Were you always in the industry? If not, what was your journey?
I began working at the Georgia Lottery at the beginning of 2018, which was my entry into the industry. Prior to that I served for 15 years at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, holding a variety of roles including the Deputy Commissioner of Global Commerce. Following that, I served as commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia, where I oversaw the state’s 22 technical colleges and 135,000 students.
What is your role at the Georgia Lottery today?
As the president and CEO of the Georgia Lottery, my focus is to help us fulfil the Corporation’s mission to maximize revenues for HOPE and Pre‐K, ensuring that Georgia’s students continue to have access to these important educational programs. I am proud to say that the Lottery has seen tremendous success with returning $1.21 billion to the state of Georgia for fiscal year 2019.
What brought you to industry?
As I had experience working within the government, education and business, the transition to the lottery industry felt natural. I feel very fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to lead an incredible team to the bottom line of creating revenues to help students in Georgia, a mission I care about deeply.
How was the transition into the industry?
Very hospitable and welcoming. I received phone calls on my first day from colleagues at other lotteries and vendors–supporting me and wishing me well in my new role. It has been a great experience to join this industry.
What was the biggest learning curve?
I knew that, if I really wanted to succeed in this role, I had to get to really know the products, what our players valued, and the dynamics of the lottery industry in depth. It had to be more than just at a high level.
What are the objectives of the lottery in the future?
We have to continue to grow, grow, grow. It’s never a good idea to allow ourselves to survive off the success of our existing portfolio and not consider future change. We must always be reviewing our portfolio and seeing how we can make it even better for the people we serve.
What are some of the ways you’re improving?
We have achieved year-over-year growth by maintaining a portfolio of games that are fresh and relevant to our players. Our daily game players are extremely important, so rewarding these players throughout the year with promotions to keep them engaged has been a priority. In addition, we aim to establish best-selling practices at retail, expand our footprint in social environments where we sell Keno, and be visible to our consumers through our advertising initiatives.
Our instant game strategy continues to focus on innovations such as: optimizing play style and top prize mix by price point; creating unique value propositions; giving players second-chance opportunities; ensuring that we have prize structure diversification; and leveraging the advancements in printing techniques that provide players new engagement experiences.
Additionally, improving our online offering has been a top priority for us. We recognize the value of our app and the digital world based on the usage and feedback we’ve been given and constantly strive to improve our product. We will continue to evaluate and optimize our iLottery platform according to the wants and needs of our players.
Can Georgians expect any new games into the market in the foreseeable future?
Absolutely! We are thrilled to announce that we will be launching Cash Pop in December. Cash Pop is a draw game that will be offered both at retail and iLottery. This is the first time that we have launched a game in both channels simultaneously.
Due to the simplicity of Cash Pop, with players selecting one number from 1 to 15, we are positioning the game to attract a new player while still appealing to our loyal player base. Cash Pop will be a great addition to our portfolio.
What would you say are the biggest challenges that the industry, as a whole, faces?
The challenge is the same that it was 20-30 years ago. We have to remain fresh and relevant to our players and know them well enough to understand their needs and desires, which are always evolving. However, I wouldn’t refer to it as a challenge but rather an opportunity. It keeps what we do new and exciting for our players and our staff.
What would you want people to know about the Georgia Lottery and its people?
Georgia is fortunate to have a great core player base. We are proud of the people we serve and the games we offer. If you’re visiting Georgia, take time to enjoy the products at one of our Atlanta airport locations or at one of our 8,600 retailers across the state.
A big thank you to Gretchen for sharing her story.
If you’d like to share your story about your experience in the industry, please contact Vanessa Garro Peeters at firstname.lastname@example.org