Some Massachusetts Lottery players have given up hope that they'll ever cash in on a $10 million Hold 'em Poker scratch game the state launched more than two years ago.
State Lottery officials acknowledge that a few finalists have died waiting. But they say ticket sales have been slower than expected and it may be another year before the game sells out and prizes can be drawn in the championship round.
"I'm really disgusted," Nicholas Zeogas told The Patriot Ledger of Quincy. He became the second Hold 'em Poker player in the state to move to the championship round after buying his ticket in June 2005.
The Hold 'em game was designed as a user-friendly version of the trendy poker game played everywhere from Las Vegas casinos to college dorm rooms.
Zeogas, of Quincy, was told the grand-prize drawing would be held in mid-2006.
"I'm 73," he told newspaper. "What happens if I die?"
The grand prize drawing is triggered when the last of about 80.6 million tickets is sold. Only about 53.2 million have been sold so far. At that rate, the drawing could be held a little more than a year from now, Lottery spokesman Dan Rosenfeld told the Ledger.
"The game is successful, but it's not as successful as what the initial estimates were," he said. "That drawing is going to be held. It's fair to say the drawing is still a ways off."
Only 358 of the 560 finalists needed to finish the game have qualified so far.
That's not reassuring to Elsie Singh, 59, of Quincy, who doesn't believe it will ever happen.
"Oh God, that's a long time ago, over two years," said Singh, who won a miniature pool table as her initial prize while also winning a spot in the grand-prize drawing.