Public Gaming International Magazine May/June 2022

36 PUBLIC GAMING INTERNATIONAL • MAY/JUNE 2022 When leaders at the North Carolina Education Lottery made the decision to move to a full instant game category management program, it more than paid off. Five years later, NCEL is the No. 6 performing lottery in the U.S. for instant game per capita sales and has achieved 10.2% CAGR over the past four years. Behind the Scenes of an Instant Game Program That's Making a Difference for Education in North Carolina In 2021, the program has surpassed all sales projections. Instant game sales have doubled, with the category representing 70% of annual retail sales. The achievements were the result of new efforts by the NCEL to create the right partnership with the right strategies that would move instant sales from a plateau to the next level. That partnership began in 2017 with the NCEL and Scientific Games. The Lottery set an aggressive goal for instant game retail sales by 2026. A year later, Executive Director Mark Michalko arrived on the scene, bringing 20 years of gaming industry experience to the Lottery. Michalko wanted product solutions. He was interested in maximizing the use of data-driven analytics and research to responsibly grow sales and deliver entertaining experiences to North Carolina players. “We knew we needed to renew our focus on the products and leverage data to drive strategic business decisions,” says Michalko. “Our partnership with Scientific Games has proven that data has the power to deliver tangible results that grow sales and profits.” Mark Michalko, NCEL