Real Gains through Simulated Play!

A new look for lottery

And I mean a new ‘looking for’ as well as a new ‘look’. Rather than sticking to game mechanics that have simple, obvious math defining the outcome probabilities, let’s ‘look for’ play value first. Get the probabilities by numerical simulation (teaching a computer to play).  The grid above could be worth significant money, in the game I describe in NASPL Insights February 2019!

Testing Lottery Advertising: Both Wins and Draws Count

How is grand-scale research on lottery advertising like grand-scale research in agriculture? No one does it, who must thrive or fail according to the outcome. With my friend Jade I discuss tests of smaller scale, and we agree that there is usually something to be learned from a well-constructed test of advertising, even if the results are not what everyone wanted. After all, don’t we want to know what not to do? NASPL Insights August 2017


The Dashboard According to Jade

In my continuing discussion with Veronique, Jade, and their colleagues at the ad agency, Jade emerged as the champion of the view that the end-effect of actual sales is likely the most sensitive measure for demonstrating the combined effects of all kinds of lottery advertising and promotions. Advertising efforts may aim to influence sentiment, and they may be effective, but the player is more likely to express this by spending an extra dollar, rather than by changing the way she responds to a survey question. Further, although our efforts may be focused on a particular game at a particular time, we hope the effect of these efforts is more diffuse and longer-lasting. This suggests a measurement strategy aimed at detecting improvements across the portfolio, which I am glad to implement as the Dashboard According to Jade.

No Really- I’m On Your Side!

The methods of hypothesis testing I learned as a scientist are applicable to many situations, including testing the effectiveness of advertising. The “null hypothesis” – the assertion that nothing has changed – is central to the method. This has the effect of putting me (the testing expert) in a position that feels adversarial, to those who are trying to show an effect of their work. In NASPL Insights June 2014 I recount how my first encounter with a client exposed both my methods, and their feelings.

Automating the Lottery Instant Game Supply Chain

In NASPL Insights January 2012, I report on the Business Rule Test (BuRT) project. A six-month project at WA Lottery showed that a fully automated system supported retailers as well or better than the inside sales/telephone sales that was standard at the time of the test. One key to the success of this project was to provide the sales representatives a way to provide information to the system based on their local knowledge. Another key was to harvest higher-level data from the gaming system to understand which games were trending in the marketplace. I posited a set of business rules, implemented them as code on a generic computing platform (VBA/ Excel!), and compared consumption of instant tickets from retailers who participated in the test, to a control group. The test retailers saw a sales increase.