Transformative Technologies and Lottery

IGT’s Vice-President for Innovation and Lottery Information, Paul Riley, gave a fascinating presentation that touched on digital identity, apps, 5G and blockchain. For IGT, digital opportunities in the lottery market mean making the most out of mobile opportunities.

A mobile identity?

“People’s phones equals their identity, passively and actively”, Mr Riley kicked off his presentation. He added that, in his view, mobile phones could become a digital passport for people’s identity. IGT’s emphasis on the importance of mobile is very much in keeping with tech companies worldwide. Apple and Google are investing $20 billion a year in research and development.

However, the way people use their mobile phones is also evolving. This can be seen with the way people use apps, for example. While there are still huge volumes of apps being used, app consumption generally is slowing – with many experiencing what Mr Riley terms “app fatigue”.

Digital opportunities such as 5G and blockchain have the capability to positively transform the way consumers play the lottery. 5G, for one, has the “possibility to transform the consumer’s experience through the device”, including benefits such as fast download speeds and latency. For lotteries, this can mean the prevalence of new features such as the “Buy Now” feature on Facebook Messenger, that enables the purchase of a lottery ticket on the app itself. Mr Riley showed the audience screenshots of this new feature, which cleverly uses social media as a tool to facilitate the purchase of a lottery ticket. “Consumers will tell us how to keep consumer experience fresh”, he adds.

Unlocking Blockchain

An analysis of various technological trends over previous decades suggest that new technologies spike in popularity before reaching a “plateau of productivity” after five to ten years. According to IGT, blockchain is expected to be on the “plateau of productivity” in the next couple of years and thus is deserving of a closer look at its opportunities that it presents. Mr Riley explained that data works in zeroes and ones, with each piece of data assigned a unique fingerprint. Further, blockchain is one-way meaning that no one can figure out the initial part. Crucially, any data manipulation impacts the entire chain.

Blockchain-based gaming applications, such as Kibo, TrueFlip and FunFair are already in existence. In these applications, players are paid back in bitcoins. Further, blockchain can also be used for inventory tracking.

In the resulting Q&A, Mr Riley was asked about the security of phones, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. He suggested that more transparency, in the way of notifications to consumers, is to be expected.

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