A doubling of the top-priced scratch ticket sold by the New Hampshire lottery would trigger increased sales for only the next two to three years, the states lottery chief warned Wednesday.
Sweepstakes Commission Executive Director Rick Wisler advised lawmakers they could avoid a return trip by amending a bill and permitting the eventual top-priced ticket to go from $10 to $25.
The lottery would go to the higher-priced ticket over a period of many years, he stressed.
We manage our (top-rate) price points slowly to allow a product to mature, Wisler told the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
We would probably get two years of growth, possibly three years, before we needed to go to a $25 price point.
Wisler promoted Manchester Democratic Sen. Lou DAllesandros bill (SB 20) to raise the top price of such a ticket from $10 to $20.
The introduction of this in New Hampshire is long overdue, said DAllesandro, who chairs the Senate panel that heard the bill.
Scratch tickets generate nearly two-thirds of revenue for the state lottery with all the profits supporting state aid to education.
Sales over the past decade from those games have risen from $116 million to $175 million, DAllesandro said.
In 1996, lawmakers approved raising the ticket price from $3 to $5. The $10 ceiling was set four years later.
There are 11 lotteries that sell a $20 ticket, and Wisler held a copy of the nations leader - a giant-sized, multi-color, $30 ticket sold in Connecticut. Kentucky also sells a $30 scratch ticket.
At $20, DAllesandro said the commission projects the higher-priced ticket sold first in November 2006 would generate 4 percent more that year and 5.9 percent more in 2007.
The $20 ticket would allow the state to offer a top jackpot prize of at least $250,000, up from the $150,000 prize limit with a $10 ticket.
Scratch-ticket sales only recently have started to level off as the state has reached its peak under the current price structure.
Lempster Republican Sen. Robert Odell questioned the fairness of the scratch ticket game for the player.
Is there a worse bet than these scratch tickets? Odell asked Wisler.
In response, the lottery boss said that 63 percent of what is bet with the tickets is given back in prizes, compared with about a 50 percent return for those who play the multistate Powerball and the Megabucks game shared among Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Bill at a Glance
- Bill No.: SB 20.
- Sponsor: Sen. Lou DAllesandro, D-Manchester.
- Description: This bill would double, from $10 to $20, the maximum price for a scratch ticket sold through the state lottery.
- Status: The Senate Ways and Means Committee took testimony in the first public hearing on the bill Wednesday.