US Lottery Web User Experience Review
What can US lotteries do to improve their digital offering?
US lottery sales generated over $80 billion in 2020. It’s a growing industry, which continues to expand and give back to its communities. Despite the pandemic, lotteries have been going strong and continuing to offer various draws to their customers.
US lotteries are predominantly retail-based. However, over time, as online gambling has become legalised in many states, more operators have started offering iLottery, instant win games and an option to purchase tickets online. Some are even going further to offer sports betting services with other operators which increases their revenue and provides more options for their customers.
With the ongoing demand for digital services across all industries, there’s no reason why lotteries should hold back. Offering online lottery services to enable customers to engage with the product remotely and creating a multi-channel experience could really boost lottery sales and loyalty. It could also open more opportunities for expanding the online gaming services with sports betting.
We reviewed some of the largest US state lotteries to find out what their websites currently offer, how they promote digital services and whether there’s any room for improvement, as well as expanding their offering online. For more information about creating lottery apps or moving retail lotteries to a digital space, take a look at our Best Practices For Lottery App & UX Design.
The reviewed lotteries are Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
This is the first of our series of reviews into the US lottery market, and gives a high level UX overview. Watch this space for in-depth reviews in the coming months.
New Hampshire Lottery
The New Hampshire Lottery home page offers lots of promotions on upcoming draws and different games with big prizes. All potential winnings, jackpots, draw dates are signposted very well.
Registration and Login buttons are also very prominent, as well as the Shopping Cart next to them, so customers can start picking tickets before they log in or register. The registration form is broken down into 3 steps and is easy to complete. Live Chat and Help are also available from the registration screen in case customers need assistance.
As the lottery also has retail outlets, there’s a clear banner with a call to action to find the nearest store location. However, the fixed location of Find a Retailer is in the footer. This means that the customer might easily miss the banner, and might also spend longer looking for this page, which can be frustrating.
Draw results are positioned lower down the page, but are still prominent and easy to find. Customers can expand them to view more results, but it doesn’t clutter the page otherwise. There’s also a link to Winning Numbers in the header so customers can easily access this for a full overview.
The design and UX are simple and clear. However, the website looks dated and the available services would benefit from a restructure. For example, highlighting more instant win games, as well as adding animations with jackpot counters to create excitement. Different banners make the website very busy and it’s difficult to focus on any particular feature or find something specific due to the amount of text and imagery. This should be more consistent and allow space for key content to stand out.
In addition, listing any charity or community associations and previous winners could make the brand more aspirational, and potentially increase engagement. The current look and feel seems rather impersonal and very transactional. However, using bright colours and graphics makes the website appealing and friendly to its customers.
New Hampshire Lottery offers big jackpot draws that customers can buy online. They also have iLottery and instant win games available that are customised to display themed games first (e.g. Halloween, Christmas).
There are demo plays available in case anyone wants to find out what the games are like before spending funds on them. There is also an option to switch to money mode, which is a nice UX feature to simplify this process.
The website also lists all in-store games with prize money and ticket prices. This is of course useful for customers that are planning on buying tickets from a store, however, it’s not easy to browse or find a specific game.
There’s a page for each ticket with a breakdown of odds and winnings, which is very clear and useful. On the other hand, this can potentially be turned into an online lottery service too.
The website lists a number of resources that customers could use, such as information about iLottery, rules, news and FAQs. The site even has a Sports section for the DraftKings Sportsbook which is a great cross-selling opportunity. However, there is no obvious information about responsible gambling apart from the footer.
There is no reason why New Hampshire Lottery couldn’t offer an app, bridging the gap between online and retail. All services could be designed to fit mobile screens, including housing retail-bought tickets, and being available on-the-go for many customers. In addition, they could communicate with their customers through push notifications and take advantage of native features which aren’t available from the web.
The Michigan Lottery home page lists different available draws and games with a focus on subscribing online for different jackpot draws. It also lists recent draw results, which is useful for many customers looking to check on recent or older drawings. They also announce recent winnings for instant win games, which comes with an eye-catching animation. This is a feature to reassure customers that there are cash prizes to be won at all times. By clicking on Find a Retailer, the customer can find out the nearest branch and if a particular game is available there.
However, aside from the winners animation, the design of the home page is very static and it lacks excitement. The UI could do with a more modern update. Space could be used much better. For example, online games could be highlighted a lot more. Many features, such as draw results, could also be more compact to allow for other features to be displayed on the home page. Results can be expanded when needed and the user wouldn’t need to scroll through them for too long.
Similarly, using more animations, draw countdowns and highlighting game content in a more engaging manner would make the page more interactive.
The registration is the same as New Hampshire. Registration and Login buttons are prominent, as well as a Shopping Cart next to them so customers can start picking tickets before they log in or register. The registration form is broken down into 3 steps and is easy to complete. Live Chat and Help are also available from the registration screen in case customers need assistance.
Michigan Lottery has a variety of instant win games on its website. They are easy to browse and customers can even filter them by online or in-store, which is very useful. Demo plays are also available for anyone wanting to see what a game looks like.
While the filters are very useful, they take up a large amount of space on desktop. The mobile solution is much better with the prominent search option and filters as an expandable section. This would be a better layout for desktop. More differentiation between the online and retail games would also improve the UX of this page. At the moment, without filtering, the content is difficult to scan and consume.
The website lists a number of resources that customers could use, such as number pickers, big win tickets, how to play and finding a retailer. They also have separate pages for promotions and responsible gambling.
These are very useful but basic, and it should be the minimum that an operator could provide. The website could really benefit from a more vibrant UI for each section to make them more engaging. This would especially work well for number pickers, where customers could save their numbers for future games.
Again, this would also make a great app, with different games, tools and easy results finders.
New York Lottery
The New York Lottery website UX is slightly different from the app. Its focus is also to provide results, as New York doesn’t have an online lottery yet. It clearly lists promotions and recent draws, so it’s easy for customers to check their tickets. But its UI looks a lot more dated. In comparison, the app feels more native and all the content is displayed in a very visual way, which can create some engagement despite being a results only app.
The New York Lottery lists the most recent draws and results, so customers can easily find them on the homepage with further instructions. For example, the How to Claim a Prize section explains how customers can claim their winnings and provides an FAQ section for additional information.
The website doesn’t have the customer account, whereas the app does. This is a disjointed user experience, as the customer should be able to access their account from both channels.
New York Lottery displays lots of promotions for the games. They also list recent winners which makes the brand more realistic as customers can relate to the winners and imagine themselves winning too.
The website UI is consistent and there’s a good use of bold colours that are consistent with the app. It looks modern and this branding is instantly recognisable. While the website UX is simple, it seems that the New York Lottery app could be more useful for customers. The app offers nearly the same content as the website, plus animated number pickers and a customer account where these numbers and tickets can be logged. The app also shows more personality and is a great example of a product that can add value to customers despite the limited services.
While there are no games available on the website, any rules, odds, prize breakdown and prices are clearly explained. So customers can be informed before they go to the retail outlet.
Draw results are easy to find and they break down lots of information for each ticket. It’s also very easy to look up tickets in the past. However, the way draw pages are designed, they don’t seem to be creating excitement or encouraging the customer to engage with the lottery. Although the page explains how to play, this content seems rather secondary. Since customers need to go to a retailer, the option to find the nearest branch doesn’t seem like a primary CTA, so the website doesn’t encourage enough.
One of the best features of the app are themed interactive number pickers that customers can use if they want a random selection. They can run them multiple times and save numbers in their account. This feature seems to be missing from the website too. It adds a lot more character to the product and should appear there too.
The website offers two additional Second Chance games - NYL Extended Play and Collect ‘N Win. The first one asks the customer to download an app, which doesn’t explain what the app does nor does it show any app previews. The second is also an app, but the page provides a better explanation of the game, how to play and what to expect. Overall it's very disjointed from a customer experience perspective.
The New York Lottery app is mainly used for checking results. We’ve already talked about it here. However, despite being a results only app, it has a great animated number picker and a fun design. It would be good if New York Lottery used some of the app features on their website. The website would benefit from some engagement and activity on the page, such as countdown to draws and gamified number pickers. Pages that link to any games that customers could instantly play need to have a preview, whether it’s apps or websites, so customers would see what they contain. There should also be a bigger focus on finding the nearest retailer, since customers can’t buy a ticket online. In addition, offering a customer account would also be useful for storing tickets and numbers, as well as storing purchased tickets.
Pennsylvania Lottery’s home page displays games, promotions, different types of content and links to check results. Some of the content is seasonal (Halloween or Christmas) which is relevant and could create more engagement for customers. It’s a clear and simple layout, but it could use more interaction to create excitement and urgency.
The registration is all on one screen, which looks slightly daunting. It would be better to break it up into smaller steps (clearly labelled or numbered) so it would appear easier and quicker to complete.
The games section offers all available draws, as well as How To Play and Winning Numbers. Customers can even watch drawings which might be an exciting feature and it’s something not every brand offers. Customers can easily check their tickets. The site also lists scratch cards, keno and other games that are available in store. There’s enough information about the rules and potential winnings, so users of all levels are supported.
Customers can click on Play Online or to go to the iLottery website to play and purchase tickets online. On the iLottery page, customers can view demo games, which allows them to take a look at a game before spending any funds. Games are easy to browse and some of them are seasonal (Halloween, Christmas), which is a good way of offering relevant products to many customers and making their experience more interesting.
Under the More section, Pennsylvania Lottery displays content around previous winners, contributions to communities and content about the company, as well as listing retail locations.This content is useful and creates a more personable image of the lottery.
Overall, the website is quite static and feels dated, however, the graphics in the header are great and relatable to the locals. It could do with animations, some more exciting visuals and a more modern UI. The navigation to the iLottery also needs to be clearer, as well as listing available games.
The Georgia Lottery home page largely focuses on promotions, placing big banners across the entire screen. The real-estate given to the banner on desktop is excessive and negatively affects the user experience. Other features seem secondary. While they’re available to navigate to, they could be brought to the user’s attention better. The mobile layout is better with the banners assuming a more ‘standard’ size on the screen.
The registration and login pages are clearly labelled and easily accessible. The registration form is a single page, so it could be split into smaller sections to make it easier to complete.
The footer with the Where To Play search is a great feature and the customer can find it very easily.
The games menu is daunting and it’s hard to understand what types of games are on offer straight away. The menu is split by draw, online and second chance games, but it’s hard to read as the menu is so busy on desktop. On mobile, main navigation items, such as Games, are tucked away in the burger menu or below the fold on the home screen. This content could be brought to the user’s attention in a much more effective way.
Customers can purchase tickets for draw games online or simply find information about the rules or potential winnings. The layout of each game content is very simple and easy to navigate.
Georgia Lottery also offers Diggi Games which are instant games customers can play online. They are listed by themes, but customers can filter them by other categories too.
Georgia Lottery offers lots of content for the players about how to claim prizes, how to play, FAQs, winning numbers etc. There’s lots of useful information for everyone. Benefitting Georgia is a great section to show what the lottery does within its state and how it helps communities.
Overall, the website stands out with its vibrant UI, however, despite the vibrancy, it does look dated and would benefit from a more modern design. While the top navigation is clear on desktop, the mega menu that opens from the section is busy and hard to read. However, on mobile, a lot of important content is not easily found. This needs to be redesigned to help customers navigate without having to search for their desired content. The website also lacks urgency and excitement. It could benefit from animations and more interactive features.
The Kentucky Lottery home page focuses on promoting jackpot draws and in-store scratch cards through large banners. The site also promotes its online instant games, which customers can try for free before they commit.
The home page is clean and lists various features for customers to navigate to. However, it’s very static apart from the moving graphics on the banner (seasonal promotion).
The registration and login pages are clearly labelled and easily accessible. The registration form is a single page, so it could be split into smaller sections to make it easier to complete.
Kentucky Lottery offers instant win games and some draw games online. They are clearly labelled and easy to play. Instant win games are easy to browse, and customers can try a demo game or learn about the rules very easily.
It’s also easy to purchase tickets for draw games. The game page offers quick picks, additional lines, and the opportunity to play multiple draws. The customer can also check the chances of winning which are clearly displayed too. Other ‘offline’ games also have a clear explanation on each page, as well as a breakdown of winnings.
However, the section Instant Play is repeated in the main menu and a subsection within Online Lottery. This should not be appearing twice as not only is it confusing, but it also negatively impacts SEO.
The website lists previous winners which is a great way of showcasing this. However, the page is very long and has lots of empty space. This could be laid out better and presented in a more visual way. It is also quite a static page and this section could be easily improved by introducing some movement into the UI.
There’s a great page Where’s The Money Go? Which explains how the lottery funds are spent across Kentucky. It uses stats, graphics and lots of colours, which make it a very positive page and something customers might enjoy reading.
Other content includes responsible gambling, finding the nearest retailer, how to claim a prize and FAQs. These are very useful but either have lots of empty space or are text heavy. There needs to be a balance between visuals and text, as well as presenting everything in a good layout that suits the customers’ needs.
Rhode Island Lottery
The Rhode Island Lottery site has a big focus on promotional banners. Some of them encourage customers to download the app, however, the graphics are so busy, it’s difficult to focus on a single message or action.
They also list various games with great content cards beneath the main promotional banner. These work particularly well on mobile. However, the cards are static and customers can’t really click on them for more information. They need to click on specific areas (past drawings or check my tickets) for that, which isn’t great UX and some customers might struggle to click on them due to poor accessibility.
Customers can easily navigate to different sections of the site and find relevant information. Customers can also easily find where to check winning tickets or find the nearest retailer. The registration form is broken into four steps and is easy to complete.
The Games menu only opens as a mega menu and not a page. Then the customer needs to select the game they want to play. This isn’t good UX and there should be a separate games page listing everything available for accessibility. For example, the Second Chance games page lists lots of content for players and they can select different sections as they browse. For mobile users, the games content could be brought much higher up the screen on the specific games pages, as there is a lot of wasted space.
The website offers lots of useful information to the customers. They can easily find draw results, available promotions, rules, find the nearest retailer and recent winners. The layout could be updated slightly to look more modern, but the use of vibrant colours is very good.
Overall, the website has elements of modern design and good UX, but certain sections like not having a full game page make it harder to use. It also lacks excitement and could use more animations.
We'll be reviewing more US lotteries and presenting insights into UX and online services to capitalise on iGaming opportunities as well as increasing customer demand for remote services. In the meantime, if you'd like any advice with your online lottery, get in touch with us below!
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