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Virginia Lottery drives participation via mobile initiatives

November 7, 2011


The Virginia Lottery's mobile site

The Virginia Lottery is making mobile a marketing priority with a strategy that includes QR codes, MMS, a mobile-optimized Web site and an alerts program.

By going mobile, the Virginia Lottery is trying to increase the program’s participation by taking certain elements paperless. The Virginia Lottery is working with Hipcricket on this initiative.

“The Virginia Lottery recognizes that mobile phone usage is pervasive in the United States and in Virginia, and that subscribers are using their phones for more than just calling and messaging,” said Eric Harber, chief operating officer of Hipcricket, Kirkland, WA.

“There is a significant opportunity to continually interact and engage with players,” he said.

Bet on mobile
The Virginia Lottery is using multiple mobile touch points to spread the word about the state lottery.

The company’s mobile-optimized Web site at lets consumers learn about the lotto and all of the different games it offers.

Additionally, players can view the latest winnings and find the nearest retailer to buy lotto tickets.

The mobile site also ties in with the Virginia Lottery’s social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and Youube.

Consumers can also enter sweepstakes and use a gift finder function to track down the perfect game for friends and family.

The company is placing QR codes on lottery vending machines, which users can scan to learn more about each game and recent news.

Consumers can find games that match their friends and families

Additionally, consumers can opt-in to an SMS program. The alerts program lets consumers receive alerts with the winning numbers in lotto games.

Users who opt-in to the SMS program will also receive alerts when the lotto jackpots are high.

To opt-in to the service, consumers can text a keyword to the short code 82568.

Each keyword represents a specific game. For example, if consumers text the keyword MEGA, they will receive updates for the Mega Millions game.

The state lotto is also using MMS to promote its games. Users who opt-in to the alerts program will be sent the company’s TV spot.

The video clip includes a mobile call-to-action that consumers can follow to the company’s mobile site.

“By providing real-time information and alerts on the mobile subscriber’s terms, the Virginia Lottery is using mobile and Hipcricket’s platform to increase engagement and promotion participation,” Mr. Harber said.

“The idea is to give the subscriber the choice,” he said.

Full winnings
By incorporating multiple mobile channels, the Virginia Lottery is maximizing the number of consumers who can interact with the company.

Instead of letting consumers purchase tickets and games through the channels, the Virginia Lottery is driving ticket sales and traffic by educating consumers about games.

Mobile gambling is a tricky area for marketers in the United States because of nation-wide regulations.
However, mobile gambling has been most significant in European countries, which has different regulations than the U.S.

Most recently, a study from Juniper Research found that European consumers who used online gambling were likely to play games from their handsets (see story).

“The goals of the program are to increase engagement with players, communicate in a targeted and timely manner and ultimately encourage participation,” Mr. Harber said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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