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Lottery Seeks Information from Vendors Ahead of Potential Project

In a new Request for Information, the California State Lottery wants to learn more about “Lottery Public Website (PWS) and Cloud Infrastructure: Maintenance, Support, and New Development.”

Lottery clip art CNN
The entity responsible for overseeing state lottery games wants to hear from vendors ahead of possible new IT work.

In Request for Information #8051 (RFI), released late Thursday, the California State Lottery asks for details on “Lottery Public Website (PWS) and Cloud Infrastructure: Maintenance, Support, and New Development.” In an email to Techwire, Lottery Chief Information Officer Jennifer Chan said the entity is seeking “industry feedback and information on standard requirements for PWS’ management, maintenance, and support including its infrastructure and future development.”

“We anticipate that we’ll use the feedback in the responses to ensure that deliverables and qualifications outlined in the resulting PWS Request for Proposal provide prospective vendors with a sufficient basis for understanding the Lottery’s needs,” Chan said. She indicated officials will also use the information to ensure services and deliverables in a subsequent solicitation are “reasonable within the scope” and to give vendors a chance to “identify additional services that would assist the Lottery to achieve desired performance and outcomes.” Among the takeaways:

  • The Lottery, a public agency created in 1984, has a digital service environment that is “integrated with a complex, dynamic gaming infrastructure, where peak traffic increases rapidly as jackpots rise.” PWS support demands “expertise in website development, maintenance and operations in a (Microsoft) Azure cloud environment” with “multiple third-party integrations, network and database management,” according to the RFI. The Lottery also seeks the “knowledge, skills, and capacity to design and develop PWS features and functionality” that will improve its performance, increase sales and expand customer engagement.
  • RFI responses are intended to help the Lottery forge a better understanding of market trends as they apply to the entity’s needs. Information received will inform the state on “experience, methods, capability, and tools” as well as in identifying products and methods that can meet business needs. The state will also receive “additional information, not specifically requested” that respondents think is important or relevant. Comments are “strongly encouraged and deemed important,” but the Lottery “makes no commitment” to changing its PWS support requirements based on any input. The RFI is being issued to companies specializing in cloud-hosted website, infrastructure support, and website development. Lottery’s PWS is built on the Sitecore platform and hosted in the cloud via Azure. Generally, it requires “website development expertise and support for PWS infrastructure and databases.” Once a contract is awarded, the contractor will begin transitioning to being responsible for “24/7/365 monitoring and support of site operations” and “new development requests for PWS enhancements.”
  • Lottery’s PWS has high availability with 99.99 percent uptime; its normal traffic volume averages 10,000 calls per minute. PWS is also subject to “significant traffic increases during high jackpot periods,” when that average rises to 18,000 calls per minute and peaks nearing 80,000 calls per minute. Lottery now uses a number of tools and apps to monitor PWS uptime, performance, security and other metrics. PWS ingests and creates information in a “two-way exchange” with Lottery’s Gaming System, managed by International Game Technology (IGT) Global Solutions Corp. It sends registration and submission data to IGT, and takes player and 2nd Chance draw data from IGT as well as other information including on the HotSpot and Scratchers games. This data is reliant on application program interfaces (APIs) and file transfers — and these IGT interfaces are within the RFI’s scope of work, though Gaming System maintenance, operations and development are out of scope. PWS also integrates with Experian products to meet business rules and state guidelines on areas like address and email verification. In the area of design development and implementation, PWS may need more integrations with third-party apps for promotional events, per the RFI.
  • Cybersecurity and information security are key concerns for the Lottery. Lottery data, for example, can be collected and held by the contract “only for legitimate business purposes” and all electronic data must meet Lottery’s encryption policy. The contractor’s data-handling processes must also meet information security policies and program specifications. Data must be either returned or destroyed at the end of a contract. Any contractor selected to do the work must ensure information security, as the company “may have physical or electronic access to the Lottery’s confidential, sensitive, or personal information,” potentially via systems underpinning business operations, including IT hardware and software and associated services. A security plan is also required, with security measures and program safeguards including “hardening and secure configurations of network devices, servers, applications, operating systems, services, and other information technology resources”; antivirus protection including patching; a security incident response plan; and an information security training and privacy awareness program.
  • The term and value of any subsequent contract offerings aren’t stated in the RFI. Questions related to the RFI are due by Sept. 8; the Lottery will respond by Sept. 16. Responses to the RFI are due by Oct. 1.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.