Published: April 20, 2020

Jeff Anderson, Executive Director, Idaho Lottery COVID-19 Thoughts from Fly-Over Country

I’m sure all of our teams have thought a lot about what things look like when we as a people fully emerge from the measures used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s interesting to see the differences in perspective based on what individual people have experienced.

Those who are fortunate enough (or not, I suppose, as the case may be) to telework while obeying shelter-in-place orders had, I’m told, an experience like never before.  It feels “safe”.  Or not.  Social distancing was generally achieved, groups of ten or less not so much, when shopping for food with 205 of your neighbors.  Of course, a spouse or two were heard saying “honey, I married you for better or for worse but not for lunch, please go back to the office”.  I suspect these folks are invigorated by seeing their friends and colleagues in person again.

Those who were out each day on less crowded streets serving the public at grocery stores and C-stores and home improvement stores, delivering goods (plenty of liquor but not enough toilet paper) to warehouses or retail stores, stocking shelves, patrolling the streets, putting out fires, saving lives, caring for the sick, and everyone else who had to venture out to do their jobs had a different experience.  This was me.  For some it seemed “normal”.  For others, weird.  For some, scary.  For me, just weird.

Those who were quarantined for a time or couldn’t telework but lost lots of human interaction on a daily basis had a first-time experience.  The Pastor.  The candidate.  The waiter.  The bartender.  The flight attendant.

These are surely unprecedented times with tremendous uncertainty.  The economy has taken a major body blow.  How we interact between and among people changed but will, in my view, return to normal.  That holds true for us and the bonds we have with our retailer customers, our player customers, our beneficiaries, and each other.

Here’s the point as it relates to our industry:  we’ve learned something new about our relationships and where glaring gaps exist in our operational plans.  That new learning includes opportunities for:

·          a renewed appreciation for one another

·          real-time examples of the importance of leadership in a crisis

·          how we show appreciation to our people for their example in caring about our customers

·          the importance of tuning up that lottery COOP plan

·          being nimble in scheduling work and from where that work takes place

·          the importance of traditional lottery products in providing “normalcy” for people’s daily lives

·          how much we depend on social environments for a good chunk of our business

·          how important iLottery and other new methods of path-to-market are

·          what is truly “essential” and why

We are a resilient industry.  We do important work.  People count on us.  Let’s get on with it.

Remembering those who have suffered,



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