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Maryland Lottery launches mobile marketing program

The Maryland Lottery added yet another channel to its arsenal with the launch of a mobile marketing program that could drive more ticket sales from consumers within the state and outside as well.

The state lottery has tapped Acuity Mobile, Greenbelt, MD, to support a mobile marketing program that will include announcements on jackpots, promotions and new games. The one thing the Maryland Lottery Mobile program won't do is allow actual gaming on a mobile phone since it is not permitted in the state.

In this Q&A, Acuity Mobile president Alan R. Sultan explains the rationale behind the lottery's move, how the opt-in text messaging program works and how users can register for it by texting a keyword to a short code or online at The interview:

Is this the first state lottery to go mobile?
Several lotteries today offer text messaging services.

Over the coming weeks, as we deploy the other components of the offering, we will be unveiling many industry firsts that use mobile to make lotteries more fun and engaging for players. Stay tuned.

What's so unique about this effort?
First off, CBS Radio Baltimore is a key partner in this offering, which opens up many promotional and content opportunities.

This program is designed to not only drive ticket sales, but to make the lottery programs more interesting and engaging for players.

By combining a strong radio presence, text, WAP and specialized applications, we have a unique opportunity to really create best practices on how lotteries tap the potential of mobile.

Who's the target?
Folks in the state of Maryland will be the target audience, but anyone can participate.

How does it work?
As with many Acuity Mobile clients, the Maryland Lottery is using a phased approach -- start with text to build a mobile database, then transition over to targeted WAP sites and custom applications.

Phase one is going well with many thousands of active users on the text service text -- text PLAY to 635688 (MDLOTT) for up to seven messages a month on hot lottery topics and special promotions -- plus jackpot announcements and soon winning numbers.

Starting in April, we'll be rolling out applications and WAP sites, with some great features planned for the app that will promote all parts of the lottery and what the latest and greatest is, including winning numbers, jackpot information, scratch-off, Keno and other game information as well as cashing information and Buddy's Best Bets.

Can they actually play the lottery on mobile? Or is it just announcements and alerts?
Today, the Maryland Lottery is not permitted to have actual gaming on a mobile device in Maryland.

Anyone else doing something similar in the U.S. or overseas?
There are lotteries offering winning numbers via text.

There are several states offering basic lottery services by text, but to the best of our knowledge this will be the first deployment of a complete offering across text, WAP and applications.

What's the advantage of going mobile for a lottery?
Mobile is ideal for lotteries, based on the ubiquity and the personal nature of the medium.

Lottery players are very loyal and have an ongoing need for information, things like keeping abreast of winning numbers, jackpot sizes, new games, retailer locations and the simple fact of always having this information in their pocket makes mobile a key piece of a lottery director's marketing strategy.

Plus, many players don't have access to a PC -- their phone is their computer.

Can this be replicated across other lottery programs?
Yes, the Acuity eMap Platform is designed to be easily configured for other lotteries with different content and business rules so that they can have their own offerings without needing to develop anything custom.

This allows us to have an offering live in a short period of time at a very low price point.

How will the Maryland Lottery promote the mobile program?
This is one of the really special components of this program, with CBS Radio on board. There are many ongoing, high-profile promotions in the works.

Additionally, the Maryland Lottery has really embraced mobile as a viable medium and is promoting the offering on its Web site, special events, printed on tickets, on the electronic displays at point of purchase and even at special kiosks at NFL games in the state.

What is the lottery's objective with this program?
It's all about servicing the player and creating a channel for ongoing communication, a conversation, with information, fun interactive games and other information.

Plus, it allows the lottery to provide interactive marketing to players without access to a PC -- a prime consideration for their demographic.