Public Gaming International July/August 2023

20 PUBLIC GAMING INTERNATIONAL • JULY/AUGUST 2023 As the Florida Lottery’s Deputy Secretary of Product and Sales, Justin Rock keeps his eye on all trends that might impact his state’s industry-leading sales. While COVID initially looked like it would negatively-impact business, the Florida Lottery, along with most lotteries across the country, emerged stronger than ever. But challenges continue to emerge. “We work in a business where cash-based transactions are incredibly important. Yet more and more, other industries, including some of our channel partners, are going cashless,” he said. “Our largest retailer, Publix, which makes up 20% of our sales, has added self-checkout which seemingly contradicts their brand philosophy of customer service. Racetrak and Circle K, other important retailers, are also adding self-service. What does this all mean for the future of lottery? How will lottery continue to thrive when so much is changing at our retail locations?” Helping Justin answer these and other critical questions was a panel of lottery veterans: With almost ten years in the lottery industry, between DC Lottery and NC Lottery, Frank Suarez sees the overall modernization efforts at retail as a call to lottery to change with the times and perhaps gain new audiences. “We always talk about evolving our games and methods of distribution to appeal to the younger players and that group is used to not interacting with people for their retail purchases,” Frank said. “They buy online and use self-service at retail. Some of the newer lottery vending machines are exactly what this new generation of players is seeing in other purchasing experiences. We need to continue to work even more with our retailers to modernize lottery to align with the expectations of next generation consumers and with the way consumer packaged goods marketers are meeting those expectations. Single ticket activation, for instance, is one step in the right direction as it allows us to position lottery products anywhere in the store. We just need to meet the retailers’ expectations and make it easy for them to sell lottery.” Burbank Herndon helps lead the Retail team at Scientific Games that works through these retail-related issues every day. The issues can be challenging but he said they are solvable. “As an industry, we’ve done a good job of providing a vending machine that works within the retail environment,” he said. “Easy to understand, smooth purchase, quick in and out of the store. Instead of coming through the checkout lanes, the player purchases their lottery tickets on their own in the store. We have to continue to invest in self-serve technologies. Add more bins, add debit and credit in states where it’s legal, add accessible selling features. I agree that adding in-lane is important, especially when the largest grocery store chains are telling us that up to 70% of their business is now self-checkout. We have seen that when convenience stores add self-checkout, lottery sales drop because the consumer doesn’t see lottery games at the counter and the retailer has not enabled lottery purchases through the new technology. These issues have to be solved quickly P A N E L D I S C U S S I O N Following is an executive summary of a one-hour panel discussion held at the PGRI Lottery Expo Conference in Miami. Jay Finks, Executive Director, Oklahoma Lottery Maxwell Goldstein, Director of Sales & Marketing, Carmanah Signs Burbank Herndon, Vice President Sales - Retail Solutions, Scientific Games Terry Presta, Head of Business North America, Abacus Lottery Solutions Frank Suarez, Executive Director, DC Lottery Retail modernization and Optimization: Applying the most progressive tools, methods, and 'best-practices' to drive sales at Retail Continued on page 34