Case Study - Building A New React Native App for The Irish National Lottery

Camelot Lottery Solutions built and deployed a new React Native App for the Irish National Lottery, complete with innovative new features like biometric logins through Face or Touch ID, photo ID verification, single basket for multiple draw-based game purchases, and an exciting ‘shake’ feature that allows players to shake their phone to get a random line of numbers for their favourite game. 

Though the new Native App project was long planned, its importance was underscored by the changes to Apple’s iOS App guidelines that were announced in June 2019, that would ultimately result in the elimination of HTML5 Apps from the App store for lotteries. 

The result of the project is the Irish National Lottery’s first React Native App for iOS and Android. 

The Scope.

Working closely with the Irish National Lottery, the scope of the project and the features desired for its new App were precisely defined, including Ireland-specific responsible gaming protections, as well as popular games native to Ireland like the draw-based game Millionaire Raffle. 

The App also required a wholly redesigned game lobby for Instant Win Games (also called ‘e-Instants’ in some jurisdictions), single basket draw game transactions to allow players to purchase tickets for multiple games at once, advanced biometrics such as Face ID for iOS, plus some fun features to keep players engaged.

The Build.

Camelot Lottery Solutions built the mobile App for iOS and Android using the React Native framework. Employing an Agile Scrum framework, two week sprints were used to deliver the new App iteratively in more than one release. 

To ensure there was alignment between the Lottery and Camelot LS throughout the build, App demonstrations were given at the end of each sprint. This allowed time for collecting and applying feedback about every new feature and functionality as the build progressed.

Extensive design reviews and developer feedback were undertaken internally in order to validate their feasibility, before the UI designs were presented to the Lottery for approval. 

Vital in the early stages of any build, user testing rounds took place with feedback strongly considered in order to finalise the App’s UI designs. And to ensure the App build process remained robust, but was also able to be executed at speed, pipelines for CI/CD were created during the discovery phase.

A major project such as a new React Native App build will always have a large number of stakeholders who need to review incremental progress and give their feedback and approval at different stages of the build. To facilitate this, and to ensure transparency in our build processes, all stakeholders had the ability to download the in-progress App to their phone to review after each sprint.

A multitude of Camelot LS staff , and their Irish counterparts, played a critical role during the build phase, including Developers, QAs, Automation testers, UI/UX designers, Architects, and Product owners.

The App.

The new Irish Lottery React Native App for iOS and Android launched in late July 2020 with a raft of entirely new features, and a whole host of significant improvements to existing features that players in Ireland already loved about their lottery App:

—- An innovative, fun, and engaging ‘Shake, Pick & Play’ feature gives the user the ability to shake their phone to randomly generate lines to be added to their playslip. 

—- Biometric logins, which gives iOS users the ability to login with Touch ID and Face ID and Android users the ability to login with their Fingerprint.

—- A new Single Basket feature that allows players to buy tickets for different draw-based games in a single transaction.

—- A simple and quick three-step registration process  that provides a great user experience much improved from the previous version of the App.

—- A new ID Verification process allows players to take a photo of their ID either during registration or through their account to automatically verify their identity.

The App also has a refreshed ticket scanner, which enables users to find out if they are a winner instantly by scanning a physical ticket bought in-store.

Responsible play and player protection are central to the new Irish National Lottery App. 

In addition to the new ID Verification process that ensures all players are over the age of 18, the App also enables users to easily access information and controls on their use and spending. These include the ability to set spend limits, lock certain games, and a feature which enables players to take a break from using the App, as well as notifications when users reach their daily/weekly/monthly spending limits or a percentage of spending limits. 

All of these responsible play functions are designed to ensure players enjoy the Irish National Lottery games safely and responsibly.

The Impact.

Supporting the rollout of the App was a new TV ad, featuring Hank, the washing machine who shakes his way to a winning ticket.

The Irish National Lottery were delighted to crown its first €1m winner through the App in the first few weeks post-launch too.

According to data from the Irish National Lottery, almost 75% of players in Ireland choose Quick Picks, rather than playing their own set of numbers. So perhaps it is little surprise that providing a new way to choose Quick Picks through the ‘Shake, Pick & Play’ feature would be so popular with players too. 

Brett Cross, Chief Technology Officer at Camelot Lottery Solutions, said “Long gone are the days where it was acceptable simply to recreate or wrap your web experience.

“Consumers now expect an engaging experience from a mobile application, and are pretty unforgiving with those that are not. A quick glance at your home screen will likely reveal a graveyard of apps that did not meet your expectations. 

“Website traffic skewing heavily mobile, coupled with the change in the iOS guidelines, prompted us to relook at our mobile strategy and technology stack. We have chosen react native as the framework for our mobile applications due to its speed, cross platform support and attractiveness to developers. 

“We operate in a heavily regulated industry where ‘good enough’ is not acceptable. Lottery is an integrity based product and our customers’ trust is our most important asset, we need to strive for perfection and we need to do this at incredibly high volume. This philosophy is central to every system we design and I am incredibly proud of the work our team has done in building this application.”

The Reviews.

To find out more about Camelot Lottery Solutions, click here.