New Zealand’s national lottery Lotto NZ has begun a major upgrade of its MyLotto website and mobile app, designed to improve the performance of its digital products as its customers migrate online.
The project, which is due to be completed by early 2021, began in 2019 and involves a NZ$25m (£12.5m/€13.8m/US$16.3m) investment in technology.
Lotto NZ chief executive Chris Lyman explained that the overhaul was being carried out to ensure high quality of service for its online customer base, with its current, “ageing” website needing improved to meet higher demand.
Since the country first went into lockdown in March, which saw the lottery’s retail outlets closed, online player numbers have increased 33%.
“We have significantly more people buying tickets online now than ever before. Nearly 200,000 people have registered to play online since 25 March – to put this into perspective, this is the number of new online players we would expect over a two-year period, not four months,” Lyman said.
“This week alone 32,000 people have registered to play online, with around half of those from the Auckland region.”
Prior to March’s lockdown, 25% of Lotto NZ sales were online, compared to 75% in-store, but for the draw on 16 August, 40% of tickets were purchased online.
“We sold around 2.5m tickets for last night’s draw, and over a million of those were online. This is the most tickets we have ever sold online,” Lyman added. “This slowed down our processing significantly, and unfortunately led to delays.”
Lyman admitted that interim improvements made so far had caused some issues on the site, such as slow processing speeds and poor customer experience, for which he “sincerely apologised”.
The project due to be completed in 2021 will ensure the back-end processes are more robust, and that the site can deal with higher traffic. This will then be followed by a complete replacement of the lottery’s gaming system in 2024.
“The timing and costs are still being worked through, however this work will cover a full replacement of the back-end gaming system that supports MyLotto, and also includes our terminals in retail stores,” Lyman said.
In July the lottery published its forecasts for the 12 months to 30 June, 2021. It expects sales for the period to decline 8.4%, though for online’s contribution to rise to NZD$418.3m.