Organization considers future of lottery industry in wake of pandemic
By Kate Northrop
As businesses across every industry have been adapting to survive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) is taking a look at their own business practices to chart out their latest approach for keeping the Powerball game in the minds of lottery players across the nation.
One of their upcoming ventures includes a new Powerball Draw Show, a refreshed and modern rehash of the current draw show that airs live every Wednesday and Saturday night from the Florida Lottery studio in Tallahassee.
Rebecca Hargrove of the Tennessee Lottery, the outgoing Marketing and Promotions Committee Chair at MUSL, appointed members of varying states to run a smaller subcommittee that will oversee changes made to the live drawing show, consisting of Beth Bresnahan of Washington D.C., Gregg Edgar of Arizona, and Brian Rockey of Nebraska. The updated show will feature new background graphics, music composed with assistance from the Arizona Lottery's advertising agency, and edits to the script.
"Our objective going into this project was to create a modern, fun and thrilling backdrop that captures the anticipatory excitement of winning a life-changing prize," Executive Director of the DC Lottery Bresnahan said. "I believe we achieved this with new graphics, new music and tweaks to the script that showcase the winning numbers and complement the Powerball brand."
Along with the fresh new edits, MUSL will unveil new Smart Play draw machines that will be ready for service toward the end of the summer.
Players might also remember the first installment of the Powerball First Millionaire of the Year promotion from last year, where one player won $1 million in a live drawing right after midnight on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC. The special drawing will occur for its second installment, but with a minor adjustment.
"As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Powerball First Millionaire of the Year promotion has been slightly modified for the safety of all participants," Bret Toyne, The Executive Director of MUSL stated. "The finalists will have the option of attending the live drawing in New York or having a Rockin' New Year's Eve party at a local venue. Either way, someone winning one million dollars live on New Year's Rockin' Eve is must-see television."
Members of MUSL are searching for more ways to strengthen the national Powerball game after the Powerball Product Group announced its decision to determine its advertised jackpot based on game sales and interest rates and are looking for ways to appease and energize players in a time of lower jackpots and lesser minimum increases.
"This year has given each of us challenges never faced and new uncharted waters to navigate," Sarah M. Taylor said, who recently began her term on July 1 as MUSL President. "We must evolve and collaborate in order to contribute to the beneficiaries of each of our participating jurisdictions."
It is still unclear if or when the rules regarding the jackpot changes will revert back to normal, but in the meantime, MUSL says that it is focusing on acquiring players and keeping them engaged by concentrating on the versatility, evolution, and longevity of Powerball.
"The MUSL Development Committee is looking at a variety of options focused on increasing the player base, enhancing player convenience, and strengthening Powerball," Drew Svitko, Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director and Chair of the committee said.
To keep the game alive and expand its reach, MUSL said that it is also considering international solutions and partners.
"The Powerball Product Group and the [International Working Group] will continue to work together to identify the best markets to potentially conduct a pilot program for Powerball," Rebecca Hargrove, Chair of the IWG said. "Additional population has historically benefited the Powerball game, and international partners are an additional opportunity to expand the player base."