The latest New York Lottery scratch game offers the state's biggest scratchoff prize ever — along with the most expensive scratch game in state history.
Lottery officials unveiled the new game last Friday. The record-breaking game has a top prize of $1 million a year for life.
The cost to play is also a New York record — $30 per ticket — $10 more than the highest-priced instant games peviously on the market in New York.
The "$1 Million a Year for Life" game began Tuesday, Sept. 2.
The first-of-its-kind game gives players a shot at winning the largest jackpot prize on a scratch off ticket in the Lottery's over 40-year history.
The new ticket offers fifteen chances to win a variety of different prizes with overall odds of winning a prize at 1 in 2.93 on tickets randomly distributed statewide.
Lottery spokesman John Charlson calls the new ticket, "The most lucrative prize on a scratchoff ticket in lottery history."
The current top scratchoff prize is the $20 "Win for Life" game with a jackpot of $10,000 a week for life. The odds of winning the jackpot in that game are 3.5 million to 1.
David Gale, executive director of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, said he believes the $1 million a year for life would be the highest payout ever for any state scratchoff game.
The $30 per ticket cost may also be a national record, Gale said.
Plans for the new game drew harsh criticism from gambling opponents, including state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Queens).
"It's just another way to get people to part with their money, which is unconscionable during this period of economic uncertainty that all people are experiencing," Padavan said.
Padavan said those who can afford it least will likely be the ones shelling out the $30 for a ticket.
"It's morally unethical," he said.
Some New Yorkers were critical because of the cost.
"I can't afford it," said Roseanne Quinones, 55, a receptionist from Bay Ridge. "If I could afford it, I probably would, but $30 is too much. I don't even buy the $5 ones."
Hyquam Dixon, a 42-year-old Brooklyn construction worker, agreed. "It's too much, and the odds are always against you. People rarely buy the $20 tickets."
Scratchoff game revenue totaled $3.6 billion in the 2007-08 fiscal year that ended March 31, the division's annual report says.
One upstate vendor who is selling the $30 instant game said she expects it to do well.
"We've been telling people about it and they seem psyched," the vendor said. "We get a lot of people who already play the $20 tickets, so this isn't that much more."