A seamless user experience for hundreds of thousands of Belgian Lottery players

Published by Hendrik Deckers
August 16, 2023 @ 10:39 AM

The Belgian National Lottery is a unique player in the (online) gambling market. Their status as a socially and ethically driven organisation in a market full of highly profit-driven players is just one striking aspect. The question is, how can you compete whilst remaining true to your social responsibilities and ethical principles? At the CIONET round table discussion in June, Piet Van Petegem, CTIO at the Belgian National Lottery, elaborated on the role of the organisation's new cross-channel strategy and platform as a strategic asset. 

RT Adobe
With two million registered users, about 400,000 active online players per week and around €1.5 billion in annual revenue, retail and online combined, the Belgian National Lottery hosts one of the biggest Belgian e-commerce platforms. Despite the growing international competition and the limitations imposed on the National Lottery to compete against these rivals in the Belgian online betting market, it is a successful platform, totalling around €25 billion. “International players aren’t required to pay taxes in Belgium, and legal restrictions or ethical codes don’t hinder them”, Piet Van Petegem illustrates. “We, however, have ethics ingrained in our DNA. We will never apply methods to entice the players to invest even more money on betting, quite the contrary, in fact."
One way to make a difference in this competitive market is by providing a seamless and intuitive user experience, regardless of the channel or device that the user chooses. That’s why, several years ago, the National Lottery embarked on a migration project, merging three core environments into a single Player Portal, which combines the digital lottery environment for computer and mobile users and the generic site containing all information on the Lottery. This includes all societal initiatives supported by the Lottery’s profits in the domains of science, sports, culture and social aid. “This way, players and the general public can visit a reliable and trustworthy environment which offers easy and seamless access to various games, whilst at the same time, informing all visitors of the positive societal impact the Lottery has thanks to its players. It is no coincidence that each page includes ‘responsible gaming’ in the navigation”, adds Van Petegem.

Technical challenges 

The building and finetuning of this new portal took around three years of work for about 100 FTE (about half of them external). This was a long journey, but the amount of technical and other challenges to overcome was quite considerable. Combining the front-end and the back-end, integrating the user experience on computer, mobile phone and the retail environment into one single environment with one unique account per player was certainly not what one would call an average project. “Especially when you know what’s at stake”, agrees Van Petegem. “You have to ensure that players are enrolled in the right draw, regardless of where and how they play, whether on their mobile, at home, in their shop, etc. If you don’t get it right, and a player loses out on a big win, this could cause real drama.” Being a highly visible player also brings many security risks which had to be considered as well. “Our databases are continuously being targeted, so we needed to pay extra attention to security as well.”RT Adobe

The complexity of integrating various environments required a solid and user-friendly software platform. Using Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), they were able to merge the various CMS systems. Adobe software proved the right solution for other parts of the project as well. Adobe Analytics serves to improve the content based on usage analysis, and, by using Adobe Campaign, they can streamline their mailings and marketing campaigns and automate operational emails on password resets and other login issues.

Today and tomorrow: improving the user experience day by day

Currently, the new portal has been live for over a year now, and almost all migration issues have been cleared. “We could celebrate a happy first birthday”, laughs Van Petegem. The new, cloud-based environment not only provides seamless, cross-channel user experiences, but it is also a very reliable and stress-proof platform, he explains: “We can handle the weekly peaks of last-minute players on closing day of more than 7,000 transactions per minute effortlessly. Did you know, by the way, that this peak is not immediately before closing time at 8 pm, but rather between 6 pm and 7 pm? An interesting phenomenon!”

In the next few months and years, the IT team will continuously devote their efforts to further improving the user experience across all channels. But there are also other worthwhile projects ahead, concludes Van Petegem: “We are investigating how we can use analytics and AI/ML to predict possible addictive behaviour. That way, we can warn and interfere with users who might be moving towards problematic behaviour. Prevention is always better than a cure.”

Posted in:CIONET Belgium

No Comments Yet

Let us know what you think

You May Also Like

These Stories on CIONET Belgium

Subscribe by Email