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Penn. Lottery declares 1st raffle a success

Pennsylvania LotteryPennsylvania Lottery: Penn. Lottery declares 1st raffle a success

State lotteries are beginning to learn from the success of El Gordo, a raffle-style game, which is one of the most popular lottery games in the world.

The Pennsylvania Lottery had a Merry Christmas — again.

But this time, aside from the usual seasonal sales peak in instant tickets, thousands of players also took a $20 chance to get in the Lottery's first-ever raffle game: a one-time drawing for a declared set of prizes, with winning numbers drawn specifically from the field of tickets sold.

Some $4.3 million in profits later, Lottery officials say it couldn't have been a bigger success, and it now appears only a matter of time until they do it again.

The "Millionaire Raffle" featured four top prizes of $1 million, and five second prizes of $100,000 each, all drawn on New Year's Eve. Add in the 500 additional $1,000 winners, and the game featured the best odds the Lottery has ever offered for prizes of such magnitude.

Tickets went on sale Nov. 22, as part of the Lottery's Christmas season product mix. "There's no question our other products are popular this time of year, and we thought players would have a good time with this," executive director Ed Mahlman said.

Response to the raffle, limited to 500,000 tickets, exceeded all expectations. The game sold out by Dec. 5.

"For the first three or four days [after the game was introduced], all I sold was those tickets," said Samir Halabi, owner of the NS Deli Market on West Willow Street in Carlisle. "Everybody wanted that."

"We still have people asking if they're going to do it again," said Bob Rudy, who sells tickets to the state games from the Cue-Nique Lottery II booth at Strawberry Square in downtown Harrisburg.

The short answer to that is "yes," though as of last Friday, Lottery officials weren't ready to say precisely when.

"We're assessing our next steps right now... But given the great player response, it's likely that we'll have another raffle," and possibly even before Christmas 2006, Mahlman said.

Future raffles could have a different prize structure, ticket prices or player field, he noted. "But this was good for the Lottery, good for the older citizens who benefit from Lottery proceeds, and a nice new addition to our lineup of games for our players," Mahlman added.

It was especially good in Adams County, where Rosie's Restaurant in New Oxford sold one of the four millionaire tickets. The bearer of that ticket had not appeared at Lottery headquarters as of Friday to claim his or her prize.

In all, the Lottery cleared $4.3 million from the raffle's $10 million in sales, after accounting for the $5 million in prizes and $700,000 in vendor commissions and other costs.

Based on preliminary numbers, state Department of Revenue sources add, the raffle proceeds appeared to be new money, and not a redirection of Christmas season instant game sales.

Stephanie Weyant, a deputy press secretary for Revenue, noted weekly instant ticket sales were up from 2004 levels for each week of the 2005 Christmas season (the last six weeks of the year), and showed a gain of 15.5 percent, or $26.5 million, for the period as a whole.

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11 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by CASH Only.
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United States
Member #3676
February 10, 2004
425 Posts
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Posted: January 9, 2006, 6:11 pm - IP Logged

El Gordo's payout is 70% this garbage was just 50%.  God forbid a state comes out with an extremely attractive game to play once in a while.


    United States
    Member #379
    June 5, 2002
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    Posted: January 9, 2006, 6:13 pm - IP Logged

    El Gordo's payout is 70% this garbage was just 50%.  God forbid a state comes out with an extremely attractive game to play once in a while.

    You think 50% is bad? My NY Lotto pays out only 38%-40%.

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      Chief Bottle Washer
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #1
      May 31, 2000
      23273 Posts
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      Posted: January 9, 2006, 7:03 pm - IP Logged

      50% is about average for a state lottery -- not too bad.  El Gordo is a very old game.  If El Gordo were created today, I would wager that it would have closer to a 50% payout.  That's just the nature of the industry these days.

       

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        United States
        Member #10720
        January 23, 2005
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        Posted: January 9, 2006, 11:49 pm - IP Logged

        They'd probably do it again next December, if they do. I am not sure I'll play it again because $20 each is expensive and you can't pick your own numbers. NY had King Kong Millions at the same time but theirs were $2 each or less (up to 10 for $10) with a 50MILL jackpot. That one I WOULD play again.


          United States
          Member #3676
          February 10, 2004
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          Posted: January 10, 2006, 12:09 pm - IP Logged

          I understand that 50% is the industry norm for a lotto game, but if scratch offs can pay 70% back then a special lottery game like this should also be able to.  I think the 20 dollar value is fair as your odds of winning are pretty fair compared to a 2 dollar game like kingkong. 


            United States
            Member #379
            June 5, 2002
            11296 Posts
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            Posted: January 11, 2006, 9:48 am - IP Logged

            They'd probably do it again next December, if they do. I am not sure I'll play it again because $20 each is expensive and you can't pick your own numbers. NY had King Kong Millions at the same time but theirs were $2 each or less (up to 10 for $10) with a 50MILL jackpot. That one I WOULD play again.

            KKM had a 40% payback. If NY does something like that again I would avoid it.

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              Tennessee
              United States
              Member #7853
              October 15, 2004
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              Posted: January 12, 2006, 10:03 pm - IP Logged

              maybe tennessee will get a raffle too...i'd like that.

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                Indiana
                United States
                Member #29196
                December 29, 2005
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                Posted: January 12, 2006, 10:21 pm - IP Logged

                Fifty percent may be about average for a state lottery but the Hoosier Lottery is now paying only 40%.  Of course we don't have an "average" lottery. 

                Jim 


                Money frees you from doing things you dislike.  Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.  - Groucho Marx


                  United States
                  Member #379
                  June 5, 2002
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                  Posted: January 13, 2006, 9:59 am - IP Logged

                  Fifty percent may be about average for a state lottery but the Hoosier Lottery is now paying only 40%.  Of course we don't have an "average" lottery. 

                  Jim 

                  How do you know the payout in Indiana is 40%? I thought only NY was that cheap.

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                    United States
                    Member #1826
                    July 11, 2003
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                    Posted: January 31, 2006, 6:41 pm - IP Logged

                    Fifty percent may be about average for a state lottery but the Hoosier Lottery is now paying only 40%.  Of course we don't have an "average" lottery. 

                    Jim 

                    How do you know the payout in Indiana is 40%? I thought only NY was that cheap.

                    Uncle Jim is referring to the percentage of the advertised jackpot given to cash option electees, not the percentage of sales given to prizes.

                    (insert signature here)


                      United States
                      Member #379
                      June 5, 2002
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                      Posted: January 31, 2006, 6:51 pm - IP Logged

                      Fifty percent may be about average for a state lottery but the Hoosier Lottery is now paying only 40%.  Of course we don't have an "average" lottery. 

                      Jim 

                      How do you know the payout in Indiana is 40%? I thought only NY was that cheap.

                      Uncle Jim is referring to the percentage of the advertised jackpot given to cash option electees, not the percentage of sales given to prizes.

                      If that is the case, Hoosier Lotto has the lowest cash value v annuity of any US lottery. Colorado Lotto used to pay cash option winners 40% of the annuity (it's now 50%).