AUGUSTA, Maine — The odds have dropped to zero for scratch tickets becoming "Kwikies."
The Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations announced in a Monday press release that it no longer plans to brand the state's scratch tickets as Kwikies.
"The Maine State Lottery is sensitive to the concerns of retailers and consumers alike," said Gerry Reid, director of Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations. "We recently tested a new brand name for our instant ticket games, and the initial response was encouraging. But after a larger sampling of retailers and consumers, the negative concerns were clear. As a result, the Lottery has decided to abandon further pursuit of the Kwikies name.
"Kwikies was never officially implemented by the Maine State Lottery, and its assessment could have been handled better and faster," Reid said. "On behalf of the Lottery, I regret any inconvenience or confusion this may have created."
The Kwikies name came under fire from retail store owners and cashiers because of its similarity to "quickie." In slang terms, a quickie is a short sexual encounter.
Store owners and cashiers on Monday were happy to hear about the Lottery's decision.
"I think it's a good move for them," said David Welch, owner of Village Market in Fairfield. "If they read into the laws of sexual discrimination, they were borderline on that. They were pushing the limit. I think they saw that."
Kay Sinclair, a cashier at Village Market, said she refused to ask whether customers wanted a Kwikie.
"It's inappropriate. I have a 21-year-old daughter, and I don't want her at the register and asking people if they want a Kwikie," Sinclair said. "I will not use that term in any way shape or form. Some of the clientele would take it in a very inappropriate manner."
Kelley Sullivan, a cashier at Tom T. locations in Bangor, said she was also happy with the Lottery's decision.
"It was kind of gross to me to ask people if they wanted a Kwikie," she said.
A few weeks ago, the Maine State Lottery sent a pamphlet out to its 1,300 retailers, saying it planned to name the tickets "Kwikies."
Reid previously defended the Kwikies name by saying it was not the state's intent to be provocative.
"I fully understand that when someone saw this word in isolation, they thought, 'Oh, these guys are getting a bit racy,'" Reid said on Friday. "We're actually doing everything we can possibly do to not lead you to that place in your mind."
Maine State Lottery's scratch tickets do not presently have an all-encompassing name. Reid said the bureau was interested in finding one.
"Our instant game business is roughly two-thirds of the lottery business," Reid said on Friday. "It has no name. It's just instant tickets. It's not like the draw games like Powerball. That's a brand. It has an identity. It's an image. People know what to ask for. What we're struggling to do is come up with an identity [for the scratch tickets]. We do almost no marketing for it. Our job is to make money for the state."
Welch said he didn't mind the Maine State Lottery looking for ways to boost sales, but said the scratch tickets basically sell themselves.
"To me, I don't think they need to promote [scratch tickets] that much. The people who buy scratch tickets will buy scratch tickets. Period," he said. "It's the only game in town because there's no competition.
"I'm happy they took a stance and listened to the majority," said Welch.
Reid said radio and television advertisements had already been produced, but had not yet been released. The naming process took three to four months and the bureau went through 50-60 names before landing on Kwikies.