With around 20% of the population entering the games of chance on a weekly basis, Loterie Nationale is the national lottery game for Belgium. With popular games such as Lotto, Euro Millions and Joker+ the lottery has an annual turnover of €1.2 billion.
Like the lotteries in many other countries, Loterie Nationale has significantly increased its online presence in recent years. In 2013 online enjoyed a 30% increase in the number of players and by the end of 2014 almost half a million customers were playing online with a revenue that would soon be more than 10% of all the lottery's revenues.
"Mobile first responsive web sites scaled to big screen desktops result in a suboptimal user experience" - Olivier Haine, Senior IGS Manager
Despite the rapid growth of online, Loterie Nationale did not have an elegant solution for the increasing number of customers wanting to use their smartphones to play games. Up to mid-2014 the lottery was unable to support any mobile play at all. This was evidenced by customers using mobile and tablet devices leaving the site before playing a game increasing three fold in 2013.
The existing site could not easily be changed to support mobile due to its extensive use of Flash technology. This, combined with the risks of replacing a system that was working with one that was not, and the pressure to deliver a mobile solution, meant that the roll out of a new site for all platforms was not viable. Instead, a new site, built in HTML5, would be built alongside the desktop site, which would be replaced with the new site when proven.
Loterie Nationale decided to create different layouts and subtly different processes for mobile and tablet. This had obvious advantages: the user experience would be fit for purpose whatever the platform and could be optimised for different input devices (mouse versus touch); screen sizes (large versus small) and screen format (landscape versus portrait).
Fast and Accurate Device Detection
Critical to the user experience was an extremely fast and accurate detection of the device landing at the website in order to send it quickly to the right site. Loterie Nationale chose 51Degrees, a device detection and optimisation specialist to provide this service.
51Degrees was selected following a market analysis process for a number of reasons. First, the company’s device detection is world leading, boasting both the fastest and most accurate detection in one package – more than 5 million devices can be detected in one second, giving Loterie Nationale the scale required for future growth. 51Degrees can detect more than a quarter of a million unique combinations of browser, operating system and hardware across a database of 25,000 devices that is growing every week. Essentially, if a smartphone or tablet hit the Loterie Nationale website, chances are 51Degrees would be able to detect it.
Technical and Operational Flexibility
"51Degrees enabled the Loterie Nationale to reach their initial goal; and supports the long term technology and business strategy covering a unified smartphone, tablet and desktop website" - Olivier Haine, Senior IGS Manager
Additional benefits of the solution included its support for Loterie Nationale’s .NET technological platform, the ability to support different mobile and tablet layouts and the capability to run two parallel sites until a single web site solution was available.
A further benefit of the 51Degree solution was the capability to roll out image optimisation for online advertising. Image optimisation across multiple screens, which can be landscape or portrait and of differing sizes is a common issue for all website owners. For sites that rely on advertising or promotional banners to drive revenue, such as Loterie Nationale, any reduction in the available screen space for promotions instantly reduces revenues.
51Degrees’ software detects the screen size of the device accessing the website and generates a tailored version of a single master high resolution image to suit the screen size and scale visiting the site. Importantly, from a performance perspective, the image created is sized to suit the screen resolution, meaning that the smallest possible volume of data needs to be sent from the web server to the device.
The implementation of the 51Degrees device detection and optimisation solution for Loterie Nationale has enabled the organisation to roll out a mobile solution quickly and effectively without having to impact the core desktop site. This has resulted in one of the key customer requests (to provide a mobile site) being delivered without an impact on the revenue-generating desktop site.
Effectively now Loterie Nationale can deliver a relevant online solution to any customer, whatever device they use to access the site, quickly and effectively. Early results from the mobile site are promising with 30% registrations coming from mobile within 5 months. As Loterie Nationale looks to extend its reach in the digital space it can move to a html 5 only solution when it is ready, providing a relevant and useable experience to players regardless of the device they use to access.
"51Degrees supported a top 3 customer request accelerating revenue from digital channels" - Olivier Haine, Senior IGS Manager
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