The Ohio Lottery wants to start rewarding its loyal players.
The lottery commission is gathering proposals from companies to set up and run a customer loyalty program starting this fall.
Players would accumulate points for playing lottery games, then would be able to redeem the points for prizes, sweepstakes entries, instant-win games or second-chance drawings.
The program would include a website and mobile application and provide an incentive for people to keep playing — in addition to attracting new players.
It’s unclear how the program would work or what types of prizes would be provided. That’s the reason for seeking proposals, lottery spokeswoman Danielle Frizzi-Babb said.
“We’re asking for the plans to see what everybody comes up with and what can be offered,” she said.
The proposals, which must include the estimated cost for the Cleveland-based lottery commission, are due today.
Customer loyalty programs are commonplace nowadays. They range from casinos offering free hotel rooms and food to grocery stores providing discounted gas to credit card companies giving back cash on purchases.
“Loyalty programs make sense, and lotteries are no different than Coke or Pepsi selling a product in a competitive marketplace,” said David Gale, executive director of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries in Geneva, Ohio. “I just see it as part of a natural evolution of our industry. We have to be competitive.”
The Ohio Lottery finds itself competing heavily with new casinos and racinos in the state for discretionary spending by gamblers.
Gale did not know how many lotteries around the country offer such programs.
“It’s safe to say that it’s an option that we will see more and more lotteries looking into and probably implementing just because [loyalty programs] are in so many other industries,” he said.
Jack Weslati, manager at Jack’s Deli on Copley Road in Akron, said he sees the benefit in the effort. There’s a value in feeling like you’re being rewarded as a consumer, he said.
He noted that sales increase when the lottery sends out coupons in the mail because people believe they are getting a deal.
Yurvonicka Hatch of Akron, who plays instant games, said a loyalty program probably would encourage her to play more.
“I don’t need to, but yes,” she said with a laugh.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.