Public Gaming International Magazine March/April 2021

35 PUBLIC GAMING INTERNATIONAL • MARCH/APRIL 2021 T he pandemic upended plans for everyone in 2020, particularly the operators of social spaces, who have been operating at limited capacity throughout the past year. But by harnessing the many advantages of self-service, the New Jersey Lottery was able to turn disruption into an opportunity to support the state’s lottery retailers and players in ways that will continue to be ben- eficial even after the pandemic has receded. For the past few years, the New Jersey Lot- tery has been focused on expanding Quick Draw, its version of keno, a monitor game drawn every four minutes that lends itself to play in social spaces. As part of that e€ort, New Jersey had planned a major rollout in March 2020 of slimline IGT GameTouch™ Draw vending units, optimized for self- service sales in social environments. The ensuing pandemic delayed the launch of the self-service units. Not only that, as was the case around the world, the related lockdowns and limita- tions on indoor activities took a toll on daily business for the state’s bar and restaurant owners. When the Lottery was eventually able to roll out the first wave of GameTouch Draw units in late September, the many advantages of the new machines were immediately evident to retailers. From Downturn to Upside • Adds Entertainment Options Restaurants and bars that received the self-service machines could now o€er patrons a whole new option for fun and entertainment when traditional o€erings like karaoke and trivia were no longer possible. • Removes a Major Barrier to Entry Given that most establishments are still operating at reduced capacity, owners appreciate that the self-service units add revenue for their business with- out using sta€ to sell tickets. • Supports Success The Lottery’s strong onboarding and promotional support familiarizes patrons with the machines and helps ensure the retailers’ success over the long term. “The majority of owners of social spaces want the sta€’s main focus to be food and beverages, so a vending machine like the GameTouch Draw is also an exceptional tool to help recruiters get new social spaces and expand the lottery footprint,” noted Emilio Regis, IGT Sales Strategy and Planning Manager. Further Advantages “Even with bars and restaurants at 25% capacity in New Jersey, the productivity from the new machines far exceeded our expectations,” said Adam Perlow, Vice President and Chief Operating O‡- cer, Northstar New Jersey, the Lottery operator. The state’s GameTouch machines sell not only Quick Draw but also the full range of in-state and multijurisdictional draw games. This variety provided another advantage when the large jackpots for Powerball and Mega Millions were rolling in early 2021. “Whenever you have huge jackpot runs, vending plays an extremely important role,” said Perlow. “In the weeks when the rolling Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots a€ected sales, the new GameTouch Draw machines were averag- ing $2,300 each per week, per machine. And since these units were for the most part placed with new retailers coming into the network, nearly all those sales were incremental. Built to Ease Channel Expansion IGT’s GameTouch™ Draw self-service vending unit helps overcome a major barrier to entry with social-space retailers by o€ering a new way to attract and entertain patrons without requiring sta” to sell tickets. The machines were key to a successful strategy by the New Jersey Lottery to gain incremental sales, o€er players new entertainment options, and support social- space retailers during the pandemic.