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Maryland Lottery to replace classic Lotto game

Maryland LotteryMaryland Lottery: Maryland Lottery to replace classic Lotto game

A million bucks doesn't buy dreams like it used to.

The first Maryland lottery game to offer $1 million prizes seems likely to become extinct, a victim of players who opt to gamble instead on mega-jackpots.

Introduced in November 1983 to help bail out financially strapped localities such as Prince George's County and Baltimore, Maryland Lotto — once the lottery's flagship game — is showing its age, according to state officials.

In the past fiscal year, Maryland Lotto sales dropped 5 percent while every other game posted gains, according to the latest figures.

Much like lottery games around the nation, Maryland Lotto's typical jackpots of a few million dollars have been dwarfed by the multistate game, Mega Millions, which starts at $12 million and often grows beyond $100 million.

"The current Lotto game, as it is currently structured, could possibly be phased out with another game," said Maryland Lottery Director Buddy Roogow.

He added: "We'll have to try something new and more exciting, and [a game] that is more player-friendly and means more winners."

To win the Lotto jackpot, players must match all six numbers drawn from 1 to 49, with jackpots rolling over from one drawing to the next. In its 22 years, Lotto has had 359 jackpot winners; the largest was $24 million in March 2001. Matching fewer numbers on the tickets — $1 buys two chances — wins smaller prizes ranging from $2 to $1,500.

For the 12-state Mega Millions game, players purchase $1 tickets and choose five numbers between 1 and 56 and one Gold Mega Ball number between 1 and 46. The richest jackpot reached an annuity value of $363 million in 2000. Lesser prizes for matching fewer numbers range from $250,000 to $2 for each drawing.

Odds of winning the Lotto jackpot are 1 in 26.8 million, compared with the Mega Millions odds of 1 in 175 million. Since Mega Millions started, Maryland has sold nine winning jackpot tickets; the largest was $183 million in June 2003.

Though players are much less likely to win Mega Millions than Maryland Lotto, many have been lured by the prospect of larger jackpots — a trend evident to many lottery merchants.

Matt Owens, an attendant at the Canton Market convenience store on Boston Street, said Mega Millions drawings days, Tuesday and Friday, are his busiest.

"They really don't care about the odds, it's about the money," he said of the players.

At the Liquor Lady in Perry Hall, where the winning Lotto ticket for the June 11 jackpot was purchased, a white sign reading, "We Sold A $1.1 Million Lotto Ticket," hangs behind the pink lottery machine where store owner Bhupendra Patel stands.

Patel said more people are buying Lotto tickets because of the sign. "Wow, somebody won here," he said customers typically say.

But, Patel said, more people continue to purchase Mega Millions tickets over Lotto because of the jackpots.

Still, some Lotto players say they can't give up their habit.

Vernon Adams, 81, of Perry Hall, said that playing both multimillion-dollar games is routine. Adams has been playing each game since its inception and has a simple technique when he fills out a playslip — he uses a few birthdates.

Maryland's declining Lotto sales follow the trend of other states involved in multistate jackpot games such as Mega Millions and Powerball.

"There have been some states who have seen enough erosion in their local games that they have moved to a multistate game exclusively," said Edward J. Stanek, chairman of the International Lottery Alliance and head of the Iowa lottery.

Stanek said that as more states consolidate with large jackpots, the single-state lottery games will be narrowed to "a particular market interest."

In Pennsylvania, the state lottery agency shifted its games after joining Powerball in 2002 and ending its equivalent of Maryland's Lotto.

Stephanie Weyant, a Pennsylvania Lottery spokeswoman, said the lottery focusing on the people who want more chances to win smaller prizes.

"Now, none of the current games are intended to compete with Powerball because they can't," Weyant said. "The lottery games today are to appeal to different players who have different niches."

Tentatively, Roogow said, a replacement for the Lotto would not consist of a jackpot, rather a game with more chances at winning smaller prizes. The game could start as early as January, he said.

Continuing to increase lottery sales is particularly important, according to Maryland lottery officials, because the revenue contributes so many dollars to the state's general fund to support such services as education and public health and safety. The lottery provided $477 million in revenue to Maryland in the past fiscal year, almost a $19 million increase over the previous year.

For Suzanne Feltz, 38, of Essex, her day is not complete without stopping at the Liquor Lady in Perry Hall. Feltz plays both multimillion-dollar games and a few scratch-offs. She said she buys more tickets based on the amount of the jackpot, which she agrees is usually larger with Mega Millions.

Baltimore Sun

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44 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 3

United States
Member #379
June 5, 2002
11296 Posts
Offline
Posted: August 4, 2005, 7:46 pm - IP Logged

MD should join Lotto South.

Look for the new MD game to be a Match-6 clone.

    LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
    Tennessee
    United States
    Member #7853
    October 15, 2004
    11338 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: August 4, 2005, 7:54 pm - IP Logged

    tennessee should join too...lottosouth that is.


      United States
      Member #379
      June 5, 2002
      11296 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: August 4, 2005, 8:10 pm - IP Logged

      If MD is looking to PA for a new game concept, it better pass on Unlucky for Life.

        four4me's avatar - gate1
        MD
        United States
        Member #1701
        June 18, 2003
        8364 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: August 4, 2005, 8:39 pm - IP Logged

        If MD is looking to PA for a new game concept, it better pass on Unlucky for Life.

        A few years ago they ran the win for life scratchers in maryland. Too bad i didn't win i could used the little bit of income from it to buy a nice property.

        They haven't ran the win for life scratchers since.


          United States
          Member #379
          June 5, 2002
          11296 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: August 4, 2005, 8:41 pm - IP Logged

          four4:

          Bring them back only if there's a cash option.

            four4me's avatar - gate1
            MD
            United States
            Member #1701
            June 18, 2003
            8364 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: August 4, 2005, 8:52 pm - IP Logged

            Cash that's not going to happen the win for lifes are a scratch game designed to pay out on a month to month or year to year basis. There are a couple hundred cash option scratchers. Why do you have a problem with a game that structured they way it was designed to pay off. If it was a cash option game then the terms win a thousand a week for life wouldn't apply.

            It's not win a million right now. Although i could go for a scratcher like that.

              Avatar

              United States
              Member #1826
              July 11, 2003
              2645 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: August 4, 2005, 9:08 pm - IP Logged

              Oh no! You know how hard it is to find a game where you get 2 for a buck?! Don't let them get rid of Maryland Lotto!

              (insert signature here)

                Avatar

                United States
                Member #1826
                July 11, 2003
                2645 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: August 4, 2005, 9:23 pm - IP Logged

                I just e-mailed them suggesting a 6/44, two for a buck Lotto. The lower tier payouts would be the same, and it would begin as an all-cash jackpot of $250,000.

                (insert signature here)

                  Avatar

                  United States
                  Member #434
                  June 30, 2002
                  675 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: August 4, 2005, 10:52 pm - IP Logged

                  I was disappointed when they stopped selling Cash in Hand (7/31). That was a good game.

                    four4me's avatar - gate1
                    MD
                    United States
                    Member #1701
                    June 18, 2003
                    8364 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: August 4, 2005, 11:14 pm - IP Logged
                    Jimmy the MD lottery get about 16,000 to 100,000 emails a day good luck with your attempt. You might get an answer if not the generic reply.
                    One of the reasons that MD. lotto has lost it appeal is the roll over and the fact that it's 1 in 26.8  million odds of winning with approximate. 3 million people of playing age. Not enough people are interested in winning a prize that's gonna get taxed 38% overall and with a cash out option reduce the take home to about 1/3 of the total take. See Buddy didn't mention that little tidbit. I believe that MD lottery makes enough on scratchers that they can afford to offer better prizes and should reduce the tax burden or make it tax exempt especially if a person takes the cash. This way the lottery get's their cut and the people have a little something walking away.
                    Maryland lottery can't compete with larger states lotteries because we don't have the quantity of people many states have. Whatever they decide to do if it doesn't have a descent roll over it will flop as long as we have mega mill to fall back on the people are going to go with the game with the most bang for the buck.
                      Avatar

                      United States
                      Member #1826
                      July 11, 2003
                      2645 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: August 4, 2005, 11:52 pm - IP Logged

                      The odds of winning per line is 1 in 14 million, and you get lines for a dollar which cuts the odds in half.

                      (insert signature here)


                        United States
                        Member #16612
                        June 2, 2005
                        3493 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: August 5, 2005, 12:26 am - IP Logged

                        I think Maryland should join PB and not have their own lotto game because they need big jackpots and sales.

                          four4me's avatar - gate1
                          MD
                          United States
                          Member #1701
                          June 18, 2003
                          8364 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: August 5, 2005, 12:40 am - IP Logged

                          we have megamillions

                          Powerball is in DC, DE and PA were surrounded by powerball states.

                          Big John says. You don't hit the number. The number hits you!!!!

                                         I'm not Big John, I'm Four4me, Big John's a friend.
                            Tnplayer805's avatar - G 14_v78828750_Small.JPG
                            North Dakota
                            United States
                            Member #13397
                            April 5, 2005
                            1623 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: August 5, 2005, 2:09 am - IP Logged

                            I like to play instate lotto games or Lotto South because the odds are a lot better than powerball or MM.  I can't wait to play FL lotto multi draws. 

                            How are you going to win if you don't play?