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Virginia Lottery adds Sunday drawings

Virginia LotteryVirginia Lottery: Virginia Lottery adds Sunday drawings

In an effort to ward off losses to North Carolina, the Virginia Lottery is adding Sunday drawings, starting this weekend.

Competition south of the border will cut into Virginia Lottery profits this year, but new games could limit the losses to North Carolina.

"You don't want to sit still and watch that flattening of sales occur," said Sheila Hill-Christian, executive director of the State Lottery Department.

The North Carolina lottery, started last year, could lop profits $50 million, down to about $400 million, by drawing Tar Heel state players who previously bought tickets in Virginia.

Eight percent to 10 percent of Virginia tickets were purchased by North Carolinians, often at retailers just over the state line in such localities as Danville and Mecklenburg, Carroll, Henry and Greensville counties.

Another factor in sagging sales for the 18-year-old lottery: fewer giant jackpots in the multistate Mega Millions game. Virginia is among 12 participating states.

Hill-Christian, appointed in May by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, outlined a plan yesterday to recover nearly $30 million of her agency's first projected decline in profits since 1998.

Coming in the run-up to the 2007 General Assembly, Hill-Christian's initiative is likely to come under scrutiny from election-jittery legislators who prize the lottery as a high-profile source of education aid.

The sales push includes:

  • Adding Sunday drawings, starting this weekend, for Pick 3, Pick 4 and Cash 5. This is expected to generate about $14 million. North Carolina currently has Sunday drawings.
  • A new scratch game later this month, the $100 Million Cash Extravaganza, could produce $8 million. Tickets will cost $20, with prizes ranging from $20 to $1 million. North Carolina does not have such a game.
  • Another new game, Fast Play Bingo, is a computer-generated $2 play and is expected to raise $3.5 million. This game, which begins in early February and has a top prize of $10,000, is not available in North Carolina.
  • Virginia's Millionaire Raffle, limited to 330,000 tickets per game, offers $1 million prizes each for three players. The game starts in May or June. It is not in North Carolina's game mix.

Hill-Christian said Virginia might match last year's record profits of $454.9 million through the new games, coupled with more robust sales from big-jackpot, millionaire-maker contests.

"I think we'll be very close," said Hill-Christian, who came to Virginia government from the troubled Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

She is the lottery's third director and its first who is African-American. Hill-Christian said her priorities include strengthening marketing to the game's changing player base.

For example, Hill-Christian said she plans to record a 30-second radio commercial in Spanish. She said the agency, with 250 employees, is considering hiring bilingual sales people.

"I think it will be more reflective of the diversity of Virginia," Hill-Christian said.

The Virginia lottery, one of 43 in the nation, is the state's fifth-largest source of revenue behind the individual income tax, the sales tax, the corporate income tax and the tax on real estate closings.

Since 1999, lottery profits have been directed, under an amendment to the Virginia Constitution, to public schools.

Richmond Times-Dispatch

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6 comments. Last comment 7 years ago by JimmySand9.
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NBey6's avatar - Lottery-031.jpg

United States
Member #4290
April 9, 2004
15143 Posts
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Posted: January 5, 2007, 2:07 pm - IP Logged

Congratulations Virginia!!

I AM.......

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    United States
    Member #16612
    June 2, 2005
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    Posted: January 5, 2007, 3:37 pm - IP Logged

    I hope Virginia can increase lottery sales with the Sunday drawings.

      Kidzmom's avatar - cold
      NC
      United States
      Member #11741
      February 23, 2005
      1232 Posts
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      Posted: January 6, 2007, 3:09 am - IP Logged

      I still play in Virginia because the payout if better and they have mega millions.

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        United States
        Member #10720
        January 23, 2005
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        Posted: January 7, 2007, 12:28 am - IP Logged

        I wish WEST Virginia would do the same.

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          New Member
          Virginia Beach
          United States
          Member #26242
          November 15, 2005
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          Posted: January 7, 2007, 3:23 am - IP Logged

          Payouts better? 

          The Pick 3 and Pick 4 games have the same damn payouts for a $1 straight bet as all the other states that border Virginia (except Kentucky) as well as DC. Yawn.

           Moreover, Virginia's Cash 5 payouts for 3/5 and 4/5 on a $1 play pay literally a mere pittance relative to the odds! 68-to-1 against getting 3/5 only pays 5-for-1? 1917-to-1 against getting 4/5 only pays 100-for-1? I could play a 24-way box Pick 4 for $1 and get a better chance of winning $100 than with a $1 Cash 5!

          It's nice that Virginia is going 7 days a week with the daily games and adding a million-dollar raffle game later in the year... but... If Virginia really wants to keep its lottery dollars in this state, they should REALLY do something different with their games so that people will WANT to keep playing in Virginia. Increasing the value of prizes all around on a permanent basis would do a lot more good, like $600 and $6000 payouts on a $1 straight bet on Pick 3 and Pick 4, and odds-appropriate 3/5 and 4/5 prizes for Cash 5.

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            United States
            Member #1826
            July 11, 2003
            2645 Posts
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            Posted: January 7, 2007, 11:59 pm - IP Logged

            Payouts better? 

            The Pick 3 and Pick 4 games have the same damn payouts for a $1 straight bet as all the other states that border Virginia (except Kentucky) as well as DC. Yawn.

             Moreover, Virginia's Cash 5 payouts for 3/5 and 4/5 on a $1 play pay literally a mere pittance relative to the odds! 68-to-1 against getting 3/5 only pays 5-for-1? 1917-to-1 against getting 4/5 only pays 100-for-1? I could play a 24-way box Pick 4 for $1 and get a better chance of winning $100 than with a $1 Cash 5!

            It's nice that Virginia is going 7 days a week with the daily games and adding a million-dollar raffle game later in the year... but... If Virginia really wants to keep its lottery dollars in this state, they should REALLY do something different with their games so that people will WANT to keep playing in Virginia. Increasing the value of prizes all around on a permanent basis would do a lot more good, like $600 and $6000 payouts on a $1 straight bet on Pick 3 and Pick 4, and odds-appropriate 3/5 and 4/5 prizes for Cash 5.

            I think she means the scratch-offs pay out better, which they do.

            And you are right, the only sure-fire way to increase sales is to raise payouts. It's been demonstrated time and time again.

            And about Cash 5, the reason the payouts seem so low in comparison to Pick 3/4 is because Cash 5 has more ways to win. With Cash 5, the prize pool has to be split amongst the 3 prize levels which subsequently reduces the odds-to-payout ratio. With Pick 3/4 on the other hand, there's only 1 prize to win, so the entire prize pool can go that prize. But as far as the amount of sales going toward prizes goes, the amount of each of these games are about the same, Pick 3/4 pays between 48%-50% of sales while Cash 5 pays out 48.44%.

            (insert signature here)