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Supporting the Billions of Powerball

Posted by sumairdutta on Feb 3, 2016 3:52:47 PM

There have been two-three major topics of discussion here in the US at the start of 2016

  1. Star Wars
  2. The stock market
  3. Powerball

If you haven’t been paying attention, most of the US was wrapped in Powerball frenzy all the way up till Jan 9, 2016 when 3 lucky winners split a grand total award north $1.5b. It was the largest sum awarded in US lottery history. There were reports of long waits and lines as folks lined up to buy tickets and ventured down the fantasy of “What will I do with the money?”

Powerball is a service story. All the machines that print tickets need to be up and running to insure that demand is met. A machine going down would lead to havoc and broken dreams.

We’re fortunate that our expanding community here at TSC contains an organization that plays an integral role in service and support tied to Powerball equipment. That organization is Scientific Games, headquartered in Las Vegas Nevada. We recently sat down with David Douglas, VP of Service Management, to learn more about Scientific Games and to get a first hand account of the madness of Powerball. This post is just a snippet of the entire interview that is available on our InService Podcast series page.

TSC: David, Thank you for joining us. The best thing about stories like this is that you get to learn a lot of the behind-the-scenes. Can you tell us a little bit about Scientific Games and your role there?

DD: Scientific Games is a leading innovator in the global lottery and regulated gaming industries, with more than 300 customers on six continents over the last 40 years. The world’s top-performing lotteries and gaming organizations partner with Scientific Games for game content, technology, customized programs and managed services that engage today’s players in new and exciting ways, provide solutions for both traditional and interactive channels – and ultimately, increase revenues. Over the past two years we acquired WMS and Bally Technologies, the #2 and #3 gaming companies in the world. Our customers include all casinos around the world, just to name a few; Harrah’s, Caesars Entertainment, Seminoles and many, many more. On the Lottery side we partner with PA Lottery, MD Lottery, OK Lottery, Iowa Lottery, etc.

I have the pleasure to lead the Service Management Team consisting of almost 900 employees in NA. We provide excellent service to our customers at casinos and retailer lottery locations across the US. I’m responsible for our call centers and field service organization, depots, scheduling teams, field engineering and support staff.

TSC: The 1.5b dollar question – How is Scientific Games linked to Powerball?
DD: As I mentioned, SG provides a turnkey solution to state lotteries. We install a data center and communication infrastructure within the state; manufacture and install the communication equipment and lottery terminals at retail locations; and provide the on-going support for the state lottery to run and sell instant and on-line lottery tickets, like Powerball.

TSC: What has the beginning of the year been like with all the attention to Powerball?
DD: In two words, CRAZY BUSY! My teams are providing service to the retailers to ensure our terminals are optimal and they have adequate supplies to sell lottery tickets to the general public. The 1.5B Powerball jackpot was historic given that the previous largest jackpot was only $656M. Between the $950M JP that was not hit on January 9, that eventually rolled in to the $1.5B on the following Wednesday, we did a significant amount of work in only 4 days. It was an EPIC time!

TSC: Did the frenzy on Powerball create capacity or demand problems for your support/field service organization?
DD: Just a few stats I can share:
• Our systems processed 82,000 transactions per minute at the peak. BTW that more than Visa, MC and American Express combined during their peaks.
• We distributed an additional 15 million bet slips and 125,000 ticket rolls through the entire run, with virtually no emergency supply calls, over a 10-day period.
• We monitored 35,000 retailers selling $4.7 million Powerball wagers per hour at peaks.
• I’m very proud to say, we maintained exceptional field service response times, and retailer call center average hold times of 25 seconds on the last two drawing days.

TSC: What are the lessons learned from this Powerball cycle – in terms of best practices for the future?
DD: Just to make sure we have enough raw paper on hand to create TS and play slips and get them to our sites so no retailer runs out of supplies. We are looking to at a few additional reporting tools to help us manage consumable demands. Furthermore, cross training of gaming techs to support peak demands based on business strains.

There’s more to our conversation with David around the impact of Powerball as well as the focus of Scientific Games in 2016. You can access the full conversation here.

Topics: News, Field Service, 2016 trends, planning, powerball, scientific games

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