions’

As a result of the impacts felt by COVID-19, traditional lottery operators in the industry have, earlier than expected, been awoken to the benefits of digitisation and having an online presence. 

Regarding this subject, Ade Repcenko, CEO of Spinola Gaming, has provided an explanation as to how the digitisation of lotteries can empower operators with a data-driven promotional strategy powered by cost-effective artificial intelligence (AI).

Expected to have taken another five years, Repcenko highlighted how the past few months have seen companies, which were previously reluctant to embrace technology, put into a position where they needed to look into ways of reaching their customers digitally and, as a result, has seen the sudden rush for digital transformation.

He said: “Embracing technology is the difference between looking completely out of touch, or being ahead of the curve. It is vital, especially in today’s market, for lotteries to be accessible and available online using the latest technology, and taking a data and intelligence-led approach is key.

“Digitisation brings with it a lot of data. Powerful, rich data that artificial intelligence (AI) can help aggregate, analyse and transform into relevant and understandable data sets that can be used to inform and give insight on players and their preferences.

“Harnessing the power of AI in this way helps operators understand their players better and enhances their user experience through analysis and segmentation, creating a real-time personalised experience for each and every player.”

He continued by discussing how providing a unique and customised service is key in terms of driving customer engagement, satisfaction and ultimate loyalty to brands. As a result, Repcenko described how AI-assisted targeted messaging could therefore be used to give current lottery players for smarter ads and offers.

This would work by identifying valuable customers based on their ticket purchase habits, and showcasing offers that would be of particular appeal to them such as ‘buy one get one free’. He explained how traditional lottery promotions do still work, however, the integration of personalised real-time digital promotion tactics has a proven track record of working much better in terms of generating a significant ROI and keeping a higher percentage of players active following large jackpot wins.

Discussing AI-assisted targeting, the Spinola Gaming CEO added: “This has been shown by operators such as Camelot, who through a hyper-targeted campaign, offered every casual Mega Millions player of the Illinois Lottery a free line of Lotto when buying a line of Mega Millions. 

“To be able to offer the promotion, Camelot needed to know a wealth of information to fuel their AI so that it understood players and responded with the right message or promotion at the right time. Thanks to using such a personalised strategy,  the players who were offered a free line of Lotto in the hyper-targeted campaign were twice as likely to continue playing after the MegaMillions jackpot was won when compared to a control group, and the campaign delivered an ROI of $8.89 for every $1 invested by the Lottery.

“Keeping players active long-term, even outside of huge jackpots is the target of every lottery. AI can help lottery providers achieve this by moving away from generic marketing tactics, and instead adopting a data-driven targeted approach. A prime example of this occurred after Camelot’s $400m Mega Millions Jackpot for the Illinois Lottery was won on June 9, 2020. 

“Active online lottery players in Illinois promptly dropped 22 percent the following week, as is to be expected after a large jackpot is won, however, assisted by AI, the Lottery was able to double active players in the week following the Mega Millions Jackpot win. This specific campaign reportedly achieved an incremental sales rise of over $10 for every $1 invested for the operator.

“The lottery market is anticipated to surpass $353.1 billion by 2026, and researchers say that within a few years most customer-brand interactions will be supported by AI technology in some way or other. There is a huge opportunity to use AI to find cost-effective long-term solutions which would support the ultimate growth of the lottery sector.”