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N.D. lottery's first year deemed 'exceptional'

North Dakota LotteryNorth Dakota Lottery: N.D. lottery's first year deemed 'exceptional'

Nearly a year after North Dakota unveiled its state lottery, former Gov. Arthur Link still gets annoyed waiting in line for someone else to splurge on the dream of a big payday.

It happened just the other day, Link said, when he watched a man ahead of him in a convenience store hand over $2 for a couple of slips of paper. Link is among the lottery's foremost critics.

Those with a sunnier view of the lottery point to a ledger that shows North Dakota's treasury raking in nearly $6 million since March 25, 2004, when the Powerball tickets started rattling off the distinctive red printers in stores around the state.

The first was sold to Rep. Andy Maragos, R-Minot, who led an initiative campaign that put the lottery measure on the ballot in November 2002. Voters agreed to amend the state constitution to allow the introduction of Powerball, which is played in 26 other states, including Montana, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Maragos says the lottery's earnings are proof that North Dakota has been able to lure back players who used to spend their lottery allowances in neighboring states. Maragos' wife, Sherry, works for the lottery as a customer relations specialist.

Andy Maragos said he's convinced that lottery customers have helped boost North Dakota's economy.

"They're buying gas, they're buying cigarettes, they're buying groceries - everything that efficient consumers buy when they're going somewhere to buy one thing," he said. "I think it's done everything that we thought it would and more."

North Dakota's lottery has since added two more multistate games and is easily surpassing early projections for sales, profit and participation, said Chuck Keller, the state lottery director.

The first estimates pegged Powerball's earnings for the state general fund at $1.4 million for the budget period that ends June 30. But the game earned that much profit in just three months, and Keller now expects the state to make at least $6.2 million by June's end.

Keller said a major reason for the margin is the North Dakota lottery's low-overhead operation. The office has only six employees, its computer center is in Montana, and most of the data is transmitted by satellite, which cuts down on maintenance costs.

The largest single share of money spent on tickets - 46 cents of each $1 sold - pays for prizes. The biggest North Dakota payouts so far have been from Powerball, with North Dakotans claiming $100,000 prizes three times.

Some 27 cents of each ticket dollar are diverted to the state general fund, and Scientific Games, the contractor that provides software and lottery terminals, gets about 11 cents. The 400 merchants who sell tickets each get a 5 percent commission.

So far, no one has claimed a bigger share of the $19.6 million in tickets purchased statewide than M&H Gas, a convenience store in Mandan, N.D.

"It's been interesting - not as hard as we thought it would be," Mary Junker, the store's manager, said. "The big red machine kind of scared us at first."

No matter how much players are winning, critics such as Link say the state should not encourage people to throw down their money for a remote chance at a hefty payoff.

"It's been touted as economic development so many times. But it's just people changing money, and there's nothing stable about it," Link said.

For Keller, the numbers are hard to dispute. Officials are now considering adding a fourth multistate game, called 2 by 2, but don't have a launch date to announce yet.

"The facts speak for themselves," he said. "It's been an exceptional year."

AP

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7 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by DoctorEw220.
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DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
Yinzer Country, PA
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Posted: March 24, 2005, 10:31 pm - IP Logged

you wanna call their first year "exceptional"?



they don't offer scratch-offs. they rely completely on multi-state games. i wouldn't call that exceptional. i would call that leeching.

I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

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    Posted: March 24, 2005, 10:33 pm - IP Logged
    Quote: Originally posted by DoctorEw220 on March 24, 2005

    you wanna call their first year "exceptional"?



    they don't offer scratch-offs. they rely completely on multi-state games. i wouldn't call that exceptional. i would call that leeching.


    (insert signature here)


      United States
      Member #379
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      Posted: March 25, 2005, 9:37 am - IP Logged

      But North Dakota does have Hot Lotto.

        DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
        Yinzer Country, PA
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        Posted: March 25, 2005, 4:17 pm - IP Logged

        that doesn't matter. a lottery should not be started up just to get sales off of jackpots created by other states. ND needs games outside of the MUSL, and that includes scratch-offs. even IA has a game of their own. ND will understand sooner or later that the players will get tired of the same games, and that they need something along the lines of a pick 3, pick 4, and pick 5 games. perhaps they should go in with SD on Dakota Cash. heck, i've been wanting the two dakotas to combing and become one state, Dakota. anyway, ND needs more variety. dventually ND will start to lose players to MN because they offer a pick 3 game, scratch-offs, and two pick 5 games.



        anyone wanna start a petition to the ND lottery to offer in-state games?

        I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

          DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
          Yinzer Country, PA
          United States
          Member #4067
          March 18, 2004
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          Posted: March 25, 2005, 4:18 pm - IP Logged

          they are 3rd worst in sales, so don't anyone try to argue that they are not using jackpots generated from other states to get sales.

          I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

            Tnplayer805's avatar - G 14_v78828750_Small.JPG
            North Dakota
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            Posted: April 6, 2005, 1:33 am - IP Logged

            Sounds like if someone won powerball they would go bankrupt.  They need more retailers and they need scratch offs.  THEN they might get the ball rolling.

              DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
              Yinzer Country, PA
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              Posted: April 6, 2005, 1:45 am - IP Logged

              well, with poewrball, the jackpot money comes from all of the states, but north dakota would only pay a small percentage of that money.



              they do need scratch-offs because they are still going to lose money from bordering states that offer scratch-offs.



              they also need in-state games such as pick 3, pick 4, and pick 5 because they are going to still lose money to other states that offer those games.



              they have a long way to go.

              I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.