Erich Schuster

‘Like every big corporation, our thinking processes weren’t fast enough’

‘You will never find a clock on the wall in a casino,’ says Erich Schuster, chief information officer of Austrian Lotteries and Casinos Austria. ‘Casinos try to avoid things that conjure up the real world.’

‘I think the common impression of us is of a nice, old, well-established company,’ Erich says. ‘But we are actually willing to do innovative things and use new technologies. With an innovation management team, design thinking methods, an innovation hub platform and lean startup method, we are making big efforts to change our own culture. Startups can help us fulfill our expectations, collaborate and test new technologies, processes and business models.’

‘Like every big corporation and traditional company, we saw that, dealing with the digital transformation, our own thinking processes weren’t fast enough,’ says Erich. ‘We tried to dig out how to do it better, more like startups, and started dealing with them to change our culture while we helped them establish their company or business model.’

“Don’t follow corporate rules. Startups are small, they don’t have a big corporation’s processes, so they can do more.”

‘Traditional casinos try to hide the exit,’ admits Erich. But Austrian Lotteries and Casinos Austria have been working with the indoor navigation and positioning startup ‘indoors’ to help customers steer themselves between attractive destinations such as the bar and slot machines. We are also thinking about other solutions like iBeacons to help attract our customers to maybe a certain slot machine.’

The businesses are also in ‘intensive talks’ with a couple of startups that are looking at how conversation commerce and chatbots could be used for customer service and promotional activity. ‘Currently we are working on a prototype for customer service to answer questions,’ says Erich. ‘What are the lucky numbers of the last draw? When is the next draw? Where can I collect my winnings? The answers are based on the chatbot. The next step is to figure out a push to say: ‘The next jackpot is €30 m and the draw is in thirty minutes. Would you like to take a quick pick?’ We can offer distribution to our registered customers in the first step.

Casinos Austria has twelve casinos in the country, with around three million visitors a year, while Austrian Lotteries runs the national lottery through approximately 5,000 retail outlets and an online site, win2day.at.

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