North Dakota will add multi-state 2by2 game starting February 2nd
It's too early to determine if lottery sales are leveling off nearly two years after the first tickets were sold, according to Chuck Keller, director of the North Dakota Lottery Division.
"Our sales have pretty well held steady,"Keller said.
Since the first tickets were sold on March 25, 2004, the North Dakota Lottery has had sales of $34.9 million.
Keller said from July 1 to Dec. 26 of this year, sales were approximately $9.9 million, which is down $152,000 from that same time period last year.
Lottery ticket sales in the first 15 months of the lottery totalled $25.3 million, which was more than double the original projection of $11 million.
LaRayne Haakenson, area supervisor for Stamart, said sales of lottery tickets have dropped slightly in North Dakota Stamart stores since the lottery began.
"Since the lottery started in March of last year, we've been consistently strong, although we are down slightly from what we call the honeymoon stage,"Haakenson said.
The lottery is estimated to bring in $36 million in sales in the 2005-07 biennium, which began July 1 and ends June 30, 2007. Of that $36 million, about $10 million will be put into the state's general fund. The rest is used to pay expenses, prizes, retailer commissions and to fund problem-gambling programs and a prize reserve pool.
Rep. Rae Ann Kelsch, R-Mandan, said the steady sales don't surprise her because there was strong support for approving the lottery in a 2002 initiative.
"I figured they (North Dakotans) would be good supporters of the lottery,"Kelsch said.
Kelsch is chairwoman of an advisory commission for the lottery.
Businesses in western North Dakota consistently have been listed as the top locations for ticket sales.
Keller said the reason sales are so high in western North Dakota is because residents of eastern cities have been playing the Minnesota Lottery for years.
"It's not a novelty for them as much as it is in western North Dakota,"Keller said.
Large jackpots have boosted sales, especially in October when the Powerball jackpot reached $340 million.
On Oct. 19, Powerball sales were $588,981 and the total for the week of Oct. 13-19 was more than $1.4 million. The grand total for all three games - Powerball, Hot Lotto and Wild Card 2 - exceeded $1.56 million that week.
Although winning a large jackpot is a long shot, several winning tickets were purchased in North Dakota.
The largest prize won in North Dakota was a $420,000 winner of the Wild Card 2 game from a ticket purchased in Michigan, N.D., in July.
There have been 76 prizes of $5,000 or more.
Other large prizes won in North Dakota include one prize of $268,700, three prizes of $200,000, a $135,000 prize and five $100,000 prizes.
The Lottery Division also is finding ways to sell more tickets.
Starting Feb. 2, people will have another lottery game to play.
The new game, 2by2, requires people to pick two red numbers and two white numbers between 1 and 26. The grand prize for matching all four numbers is $20,000, the prize for matching three is $100, matching two numbers lands a $3 prize and matching one number wins a free ticket.
People also can buy lottery tickets without leaving the house.
Starting in November, the Lottery Division began selling lottery subscriptions, which allows people to use the same numbers for 26, 52 or 104 drawings and pay up front.
"We feel that subscriptions will be a very effective marketing tool for the lottery,"Keller said.
Players must fill out subscription applications, which are available at all 400 lottery retail locations and on the lottery's Web site. A player's numbers will be entered into each Wednesday and Saturday draw of the subscription period for the game.
From Nov. 1 to Dec. 26, the lottery division sold 297 subscriptions worth $25,116.