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Virginia Lottery enriches security, communication via mobile messaging

Virginia Lottery is leveraging mobile messaging to enhance security and communication for players while building game engagement.

Using Hipcricket?s Ad Life platform, the lottery is giving players a way to securely store and manage all of their opt-in mobile phone numbers and learn if they are a winner after a draw is held. The move underscores how mobile can ease worries about the security of an activity while driving involvement in it.

?Mobile opens up a whole new channel for lottery systems to reach new players who prefer to interact via their mobile phone,? said Doug Stovall, president and chief operating officer at Hipcricket, Kirkland, WA. ?Lottery systems big and small have never been known to provide a one-to-one interaction with their players.

?Adding mobile capabilities like SMS and proactive game alerts makes the interaction feel more personal to the player, which will ultimately drive loyalty and ongoing ticket sales,? he said.

Winning ticket
Once players have purchased a Virginia's New Year's Millionaire Raffle ticket, they can text ?RAFFLE? followed by their ticket number to 82568, which is followed by a confirmation text that the information has been securely stored. On Jan. 1, players who submitted their details will automatically receive a text notification stating whether they hold a winning raffle ticket.

The texting feature creates an experience for the user that is like having someone check the user?s tickets for him or her after the drawing has occurred.

A dream of riches riding on a text.

?How many times have you purchased a lottery ticket and then you forget to check to see if you are a winner, or just forget you even purchased the ticket all together?? Mr. Stovall said.

?This feature removes the need to go check your ticket at the local convenience store by providing proactive game alerts that notify you via SMS to let you know if you are holding a winning ticket.

?Mobile enables lottery systems to deliver a more connected gaming experience to keep players engaged and build brand loyalty on an ongoing basis,? he said. 

All Virginia Lottery profits benefit public education in the state. In fiscal 2014, the 26-year-old state lottery system amassed profit of nearly $539 million. 

Virginia Lottery is increasingly leveraging mobile to engage lottery players in different activities.

In November, Hipcricket provided image recognition, MMS and SMS text messaging and database management for the lottery?s interactive Z-VA scavenger hunt game.

Zombie drops
Players can opt-in to receive text messages alerting them to recent "zombie drops." The more zombies a player captures, the more points he or she accumulates. Each point is an entry for prizes drawn at the conclusion of the game.

Mobile is ideal for lotteries.

To earn additional points, players can snap a photo of a Z-VA logo and text it to a provided short code. Once Hipcricket's image recognition technology confirms the image?s authenticity, players are taken to the game and earn bonus entry points. 

?Mobile is ideal for lotteries, based on the ubiquity and the personal nature of the medium,? Mr. Stovall said. ?Lottery players are very loyal and have an ongoing need for information and results.

?Adding this one-to-one interaction enables consumers to take control of their gaming experience and adds an element of personalization from purchase to the discovery of whether they are holding a winning ticket,? he said. ?The primary goal of this program is to make the games more interesting and engaging for players.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.