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Business Observer Friday, Oct. 26, 2018 8 months ago

Manufacturer seeks to make a mint off making scratch off lottery cards

From Lakeland, International Game Technology has a worldwide focus.
by: John Haughey Contributor

Chances are, tomorrow’s winning tickets in Italy’s Gratta e Vinci, Florida’s Lottery Scratch-Off and Poland’s instant-win zloty games were printed and packaged today in Lakeland.

Yet the fact that 9 billion scratch-off tickets for 800 instant games are annually produced in Lakeland for more than 100 lottery operators across 40 states and 50 countries is not a matter of chance, but instead matters of logic, logistics and planning for success.

It was, after all, a logical decision, one based on trend-sifting through diligent data analytics, by London-based International Game Technology to dramatically boost its production of instant lottery games in 2009. “IGT saw big changes coming, saw in 2009 that the (scratch-off ticket) industry was going to grow,” IGT Vice President for Instant Products and Services Keith Cash says.  

In building a plant to exclusively print scratch-off tickets, IGT invested in that anticipated opportunity. And in building that plant in Lakeland, the global giant invested in the region’s infrastructure capacity to efficiently deliver its product daily worldwide.

'Our business is worldwide; we wouldn’t be in Lakeland if it didn’t offer great global access.' Keith Cash, International Gaming Technology

Both decisions paid big dividends.

“The industry has changed a lot since 2009 — it is now a $50 billion global industry, $30 billion in the USA alone,” says Cash, the top IGT official in Lakeland. “Our business is worldwide; we wouldn’t be in Lakeland if it didn’t offer great global access.”

Founded as IGT’s global Instant Ticket Services center in 2009, the Lakeland plant’s workforce has since doubled to about 300 full-time employees with an annual $12 million payroll. Also, last year, IGT completed a $15 million, 45,000-square-foot addition to accommodate a Tresu printing press — capable of increasing production from 7.5 billion scratch-off tickets last year to 9 billion this year.

As part of jobs-based performance agreements with Lakeland, Polk County and the state, IGT pledged in 2014 to increase plant employment 24% by 2021. “We’re absolutely going to hit that number,” Cash says. “We’re planning for future growth. We’re planning for success.”

Founded as IGT’s global Instant Ticket Services center in 2009, the Lakeland plant’s workforce has since doubled to about 300 full-time employees.

As simple as it sounds, Cash says planning for success is a key to attaining and sustaining success, whether managing a career, a small business, or a multimillion-dollar outpost of a multibillion multinational empire. “IGT had the foresight to be bullish,” for example, in investing in the infrastructure necessary to capitalize on an anticipated trend, he says.

The plant’s expanding revenue-generating and job-producing capacities are “commensurate with the industry’s growth,” Cash adds, meaning the plant is positioned to accommodate, even spur, further growth.

Planning for success also means “getting ahead of the numbers, listening to the numbers tell you where to expand,” he says.

Up next in Cash’s plan to plan — be aggressive in forecasting growth, but do the spadework. “Get aligned with your surface-physical needs, your new equipment needs,” he says, “The supporting infrastructure that you cannot do without is equally important.”

Cash, who became general management of the Lakeland plant in March, says his “go-to source” for insight is the Harvard Business Review’s Idea Cast podcast. He says IGT’s corporate structure streamlines decision-making within its “plan for success” credo.

A multinational gaming company, in addition to Lakeland and London, IGT has offices in Rome, Las Vegas and Providence, R.I. It holds 400 global gaming licenses and is involved in the international casino, online and sports gaming industries, in addition to printing and managing traditional and instant lottery games. In short, it is a big company with many executives. But if Cash has an issue, he only needs to make one call.

“It starts at the top. I report to one person,” says Cash. “There are clear benefits to being part of a strong global company” that allows individual plant or program managers to “leverage those resources. But Lakeland is a special place — we also have a unique product. We’re the (only IGT plant) that produces scratch-off instant tickets.”


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