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Illinois Lottery mulling changes to drawings

Illinois LotteryIllinois Lottery: Illinois Lottery mulling changes to drawings
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Could this be a move to all-computerized drawings — and the death of real drawings — in Illinois?

After 20 years of perky hosts and ping pong balls, the future of live Illinois Lottery drawings on WGN-Ch.9 is up in the air.

Lottery officials said Tuesday they are considering parting ways with WGN-TV, home to daily drawings since 1994, when the current one-year contract expires in June. Advances in lottery technology, an influx of new games and the move by Tribune Co. to pull the evening drawings off of national cable channel WGN America in February are playing into the decision.

"We're in a period right now of just evaluating all these things," said Michael Jones, Illinois Lottery Superintendent. "The world has changed from 30 years ago and there are lots of way now of doing drawings."

The Lottery pays WGN $1.2 million annually to air two live broadcasts each day — during the noon and 9 p.m. newscasts. The format has been the same for decades, with glamorous hosts drawing numbered ping pong balls out of glass machines for a variety of Lotto games.

A hot commodity that sparked competitions between local TV stations for the exclusive broadcast rights in the '80s and '90s, the live local drawings have perhaps lost some of their luster in the digital age. A number of games, such as "Hit or Miss," exist entirely in cyberspace, with a random number generator housed in the Lottery's Springfield office conducting four virtual drawings each day.

Lottery officials have been weighing whether the virtual technology might be just as effective for the big jackpot Lotto drawings. The decision by WGN America to replace the "News at Nine" with national programming and cut off the drawings to downstate viewers accelerated the process to consider alternatives, according to Jones.

WGN America is in the process of reinventing itself as a national cable channel, with heavily-promoted "Salem" debuting on Sunday, the first of several original scripted dramas rolling out this year. The fees that WGN receives cover production costs, including the hosts, who are employed by WGN. The Lottery received a 40 percent reduction in fees for the last five months of the contract, corresponding with the loss of the downstate audience, according to officials.

The Lottery may look for steeper discounts going forward, or may just look in a different direction entirely, Jones said. Negotiations are ongoing; WGN officials said they are hoping to renew the longstanding agreement to air the lottery drawings.

"WGN-TV has been a proud partner with the Illinois Lottery for many years," said a WGN spokeswoman. "We look forward to a continued partnership."

This is not the first time Jones has contemplated pulling the drawings from WGN-TV. As Lottery Director from 1981 to 1985, he moved the games to WFLD-Ch.32 for a better deal.

The drawings bounced to WBBM-Ch.2 in 1992, and back to WGN on Jan. 1, 1994.

Jones was brought back as superintendent in 2011 after Northstar became the nation's first private manager of a state lottery. Revenues are growing — they hit $2.84 billion last year with net proceeds of $794 million — but Northstar has failed meet its annual targets so far.

The Lottery spent $46 million on advertising in 2013, and Jones is hoping to lure more players — especially younger ones — to play the games.

Generating the winning lottery numbers through a computer and disseminating them online may be no less appealing, and substantially more cost-effective, in reaching the new target audience.

Still, longtime players may miss the ping pong balls, and particularly,

Linda Kollmeyer, the sunshiny "Lottery Lady" who has hosted the drawings over two decades. Decked out in finery, punctuating the drawings with random, upbeat pearls of wisdom, she has developed a cult following.

Jones said that one of the virtual solutions he is contemplating would keep Kollmeyer in the game, even if the ping pong balls eventually disappear.

"In discussions with WGN, they've come up with some very imaginative things, including potentially having an avatar of Linda Kollmeyer, so that she lives forever," he said.

Chicago Tribune

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38 comments. Last comment 7 months ago by four4me.
Page 1 of 3
Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
Los Angeles, California
United States
Member #103816
January 5, 2011
1530 Posts
Offline
Posted: April 16, 2014, 8:15 am - IP Logged

Yeah, I believe this is a ploy, to get people used to computer draws. So that in the future they can increase the frequency of draws. We see this trend already.

Many games that were once a day have increased to 2 times a day, or 4 times a day. Wait till they go to every 4 hours, or every hour, or every 5 minutes, or every minute. You can't do that with mechanical ball draws. This is a slippery slope that takes the lottery into the realm of real time casino gambling.(lottery quick draw Keno is already there) At that point,(or if they offer online scratch games) I believe the lottery has crossed the line and gone beyond their mandate. Is the government supposed to be in the gambling business?

    rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
    Texas
    United States
    Member #55889
    October 23, 2007
    3465 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: April 16, 2014, 8:50 am - IP Logged

    Yeah, I believe this is a ploy, to get people used to computer draws. So that in the future they can increase the frequency of draws. We see this trend already.

    Many games that were once a day have increased to 2 times a day, or 4 times a day. Wait till they go to every 4 hours, or every hour, or every 5 minutes, or every minute. You can't do that with mechanical ball draws. This is a slippery slope that takes the lottery into the realm of real time casino gambling.(lottery quick draw Keno is already there) At that point,(or if they offer online scratch games) I believe the lottery has crossed the line and gone beyond their mandate. Is the government supposed to be in the gambling business?

    They don't need to use a computer to have 4 draws a day.

    The day Texas stops real ball draws is the day I stop playing Texas lottery games.

    My...lots of things going on in Illinois. None of them good.

    CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

    A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

      THRIFTY's avatar - darth vader-face.jpeg
      NEW YORK
      United States
      Member #90537
      April 29, 2010
      3339 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: April 16, 2014, 9:08 am - IP Logged

      Yeah, I believe this is a ploy, to get people used to computer draws. So that in the future they can increase the frequency of draws. We see this trend already.

      Many games that were once a day have increased to 2 times a day, or 4 times a day. Wait till they go to every 4 hours, or every hour, or every 5 minutes, or every minute. You can't do that with mechanical ball draws. This is a slippery slope that takes the lottery into the realm of real time casino gambling.(lottery quick draw Keno is already there) At that point,(or if they offer online scratch games) I believe the lottery has crossed the line and gone beyond their mandate. Is the government supposed to be in the gambling business?

      LOTTERY QUICK DRAW.

      COMPUTERIZED RANDOM DRAWING.

      Every 4 minutes the Lottery's computer randomly selects 20 numbers from the field of 1 through 80 and displays them on the Quick Draw monitor.

      US Flag 

      YOU WILL NEVER WIN A LOTTERY JACKPOT IN YOUR LIFETIME.

        THRIFTY's avatar - darth vader-face.jpeg
        NEW YORK
        United States
        Member #90537
        April 29, 2010
        3339 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: April 16, 2014, 9:11 am - IP Logged

        They don't need to use a computer to have 4 draws a day.

        The day Texas stops real ball draws is the day I stop playing Texas lottery games.

        My...lots of things going on in Illinois. None of them good.

        Take a look at how many people are playing Powerball today.

        US Flag 

        YOU WILL NEVER WIN A LOTTERY JACKPOT IN YOUR LIFETIME.

          noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
          Bay Area/ California
          United States
          Member #136482
          December 12, 2012
          2125 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: April 16, 2014, 9:46 am - IP Logged

           Computerized Drawings?.....  " Full Bore and Into the Abyss"

            Marilyn222's avatar - 1975203 678005355574080_1381926342_n.jpg
            Denver
            United States
            Member #117688
            October 12, 2011
            443 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: April 16, 2014, 10:05 am - IP Logged

            Computerized drawings vs real ball drawings...I don't trust digital, and I wouldn't ride a sinking boat either.

            Smile

              Gleno's avatar - Lottery-001.jpg
              New Jersey
              United States
              Member #80354
              September 25, 2009
              302 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: April 16, 2014, 10:18 am - IP Logged

              No live drawings and computer generated winning numbers seem to take out some of the excitement of the game. 

              Come to think of it, have not seen a live drawing of the N.J. lottery in a long while.Doubt that has hurt the lottery sales as the jackpots grow aggressively from drawing to drawing.  The N.J. Pick 5 Game from last night (4/15/14)  paid out $71,631. The jackpot started out at $50K and grew over $21k by the time of the drawings, later in the evening. 

              Illinois' decision to change the drawings will probaly have little or no effect on their buying publics' habit of playing these games of chance. The computerized drawings may produce longer periods with no winners, which will benefit their state. 

              Can see where folks will suspect that the computer may be progammed not to select any of the played selections, but doubt the Ilinois Lottery would want to do that, as it could affect sales. 

              Spending $46 million for lottery advertising seems a bit high.  Spending $1.2 million for live drawings sounds like a bargain when revenues have reached  $2.84 Billion,with net proceeds of $794 Million. 

              Replacing Linda Kollmeyer, The Lottery Lady, with an avatar is tacky, in my humble opinion. 

              Coffee

                Marilyn222's avatar - 1975203 678005355574080_1381926342_n.jpg
                Denver
                United States
                Member #117688
                October 12, 2011
                443 Posts
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                Posted: April 16, 2014, 10:27 am - IP Logged

                Spending $46 million for lottery advertising seems a bit high.  Spending $1.2 million for live drawings sounds like a bargain when revenues have reached  $2.84 Billion,with net proceeds of $794 Million. 

                 

                True...it's quite an expensive journey.

                Smile

                  Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                  Chief Bottle Washer
                  New Jersey
                  United States
                  Member #1
                  May 31, 2000
                  21615 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: April 16, 2014, 10:34 am - IP Logged

                  No live drawings and computer generated winning numbers seem to take out some of the excitement of the game. 

                  Come to think of it, have not seen a live drawing of the N.J. lottery in a long while.Doubt that has hurt the lottery sales as the jackpots grow aggressively from drawing to drawing.  The N.J. Pick 5 Game from last night (4/15/14)  paid out $71,631. The jackpot started out at $50K and grew over $21k by the time of the drawings, later in the evening. 

                  Illinois' decision to change the drawings will probaly have little or no effect on their buying publics' habit of playing these games of chance. The computerized drawings may produce longer periods with no winners, which will benefit their state. 

                  Can see where folks will suspect that the computer may be progammed not to select any of the played selections, but doubt the Ilinois Lottery would want to do that, as it could affect sales. 

                  Spending $46 million for lottery advertising seems a bit high.  Spending $1.2 million for live drawings sounds like a bargain when revenues have reached  $2.84 Billion,with net proceeds of $794 Million. 

                  Replacing Linda Kollmeyer, The Lottery Lady, with an avatar is tacky, in my humble opinion. 

                  Coffee

                  The NJ Lottery broadcasts its evening drawings live on TV, and all drawings are broadcast live on the Internet.  No computerized drawings here.  Maybe that's why the games continue to be so popular in the state.

                  I disagree with you about the probability that moving to computerized drawings would not harm sales in Illinois.  Computerized drawings are horrendous, and many people (including myself) are far less inclined to play when they are used.  Perhaps you are not aware that Indiana switched from computers to real drawings for all numbers games because of the general outrage that existed for so long over the computerized drawings.

                   

                  Check the State Lottery Report Card
                  What grade did your lottery earn?

                   

                  Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                  Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                    Marilyn222's avatar - 1975203 678005355574080_1381926342_n.jpg
                    Denver
                    United States
                    Member #117688
                    October 12, 2011
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                    Posted: April 16, 2014, 10:44 am - IP Logged

                    The NJ Lottery broadcasts its evening drawings live on TV, and all drawings are broadcast live on the Internet.  No computerized drawings here.  Maybe that's why the games continue to be so popular in the state.

                    I disagree with you about the probability that moving to computerized drawings would not harm sales in Illinois.  Computerized drawings are horrendous, and many people (including myself) are far less inclined to play when they are used.  Perhaps you are not aware that Indiana switched from computers to real drawings for all numbers games because of the general outrage that existed for so long over the computerized drawings.

                    Hmmmmnn....good to know.

                    Smile

                      Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                      Zeta Reticuli Star System
                      United States
                      Member #30470
                      January 17, 2006
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                      Posted: April 16, 2014, 10:49 am - IP Logged

                      From the OP:

                      Lottery officials said Tuesday they are considering parting ways with WGN-TV, home to daily drawings since 1994, when the current one-year contract expires in June. Advances in lottery technology, an influx of new games and the move by Tribune Co. to pull the evening drawings off of national cable channel WGN America in February are playing into the decision.

                      Couple this with the thread about Northstar not divulging everything and it's very suspicious.

                      "WGN America is in the process of reinventing itself as a national cable channel, with heavily-promoted "Salem" debuting on Sunday, the first of several original scripted dramas rolling out this year."

                      Until now WGNA has shown nothing but repeats of old programs, sports and news.

                      Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

                      Lep

                      There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

                        chrissy16's avatar - Capture
                        Aaliyah's Numbers

                        United States
                        Member #129873
                        June 30, 2012
                        2350 Posts
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                        Posted: April 16, 2014, 11:01 am - IP Logged

                        The NJ Lottery broadcasts its evening drawings live on TV, and all drawings are broadcast live on the Internet.  No computerized drawings here.  Maybe that's why the games continue to be so popular in the state.

                        I disagree with you about the probability that moving to computerized drawings would not harm sales in Illinois.  Computerized drawings are horrendous, and many people (including myself) are far less inclined to play when they are used.  Perhaps you are not aware that Indiana switched from computers to real drawings for all numbers games because of the general outrage that existed for so long over the computerized drawings.

                        Great article Todd.  Please keep me in the loop with this.

                             

                          smooth11484's avatar - Lottery-053.jpg
                          ohio
                          United States
                          Member #125203
                          March 26, 2012
                          1834 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: April 16, 2014, 11:17 am - IP Logged

                          You guys think the balls are better blah the numbers they want to dall are already picked the balls are merely a concrete image we can see to represent the numbers.

                          .

                            Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                            Chief Bottle Washer
                            New Jersey
                            United States
                            Member #1
                            May 31, 2000
                            21615 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: April 16, 2014, 12:09 pm - IP Logged

                            You guys think the balls are better blah the numbers they want to dall are already picked the balls are merely a concrete image we can see to represent the numbers.

                            Well, that's wrong.

                             

                            Check the State Lottery Report Card
                            What grade did your lottery earn?

                             

                            Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                            Help eliminate computerized drawings!