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A Lottery Of My Own

23 August 1996

It is always easy to criticize the efforts of others and then change your email address so the flames of anguish and protest are snuffed out in the lack of oxygen in cyberspace. "So then, smart guy, what would you do."

OK, I accept your challenge. Here is my first attempt to design a web site for a lotto game. Some of the concepts may not be possible yet; but, if they are good ideas, someone will come up with them.

First: Lotteries are about money and money is a serious business so I would get straight to the point at my site. My opening page would be quick to download and straight to the purpose...playing Lotto.

Page updated August 6th 1996First the page update Date.
SOUTH POLE LOTTO Very simple logo, quick to load.
Play LottoThis is what we are here for.
Next Game Saturday August 10thThe two dates work together
Today is Friday August 8th, local time 22.25 Remember when its Friday at the South Pole it's Thursday in the USA.
Jackpot Stands at US$ 15,000,000Gimme the money, that's why I'm here in the first place.
Select Your Game Numbers Now Grid Here I would have the numbers 1 to 49. To play, you click the numbers of your choice which will register on your Play Lotto
You Have Selected Lines. This would become part of an Auto return mail advice to you. As each line was filled the game would change colors and the next line lotto Game 1) 11,15,18, 24,29,30 lotto Game 2) 1,7,11, 35, 39, 43 (game) would auto select and the select panel would reset. A ping etc. to 10 games would be nice.
PAY The pay button would bring up the credit card information page for details to be entered or you might have ecash balance account to pay from. On this page would be the play button which made the entry and initiated the email confirmation. This mimics the real world transaction logic the player is used to.
Full Menu click Here This takes them to a choice list of past information, rules or whatever. If they want other information let them find it away from the Play Lotto Page.

Under the grid, I would have an auto pick function/random generator button which would make the numbers in the grid ripple and pulse for a moment and then select 6 numbers for a game...then start again for the next games. This would be a useful applet.

Another thing I would like to have is a "Play it again, Sam" button. This would link to a alternate version of page 2. This page would say "If you want to play the same numbers again", enter email address and ID code and hit "play". This takes us back to page 2 with last week's numbers loaded in the games played panel. My player proceeds as before.

Part two of this alternate page would have a multi-week option. The Play it again page would say do you want to play for more than one week? If yes, select 10,20,30,40,52 weeks."

Again this would show up on page two. "You have played this set of numbers for x weeks. From/to".

Second Page:

This would be my PAY page. Here, I would have a recap of the games played and the amount owing. The players account balance, if any, and the payment options. Credit card or ecash payment forms. This page comes up straight from the pay link.

When you play any form of player selection game in the real world, there are some basic steps.

  1. Find Lotto entry form.
  2. Select Your numbers.
  3. Pay the man.
  4. Get your receipt.
  5. The draw takes Place
  6. Check your numbers.
  7. Make next entry/collect winnings.
This pattern continues until or unless you win the big one or give up in frustration. Year in, year out, for a lifetime.

You will notice I have gone from Play to Pay without checking results. The most important thing to any punter is to get their bet or play on. This has to be quick clean and efficient. No time for distractions. No gimmicks or things that twirl. Can you imagine your impatience if your local lottery man took you page by page through the latest lottery advertising or showed you the new magic tricks he had learned?

The lottery player has a secret place in his/her mind where all their dreams reside. It is those dreams that drive the motivation to enter. It is personal and purposeful. It is not the time to sell them the idea of having their dreams come true...they have already decided that will happen. Now, they want to act on that decision.

Most keen players will check their results soon after the draw or at the time they make their next entry. They will assume, if they have not heard from the lottery, they didn't win the big one. I would have a separate results page with a different URL. I would auto mail this URL with each entry email confirmation for easy follow up.

Third Page:

Once my player had clicked the pay button on page two, I would take him to a new page while the email was sent in the background. This next page could be a bit more gimmicky. Once a player has their bet on, a very important issue to them, this is the time they relax and become interested in what else might be at the site.

The first interesting information would be last week's draw and prize payouts. with details of what happened to the big money (i.e. a woman in Hong Kong who develops software has won $10 million in draw 27). Players get a mixture of envy and fantasy from such information. Envy that it happened to someone else...fantasy that next week it could be them up there. It reinforces their own dreams. It reinforces the belief that my lottery can make it come true for them.

If nobody won, they don't mind. When a lottery jackpot is rolled over, the player says to themselves, "well, nobody got 'my money', I have another chance at it this week."

Now, I would be willing to let my web page designer geek lose. Now that the commercial part of the transaction is complete and I have the players' money, I am less concerned with what is done to him in the name of Hot Java. He might even enjoy the whirling logos and colored lines flashing.

There is also a great advertising opportunity here. My player is relaxed and dreaming of the big one. I could link them to Off Road Heaven, World Holiday Cruises, Dream Homes Of America. I will not tell them where to is their dream and it is very personal.

To keep them interested in the hope of working out a system to beat the laws of probability I might have an auto email; numbers drawn to date, least drawn, most drawn numbers they can click on to look at in their leisure time. This would save some bandwidth and keep the site free of people trying to work out which numbers to play while they are logged on. Note: I never ask them to download or create files...just ask and we will send it to you email.

For all my criticism of whirling, flashing, dinging, moving opening and closing thingos, I do see one area I would give my frustrated and resentful geek (who, by now, is plotting to hack into my site and bankrupt me) a free hand.

I would like to use email somehow to generate some real buzz with the winners. I would like all prize winners to be advised of their win by auto email. A big "Congratulations, you have won". Given the low cost of mass email, I may even email results to all my players.

If was possible, this is where I see an opportunity for an applets, a flashing pinging "Congrats". I think the player would not mind this, like a birthday card that plays music sent email.

Whenever you win, you are in a better mood. You don't mind a little delay or a bit of mucking around. Maybe all the email winning message says is "Important, Go to..." and this would link to a "congrats" page with as many applets as you want. A winner will wait. They may even enjoy, in a perverse way, the time it takes to load, like Christmas for kids.

The back link would auto identify the winner and load the prize details so it could read. "Congrats, Bill, you have won $50 in draw 28." Blink, ping, squeak, revolve, open and shut, flash. I don't care. Even a small win can make you feel good...the slot machine effect if you like.

In all of this, I have not mentioned language. Given that I am running a lottery from the South Pole, my only players are the citizens of cyberspace. As it is unlikely in the short term that I'll be able to compete with the sheer size of the prizes of the Florida, California, Texas or the UK, I must seek my players from countries where there is no lotto.

By using only hard currency, I might win business from people who have hard currency offshore as a safety net against the instability of currency in their own country. So, my site must be able to do all I have suggested in some important but very different languages. Another reason to KISS it.

Kiss? Keep it simple stupid.

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