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State lotteries get creative to drive higher sales

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: State lotteries get creative to drive higher sales
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The Arizona Lottery has spent four years ramping up efforts to get players to part with a dollar.

It raised its average jackpot by 8 percent and introduced pricier scratch-off games that cost from $5 to $20 but yield bigger winnings, up to $1 million. The tickets now come in brighter colors on thicker paper, and more of them get displayed in bigger cases to catch the eyes of would-be winners lining up at grocery and convenience stores. The lottery also increased its advertising budget by roughly 50 percent, rolling out marketing campaigns geared toward Latinos.

"What we saw was people were pulling back on their expenditures unless they had some value-added propositions," said Jeff Hatch-Miller, a former state legislator and the lottery's executive director.

The bet paid off: Ticket sales increased 20 percent from 2009, reaching a record $584 million this year.

Gambling income, while a consistent source of funds for schools and public health programs, generally isn't a big contributor to state coffers. In 2009, states collected an average of 2.4 percent of their revenue from horse track betting, casinos and lotteries, according to the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. In today's bad economy, lottery ticket sales have become an increasingly important source of revenue for public officials trying to plug gaps in their budgets.

"You have politicians not wanting to raise taxes right now, so lotteries are good ways to raise money," said David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

Arizona wasn't the only state to figure that out.

Lottery income decreased nationwide in 2009 for the first time in more than a decade, prompting many of the 43 states that operate lotteries to redouble their efforts to win back players. This year, 26 of them saw revenues increase, and total sales were up 3 percent, to $56 billion, according to LaFleur's, a lottery research company.

Officials across the country are now debating measures meant to bring in even more money. Tennessee requires that players pay with cash to play the numbers, but lawmakers on the Senate Lottery Stabilization Task Force may let its lottery ticket sellers accept credit and debit cards.

In New Jersey, Democratic Assemblywoman Annette Quijano has introduced a bill to clear the way for sales on smart phones.

The Florida Lottery launched a pilot program in March with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which had never ventured into U.S. lottery sales (outside Puerto Rico), but agreed to try them out in 30 of its grocery outlets.

The last frontier might be cyberspace.

Many states have been exploring ways to sell tickets online and modernize their websites, which usually only list winners and explain contest rules. The Minnesota State Lottery lets lotto players subscribe to an online service that automatically plays their numbers for up to a year with just a few clicks of the mouse. Bettors sign up for a game and the number of drawings they want to enter over a minimum of six weeks, then sit back and wait for the lottery to alert them to any winnings.

The development doesn't sit well with Republican state Sen. David Hann, who calls state efforts to encourage gambling during a tough economy "reprehensible."

"We have a situation where a lot of people are struggling financially," he said. "The last thing we should be doing is telling people to go out and gamble."

San Francisco Chronicle

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7 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by jeffrey.
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Avatar
Keokuk,Iowa
United States
Member #116508
September 12, 2011
305 Posts
Offline
Posted: December 12, 2011, 10:02 am - IP Logged

They might try adding more prizes to drive up sales.And quit calling "break even" tickets winners.When you spend $5 for a ticket and get $5 back you didn't win anything,despite what the lottery claims.

    cbr$'s avatar - maren
    Cordova,Al.
    United States
    Member #104485
    January 15, 2011
    474 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: December 12, 2011, 12:16 pm - IP Logged

    Hope the lottery's think of this. When you buy $5 - $10 - $20 tickets the last thing a buyer wants to see is you've win a another ticket. Actually the $10 - tickets you see in the case start at 000 - 049  something it only 50 tickets to a roll or stack full cost $500. When you buy the whole stack you want to see the cash not free tickets, not free entry to second drawing . nothing like this . So if you're on vacation/ just traveling in another state this kind of ticket can be a real turn off.

      rdgrnr's avatar - walt
      Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
      United States
      Member #73904
      April 28, 2009
      14903 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: December 12, 2011, 1:29 pm - IP Logged

      The development doesn't sit well with Republican state Sen. David Hann, who calls state efforts to encourage gambling during a tough economy "reprehensible."

      "We have a situation where a lot of people are struggling financially," he said. "The last thing we should be doing is telling people to go out and gamble."

       

      Oh great, another idiot do-gooder going against the will of the people and wanting everybody to do what he thinks is proper.

      Bastage.


                                                   
                           
                                               

       

       

       

       

                                                                                                         

      "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                  --Edmund Burke

       

       

        Avatar
        Pittsburgh, PA
        United States
        Member #113047
        July 1, 2011
        18 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: December 12, 2011, 3:39 pm - IP Logged

        They might try adding more prizes to drive up sales.And quit calling "break even" tickets winners.When you spend $5 for a ticket and get $5 back you didn't win anything,despite what the lottery claims.

        I Agree! Yes.  Spending a dollar to win a dollar or spending five dollars to win five dollars isn't winning.  That's why I don't personally buy these scam scratch offs.  The same goes for break even prizes in the jackpot games.  WOW what a ripoff!

          maringoman's avatar - kobold
          Massachusetts
          United States
          Member #37433
          April 14, 2006
          2122 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: December 12, 2011, 9:51 pm - IP Logged

          My lottery budget for 2012 is drawn up. I have season tickets for Megabucks and MegaMillions ($180 for the whole year)

          and will only buy one powerball ticket per drawing so I expect to spend around $180 for the whole year. Thats only $360 total or $7 per week.

          I am going to be strict because I overspent  in 2011 and havent  won anything earth worth mentioning so far. I can afford $360 Wink

          By the way, anybody from other states can buy season tickets from the Mass Lottery. It costs only $90 for 104 games so you actually save $14.Cheers

          It's a futile effort.

            Avatar
            Keokuk,Iowa
            United States
            Member #116508
            September 12, 2011
            305 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: December 13, 2011, 5:06 am - IP Logged

            By the way, anybody from other states can buy season tickets from the Mass Lottery. It costs only $90 for 104 games so you actually save $14.

             

            And end up paying taxes in two states?No thanks.

              jeffrey's avatar - moon
              Hamilton, OH
              United States
              Member #4162
              March 27, 2004
              277 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: December 13, 2011, 9:59 am - IP Logged

              my state lowered the jackpots because we have such poverty, people will swallow any hope