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Star Spangled lottery not a hit with players

Massachusetts LotteryMassachusetts Lottery: Star Spangled lottery not a hit with players

The Massachusetts Lottery's Star Spangled Sweepstakes is shaping up to be a Yankee Doodle disappointment.

With just four days remaining until the game ends on Saturday, prior to the July 4 drawing, sales of the $20 ticket have been significantly below expectations, said lottery spokeswoman Beth Bresnahan.

Through Monday sales hovered at about 30 percent of the game's 4 million tickets, or about 1.2 million tickets, have been sold.

"It's a little slower than expected," said Bresnahan.

Bresnahan said the Lottery is anticipating a last minute rush and is confident sales will be able to reach 2 million, the mark needed for the lottery to break even on the game.

The Star Spangled Sweepstakes went on sale on May 1.

At $20 per ticket, it's the most expensive game ever offered by the lottery.

Only 4 million tickets were printed, and when the game went on sale May 1, officials said they would be on sale until tickets sold out or until June 30, whichever came first.

According to the original plan, 4 million in sales would generate $80 million in revenue. The lottery would keep half and distribute the other half in prizes with a single $20 million winner, 10 winners of $1 million winners, and 40 at $250,000.

Bresnahan said the lottery is committed to distributing the $40 million in prizes, even if the ticket sales come up short.

If fewer than 2 million tickets are sold, the lottery will lose money on the game, Bresnahan said. It needs to sell another 800,000 tickets by Saturday night just to break even, she said.

She said officials are confident last minute sales as the game winds down will push sales over the break-even point.

"It's unlikely to be 100 percent, but we're expecting a last minute rush," she said.

As sales lagged early on, the lottery devised a bonus Early Bird drawing, handing out $1,000 prizes each day since June 1 to people who purchased sweepstakes tickets in advance. Originally, the daily prize winner had a week from the drawing to drive to lottery headquarters to claim the $1,000 prize, but that has since been amended to Aug. 1.

Bresnahan said the promotion generated some increase in sales. "There was also an uptick during Father's Day weekend," she said.

Going into June, the game had sold about 800,000 tickets.

Bresnahan said lottery officials are attributing the sluggish sales to the game's "newness."

Other states have conducted similar games and done very well, she said. The Michigan equivalent of the Star Spangled Sweepstakes sold out in 11 days, she said.

Another reason for the slow sales seems to be the majority of the Massachusetts lottery business — roughly 70 percent - is in the form of instant scratch tickets, she said.

Buying a ticket and waiting weeks to learn if it is a winner "is a different concept," she said.

She said that from standpoint of ticket holders, fewer sales means better odds of winning.

If all 4 million tickets sell out, the odds of hitting the are 1 in 4 million. If sales reach 50 percent, the odds are 1 in 2 million, while 30 percent translates to 1 in 1.2 million.

In comparison, the multi-state Mega Millions game has odds of 1-in-175 million. "If you bought a Star Spangled Sweepstakes ticket, it means you have the best odds of winning a $20 million in prize in the history of the lottery," she said.

The Republican

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9 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by Stack47.
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Bradly_60's avatar - disney37
Atlantic Mine, Michigan
United States
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June 23, 2002
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Posted: June 27, 2007, 9:12 am - IP Logged

Wow...the lottery actually in a position to lose money and are going to do it.  I can't belive they will be giving out all the prizes even though sales are not even 50%.  The odds just got 2x better now with only have the tickets being sold.  Anyone live in MASS....i'll send you some money to buy me tickets...haha.

Brad

    liberal47's avatar - Rowlf
    Holt MI
    United States
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    September 4, 2003
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    Posted: June 27, 2007, 9:53 am - IP Logged

    They should have gone with the baby steps first. They mention the success that Michigan has had with the raffle style game, so they should have copied the payoff structure of the Michigan game as well.

     Michigan started another raffle game two days ago with a total of 600,000 tickets. They have sold 200,000 in two days, and will likely sell them out in just six days. The limited amount of tickets, and much better odds of winning SOMETHING seem to be the big draw.

     When you print over a million tickets it just kills the urgency to buy a ticket.

      justxploring's avatar - villiarna
      Wandering Aimlessly
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      November 5, 2005
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      Posted: June 28, 2007, 10:57 am - IP Logged

      Florida held a raffle on New Year's Day and those tickets sold out in less than 2 weeks.  So they decided to have another one they claim for "those residents who didn't get a chance to play" (sure they did!!) and printed 1.5M for July 4.  Over 1.3M have sold, so they should sell out by this weekend, but it's taken 3 times as long, starting on May 18.  At first I figured it would take at least 2 or 3 weeks longer, because the snowbirds aren't here in May and June, but I've been told by several people who spent $20 or $40 last time that they don't want to take the chance again.  For a lot of people, spending $20 on one shot at a million isn't appealing.  I think the first one was unique and a lot of people saw the odds are a "sure thing."  I heard a few people saying "well I bought 5 tickets so I should get something."  I didn't buy a raffle ticket last time, but I was thinking about it today. It's a lot of money for me to waste at this time in my life, but it won't be a waste if I win even the $10,000 prize.  (this is not healthful thinking! lol) I'm going to admit that I still have a hard time with the odds posted on the FL site. I understand the way they were calculated,  but even 1 in 125,000 means if 1.5M people buy tickets and 12 win 1,499,988 people won't.

        Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
        Zeta Reticuli Star System
        United States
        Member #30470
        January 17, 2006
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        Posted: June 28, 2007, 2:24 pm - IP Logged

        While the lotery likes to promoite the lesser odds raffles offer, they don't do a whole lot to point out that it's a $20 buy-in (price of a ticket) with a predetermined  number of winners and a stagnant prize. 

        Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

        Lep

        There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

          justxploring's avatar - villiarna
          Wandering Aimlessly
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          Posted: June 28, 2007, 2:33 pm - IP Logged

          While the lotery likes to promoite the lesser odds raffles offer, they don't do a whole lot to point out that it's a $20 buy-in (price of a ticket) with a predetermined  number of winners and a stagnant prize. 

          I'd appreciate an explanation, Coin Toss.  What makes this better or worse than another lottery game in your opinion?  As I wrote above, sometimes the odds look really great to me until I break it down. I mean, getting the chance to win $10,000 (200 winners) with odds of 1 in 7,500 (according to the FL site) sounds pretty good.  Then I say to myself "but there will be 7,300 people who don't win." 

          Well, there's an expression we've all heard that people who play the lottery are bad in math, so maybe that applies to me! 

          What?

            Avatar
            Kentucky
            United States
            Member #32652
            February 14, 2006
            7314 Posts
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            Posted: June 28, 2007, 4:09 pm - IP Logged

            I'd appreciate an explanation, Coin Toss.  What makes this better or worse than another lottery game in your opinion?  As I wrote above, sometimes the odds look really great to me until I break it down. I mean, getting the chance to win $10,000 (200 winners) with odds of 1 in 7,500 (according to the FL site) sounds pretty good.  Then I say to myself "but there will be 7,300 people who don't win." 

            Well, there's an expression we've all heard that people who play the lottery are bad in math, so maybe that applies to me! 

            What?

            The only advantage I see of a Raffle over any Lotto game is that the Raffle winning tickets (or numbers) are drawn from the tickets sold.  A Raffle is designed to have a must win jackpot and though a Lotto allows players to pick their own numbers and sells QPs, there is always a possibility the numbers drawn won't match any of the numbers sold. Which game is the better bet depends on the player because there are pros and cons for both games.

            Ohio had a Raffle in April and didn't sell out all the tickets (about 2/3 of the tickets were sold) but distributed the advertised prizes as if they had so the actual chances of winning something was much better. I guess my odds didn't improve because neither of my 2 tickets matched any winning numbers.

            The popularity of these Raffle games seems to depend on the state because while Michigan and Florida have no problem selling out their tickets, Massachusetts might be lucky if they break even.

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              boston
              United States
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              July 12, 2004
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              Posted: June 29, 2007, 4:51 pm - IP Logged

              I refuse to buy a twenty dollar ticket, that is robery. the lottery really crossed the line with that and a lot of people feel the same way. everybody knows that most of the people who play are poor and to put such a high price on a ticked is upseting.

                Bradly_60's avatar - disney37
                Atlantic Mine, Michigan
                United States
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                Posted: June 29, 2007, 5:07 pm - IP Logged

                I refuse to buy a twenty dollar ticket, that is robery. the lottery really crossed the line with that and a lot of people feel the same way. everybody knows that most of the people who play are poor and to put such a high price on a ticked is upseting.

                Well with a state of over 8,000,000 people to sell 2,000,000 tickets isn't that shabby.

                Here in Michigan we have never had a raffle take more than 11 days to sell out.  We are currently selling one now and we have sold more than half of the 600,000 in just 5 days.  Michigan does have less than 10,000,000 people in the state.  People play expensive lottery tickets.  They are the big money makers for the lottery.  Not to mention a $50 ticket raffle that Michigan had that sold out in 3 days.

                Brad

                  Avatar
                  Kentucky
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                  Posted: June 29, 2007, 7:49 pm - IP Logged

                  I refuse to buy a twenty dollar ticket, that is robery. the lottery really crossed the line with that and a lot of people feel the same way. everybody knows that most of the people who play are poor and to put such a high price on a ticked is upseting.

                  "I refuse to buy a twenty dollar ticket, that is robery."

                  The Raffles usually have more than 5 weeks between the start selling date and the raffle date and in that time period there are at least 10 lotto draws. Some people just prefer the one time draw with better odds and must win jackpots. Why is selling one $20 ticket robbery when selling somebody 20 $1 tickets over the same period of time isn't?

                  "everybody knows that most of the people who play are poor and to put such a high price on a ticked is upseting."

                  According to Brad's statistics, Massachusetts must have many more poor people than Michigan because they had no problem selling $50 tickets. Michigan and Ohio sales revenue last year was each $2.2 Billion and Massachusetts was $4.4 Billion. If it's true that most of the people who play are poor, where does the $9 billion a year come from?