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For D.C. Lottery scratch-off game players, fewer chances to win big

Washington, D.C. LotteryWashington, D.C. Lottery: For D.C. Lottery scratch-off game players, fewer chances to win big
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For three years, D.C. resident Deonte Byrd has been making an almost-daily trek to Log Cabin Liquor at Seventh and S streets NW to hunt for a million-dollar jackpot in the form of a scratch-off lottery ticket.

In 10 minutes on a recent day, Byrd bought $10 worth of tickets, won $7, cashed it in and lost his winnings on new tickets.

"This is an addiction. I'm addicted. I'm an addict," a joking Byrd, 25, said with a smile. The single father of three said he buys scratch-off tickets religiously before his shift at a cleaning company.

But for Byrd and thousands of other instant-game players, their quest — and potentially millions of dollars in contributions to the District's general fund from lottery sales — might be put on hold because the D.C. Council and financial officials have been unable to settle on a vendor to print the games known as scratchers.

Until a vendor is selected — D.C. officials, who've been working on the problem for nearly a year, hope to have a temporary fix by April — fortune-seekers have a rapidly dwindling supply of tickets to play.

District officials said they rejected bids from two vendors last year on technical grounds. One vendor failed to meet the city's requirement that winners of large city contracts subcontract at least 35 percent of the value to local firms; the second vendor's bid was 70 percent higher than the first.

The delay in selecting a vendor comes as District officials remain painfully aware of how closely lottery procurements are scrutinized. The District's awarding of a $228 million lottery contract in 2008 spurred a federal investigation and lawsuits.

And it's not just the affections of scratch-ticket players at stake. The District stands to lose $6 million a year that is typically generated from sales of scratchers. Lottery sales overall generate about $68 million a year for city coffers.

"We need to get moving on this before we completely run out," said the District's chief financial officer, Jeffrey S. DeWitt. "Some tickets have already run out. There's a bit left, and we need to do something soon."

Buddy Roogow, executive director of the D.C. Lottery, said the dwindling supply is already being felt at the retail level: Lottery officials have six brands of scratchers available to distribute to stores; typically there are 25.

Roogow said the supply of $1 and $3 tickets — games such as Triple It and Tic Tac 3 — should last about six weeks. Once that supply is exhausted, the only tickets left will be the $20 games such as Black II. And Roogow estimates that those tickets will run out in six months.

"We've lost a lot of variety that people are used to," DeWitt said.

The shortage also comes as public interest in scratchers has increased. Before the failed bids last year, sales of scratch-off tickets had increased by nearly one-third over the past five years and officials had hoped to expand the offerings.

"It's a growing part of our portfolio," Roogow said.

DeWitt has proposed temporarily allowing three vendors to share the contract to print the tickets while the District works on a long-term solution that folds scratchers into a larger gaming contract.

Although players and lottery officials might lament the shortage of games, some gambling experts say that fewer options are not necessarily a bad thing.

Marc N. Potenza, a psychiatrist and researcher at Yale University who recently published a paper on the effects of instant lottery tickets and young people, noted that March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month and said it might be a good time to reflect on gaming habits.

"I have seen people in treatment for seeking help for excessive and problematic scratch-off ticket use," he said.

On a recent day at M Street Cards and Variety in Foggy Bottom, Lee Solomon was busy playing his scratchers.

He said he started buying a ticket occasionally about a decade ago after his uncle won a four-figure jackpot. And if District merchants run out of tickets, he'll take his money elsewhere.

"If they don't have scratchers here, I'll go to Maryland or Virginia," said Solomon, a mailroom employee at George Washington University.

It's players like Solomon who worry D.C. store owners.

Prav Saraff said he depends on the foot traffic at his Dupont Circle liquor store created by those who purchase scratch tickets. In recent weeks, he has noticed that his scratcher sales are down by about one-third.

"It's never been like this," said Saraff, 33, owner of 1 W. Dupont Circle Wine and Liquors. "It's frustrating because customers want to buy them, and we're in business to make money so we want to sell them."

He said his employees have been reaching out to D.C. Lottery for nearly two months.

"Whenever we call, they tell us the same thing," Saraff said, "that they're working on the problem and they'll get us some [scratchers] as soon as they're available."

Washington Post

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46 comments. Last comment 5 months ago by THRIFTY.
Page 1 of 4
mypiemaster's avatar - peace
He who dies with the most toys WINS!!!.

United States
Member #141039
April 2, 2013
722 Posts
Offline
Posted: March 26, 2014, 2:32 pm - IP Logged

It's D.C., what else can you say?.

Seekand ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

    Gleno's avatar - Lottery-001.jpg
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #80354
    September 25, 2009
    274 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: March 26, 2014, 4:03 pm - IP Logged

    ... and to add insult to injury, as the expression goes,

    D.C. ought to look to other states to see how they manage their lottery games

    and stop short changing their citizens who want to play the instant scratch off games.

    This is not "rocket science". They can do better then this. Chair

      helpmewin's avatar - dandy
      u$a
      United States
      Member #106669
      February 22, 2011
      17042 Posts
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      Posted: March 26, 2014, 4:52 pm - IP Logged

      yes i seen this on the news not sure what's going on thereChair

                       

        helpmewin's avatar - dandy
        u$a
        United States
        Member #106669
        February 22, 2011
        17042 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: March 26, 2014, 4:52 pm - IP Logged

        ... and to add insult to injury, as the expression goes,

        D.C. ought to look to other states to see how they manage their lottery games

        and stop short changing their citizens who want to play the instant scratch off games.

        This is not "rocket science". They can do better then this. Chair

        Green laugh

                         

          Goteki54's avatar - Lottery-007.jpg
          Baltimore, MD
          United States
          Member #143337
          May 30, 2013
          256 Posts
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          Posted: March 26, 2014, 5:01 pm - IP Logged

          Instead of being called the District of Columbia, It shouild be called the District of Incompetance. Bash

          Goteki, have a Snickers. Why? Because you always get angry when you have a case of the one offs on your lottery tickets. Better? No, I'm still ticked off!Hit With Stick

            Artist77's avatar - batman14

            United States
            Member #121750
            January 16, 2012
            3216 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: March 26, 2014, 5:20 pm - IP Logged

            I noticed when I went to get my PB and Hot Lotto tickets on Monday, most (2/3?) of the plastic slot holders for the scratchers were empty. Now I know why.

            Just as the bird sings or the butterfly soars,

            because it is his natural characteristic,

            so the artist works.

            by Alma  Gluck

              Marilyn222's avatar - 1975203 678005355574080_1381926342_n.jpg
              Denver
              United States
              Member #117688
              October 12, 2011
              410 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: March 26, 2014, 8:39 pm - IP Logged

              I didn't know if one gets hurt in DC, everybody's affected.Smile

                Artist77's avatar - batman14

                United States
                Member #121750
                January 16, 2012
                3216 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: March 26, 2014, 9:02 pm - IP Logged

                What???? How are people outside of DC being affected?

                Just as the bird sings or the butterfly soars,

                because it is his natural characteristic,

                so the artist works.

                by Alma  Gluck

                  Goteki54's avatar - Lottery-007.jpg
                  Baltimore, MD
                  United States
                  Member #143337
                  May 30, 2013
                  256 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: March 26, 2014, 9:07 pm - IP Logged

                  I wouldn't be surprised if DC players are crosssing over into Northern Virginia and Maryland to buy their scratch offs. Us Marylanders use to buy  Power Pall tickets there before Powerball came to Maryland. I doubt DC scratch off players are going to set around twiddling their thumbs waiting for the DC government to get a clue.

                  Goteki, have a Snickers. Why? Because you always get angry when you have a case of the one offs on your lottery tickets. Better? No, I'm still ticked off!Hit With Stick

                    rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                    -Ridge Runner- Oracle of the Appalachians
                    Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                    United States
                    Member #73904
                    April 28, 2009
                    14903 Posts
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                    Posted: March 26, 2014, 9:23 pm - IP Logged

                    Incompetence is a time-honored tradition in DC.

                    They're better at it than anybody.

                    But don't worry, they'll remedy this problem like they always do - with the speed of a lumbering three-toed sloth.

                    In fact, they're probably organizing the focus-groups to study the problem already.

                    And don't worry, they'll be multi-cultural, environmentally-aware, non-confrontational, earth-friendly focus groups, all dressed in natural fibers woven from sustainable organics.

                      MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
                      North Jersey
                      United States
                      Member #5709
                      July 18, 2004
                      17687 Posts
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                      Posted: March 26, 2014, 9:40 pm - IP Logged

                      Detroit in the D.C..  Same tactics and same results..  Democrats and a witches brew go hand in hand...!

                                                                                Your Best Teacher, is Your First Mistake.

                        RedStang's avatar - 20140808 010507Custom_zps4cde8ec4.jpg
                        Dutchess , NY
                        United States
                        Member #121966
                        January 21, 2012
                        2587 Posts
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                        Posted: March 27, 2014, 1:05 am - IP Logged

                        DC can't get anything right. Main St is slowly becoming a dirt road.

                          Marilyn222's avatar - 1975203 678005355574080_1381926342_n.jpg
                          Denver
                          United States
                          Member #117688
                          October 12, 2011
                          410 Posts
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                          Posted: March 27, 2014, 2:59 am - IP Logged

                          DC can't get anything right. Main St is slowly becoming a dirt road.

                          I've never been to DC, don't know how it is there. But, do all ppl there play the lottery?

                            Marilyn222's avatar - 1975203 678005355574080_1381926342_n.jpg
                            Denver
                            United States
                            Member #117688
                            October 12, 2011
                            410 Posts
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                            Posted: March 27, 2014, 3:20 am - IP Logged

                            I've never been to DC, don't know how it is there. But, do all ppl there play the lottery?

                            ...how can it be such a game so addictive when it's just a happiness of few and sorrows to many?