How North Carolina Lottery Plans To Build On Success Of Digital Instants

To say the North Carolina Education Lottery is pleased with its Digital Instants’ performance is putting it lightly.

Through the end of February, the online lottery instant win games are far outperforming any expectations.

Because of that, the NC Lottery has mapped out ideas for what’s next in its iLottery plans and how it will continue to build revenue off its newest market.

Digital Instants with over $400 million in sales through February

The Digital Instants program launched for the North Carolina Lottery on Nov. 15.

The initial launch included eight games. Since then, a new title has been introduced every two weeks. Currently, 18 games are available for players with more on the way. Each offers multiple price points for players to choose from.

Through the end of February, Digital Instants have seen $406 million in sales, creating $52.8 million in gross gaming revenue. That represents 71% of North Carolina’s iLottery revenue.

At the time of the launch of Digital Instants, gaming revenue for North Carolina Lottery games that are just in-state games was down 4.9%. At the end of February, revenue was up 2.4% thanks to the Digital Instants performance.

Already reaching 420% of budget expectations

That in-state lottery revenue was -$21 million at the time of launch and grew to +$20 million through four months of Digital Instants being live. The Digital Instants performance is exceeding the budget by 420%.

Randy Spielman, Deputy Executive Director of Product Development & Digital Gaming for the NC Lottery, discussed why the state has had such great success during its lottery commission meeting on Wednesday:

“With each new launch of Digital Instants, it has been better than the prior one. With each new state that launches, it’s better and better. The beauty of our industry is we can kind of leverage those best practices from other launches and reach out to our counterparts and learn a lot from them.

“Our launch of Digital Instants is almost three times better than any other Digital Instant launch. And that kind of explains a little bit of why we’re performing so much better than what was budgeted. Our budget was based on prior launches of Digital Instant programs, most recently in Virginia. So, we’re doing almost three times what Virginia did. That’s where we’re exceeding expectations, and that’s the reason for exceeding the budget so much.”

What NC Lottery has planned next for Digital Instants

The North Carolina Lottery has big plans to build off the early success of Digital Instants.

Along with adding new games every two weeks, they also have intentions to introduce progressive jackpot games in April.

On April 9, “Bison Bonanza” will be the first progressive jackpot game to be part of Digital Instants. “Wheel of Bonuses” will be added on May 14. More progressive jackpot games will continue to be added in the summer.

“These progressive games have proven to be a very good acquisition tool. You’ve got a very marketable jackpot that you can kind of put out there and attract new players,” Spielman said.

The first Instant Win Gaming (IWG) product in North Carolina will be launched on April 23. It will be “Skeeball“, which is a branded game through Alchemy3. “Skeeball” will be an omni-channel launch for the NC Lottery, as it includes a retail scratch-off and fast play option.

“This basically affords us an opportunity to not only expose retail players to digital content, but even more importantly, the reverse. So, people that come to us and play a ‘Skeeball’ digital game, we can actually send them an offer to send them back to retail to engage with the retail version of that game as well,” Spielman explained. “So, this actually is a is our first opportunity to do that in a real seamless way, to try to try to drag those folks that are engaging with us only on the digital channel into retail to play the game.”

The omni-channel games will be an ongoing strategy for the North Carolina Lottery moving forward.

Digital Instants allowing player database to build

Since the Nov. 15 launch, there have been over 147,000 Digital Instant players in North Carolina. That has allowed the North Carolina Lottery to add 22,000 new players to its iLottery platform.

“Another big selling point of bringing on this Digital Instant category was our ability to attract new players,” Spielman noted.

On top of providing an increase in iLottery play overall, Digital Instants have been a big hit as part of the NC Lottery’s mobile app.

Thus far, 70% of the Digital Instant sales are coming from mobile lottery app use.

“We were the first lottery to launch with the games in our mobile app, so that proved to be a very valuable tool for us in launching because for those mobile app players, it provides the best experience for engaging with those games,” Spielman said.

Advertising and promo offers building on early success

The North Carolina Lottery has put an added focus on advertising and promotions for its Digital Instants platform.

Television and radio ads were on display starting in mid-January. The lottery also had social media and digital advertising campaigns to promote the online games.

One of the early promotions was for 10 free games of “The Lamp,” with a $10 deposit into a person’s account with the use of a specific promo code.

Since then, there have been promotions for multiple Digital Instants. Most center around a varied number of free games depending on a deposit into a player’s account or money spent on other games, like Mega Millions.


Photo by PlayiLottery

About the Author

Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis

Lead Writer
A member of Catena Media since 2020, Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer at PlayiLottery, where he handles coverage of the online and retail lottery industry in the US. He previously spearheaded news content at PlayMichigan, where he covered one of the most prominent online lottery industries in the US — among the many other aspects of Michigan's sprawling iGaming market. You can email him at [email protected].
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