Countdown to Millions, Maryland's raffle-like lottery, didn't sell as many tickets as lottery officials had hoped, and the drawing was delayed one day to sell more.
At $20 apiece, they were the most expensive tickets ever. The Maryland Lottery held its drawing Monday night for Countdown to Millions new game featuring the Maryland Lottery's best odds ever at winning $1 million.
The lottery sold about 325,000 tickets, short of the lottery's 420,000-ticket goal, said lottery spokeswoman Carole Everett.
Nevertheless, "We're pretty pleased because this game came out at the same time that we lost our advertising agency," Everett said. "This thing has run with almost no advertising. All things considered, we're pretty pleased."
The game's marketing played up the odds: a 1-in-105,000 chance to win $1 million and a 1-in-517 chance to win at least $500. The drawings were originally scheduled for New Year's Eve.
Unlike traditional lotteries in which the number of tickets sold has no effect an individual player's chances to win, Countdown to Millions was more like a raffle. The numbers were assigned sequentially as players bought tickets. The possible combinations in the drawing were limited to the numbers on players' tickets.
So the odds of winning $1 million ended up being about 1 in 81,250 and the odds of winning any prize were about 1 in 400.
Tickets went on sale Nov. 20, about a week after its longtime advertising agency, Eisner Communications, went out of business. The lottery cannot easily purchase ad time directly from television stations, newspapers and other outlets because of restrictions in state procurement laws.
The lottery hired the ad agency Trahan, Burden & Charles on Dec. 8, but the ad campaign was off the air entirely for about a month.
From the beginning, the lottery gave itself wiggle room on the drawing date. The fine print for the game said the lottery could hold the drawing earlier or later, depending on when the tickets sold out. Everett said lottery officials "didn't want to disappoint our players," so they held the drawing last night even though the game hadn't sold out.
On Monday night, lottery officials announced the million dollar winners intermittently during the prime time television hours. The winning numbers are: 076104, 097164, 298695 and 129615.
All results for Countdown to Millions are available at http://www.lotterypost.com/specialresults/md-lottery-raffle-2007.asp.