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New Hampshire Lottery celebrates 45th anniversary

New Hampshire LotteryNew Hampshire Lottery: New Hampshire Lottery celebrates 45th anniversary

Trailblazing N.H. had first-in-nation lottery

"A tragic mistake." "A scandalous experiment in state financing." "The shame of New Hampshire."

Opponents of expanded gambling argue that it would hurt the state's image and cause more problems than it would solve. But the quotes above aren't from the current legislative debate; they're from newspaper editorials written in 1964, when New Hampshire launched the nation's first legal state-run lottery.

As the state considers allowing video slot machines at racetracks and other locations, it happens to be marking the 45th anniversary of its first sweepstakes. In contrast to the local opposition the current proposals face, efforts to start the lottery elicited outrage on a national scale.

"It is an unhappy commentary of human nature that the citizens of New Hampshire, apparently unwilling to carry a normal tax load, are tapping one of man's less noble impulses to raise money for the education of their children," editorialized the Milwaukee Journal.

"Many solid citizens are convinced that the horses in the inaugural running of the New Hampshire Sweepstakes will be officially trampling New Hampshire's very morality in the dust," lamented The Saturday Evening Post.

Even Reader's Digest weighed in.

"Is either New Hampshire or Uncle Sam so hard up that this shabby dodge is the only way out? ... It will mean moral bankruptcy for New Hampshire," the magazine concluded.

Opponents offer similarly dire warnings today, arguing that expanding gambling will increase crime and political corruption, destroy families and damage the state's quality of life. And though backers claim slots could bring in about $200 million a year at a time when the state faces a significant budget deficit, the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling says expanded gambling will damage tourism and intensify pressures on state and local budgets.

Those arguments seem to have prevailed so far: The House recently killed two bills to expand gambling, and the Senate postponed action on its versions of the bills last week when it became clear the votes weren't yet there.

Getting the original lottery through the Legislature also was a chore: State Rep. Larry Pickett of Keene proposed the bill five times over 10 years before he succeeded. Gov. John King finally signed the bill in April 1963, and the first tickets went on sale March 12, 1964.

The lottery, then called the New Hampshire Sweepstakes, was tied to horse races at Rockingham Park in Salem. Tickets were $3 each and sold at the track and a handful of liquor stores. Drawings were held after $1 million worth of tickets were sold, about every three to four months, said Rick Wisler, executive director of the state lottery commission.

The top prize was $100,000. News accounts of the first race describe one $100,000 winner clasping rosary beads in her white-gloved hands during the race. A Massachusetts couple who won $50,000 described watching the race on television at home, saying their young children were disappointed to learn that they had won money, not the horses. A 21-year-old college student who also won $50,000 was dubbed the "Cinderella Girl" of the sweepstakes.

"Carol Ann Lee, of Worcester, won $50,000 last September in the first Sweeps held in this country in the 20th century," wrote the Boston Sunday Advertiser in May 1965. "Now she has love, happiness and a secure future."

To ensure integrity, the state hired a former FBI agent to direct the lottery, which operated out of one room in the Statehouse. Since then, it's expanded from one game to up to 70 instant games a year with ticket prices ranging from $1 to $30. The amount returned each year to public education has reached $80 million, though ticket sales have slumped along with the economy recently.

Though more than half of all states with lotteries reported sales increases in the last half of 2008, instant ticket sales were down 9 percent in New Hampshire. State revenues from multistate lotteries, such as Powerball, also have dropped, though daily number games were more stable.

Wisler said he is confident sales will rebound.

"We're really no different than most other products that people will buy on impulse when they go into a store, depending on the amount of discretionary income they have, but we bounced back in the early 80s, there's no doubt we're going to bounce back from this," Wisler said.

Lottery celebrates at longest-running retail outlets

Patrons of the Deep Meadow Variety store on Linden Street got lucky last Thursday.

On March 12, any patron who purchased New Hampshire Powerball, Tri-State Megabucks, HotLotto Sizzler, Tri-State Pick3/Pick 4 Daily Numbers, Tri-State Weekly Grand, or scratch tickets received a free T-shirt, mug, or deck of cards. The give-a-ways were part of the New Hampshire Lottery's 45th anniversary celebration at the lottery's 13 longest-running retail outlets.

Lottery representatives were present at the Exeter store, as well as at each of the 12 other locations, to distribute gifts and prizes. Every customer purchasing a lottery item was also entered in a drawing for a party-cooler full of lottery gear, including a towel, hat and tote bag.

Lottery representative Eileen Gromelski, who was on hand at Deep Meadow, said the event was a way to celebrate the anniversary, while rewarding the store and its customers.

"We have this couple of hours where we'll be giving away mugs, shirts, mini-radios, and we're trying to get people to come down to boost the store's sales and give them some recognition," she said.

"If we can generate a few more sales for these places, that's what it's all about," she said.

That goal seemed to be achieved as a steady stream of customers came through the door during the event's first hour.

"There was much more of a crowd than we've ever had at 2 o'clock on a Thursday," said Deep Meadow employee Donna Burt.

In preparation for the event, Burt said signs were posted heralding the giveaways and prizes, and employees made sure to relay the information to regular customers.

Deep Meadow regular Eva Frey, who lives just across the street from the store, said her visit March 12 yielded a deck of playing cards and a coffee, which she said would be put to good use.

"I get rewarded today," said Kim Binette of Raymond, upon receiving a gift-bag just for following her routine of playing her daily numbers. Inside the gift bag was a variety of items, including a T-shirt and eye-glass case, but it was the shirt that really made Kim's day.

"I was hoping I'd get a T-shirt," she exclaimed after seeing the contents of the bag.

Greenland resident Jim Rolston said that, although he is not a regular lottery player, he decided to make an exception. He made off with a shirt, coffee mug and a deck of cards.

AP, Portsmouth Herald News, Lottery Post Staff

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12 comments. Last comment 8 years ago by justxploring.
Page 1 of 1
maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
Massachusetts
United States
Member #37433
April 14, 2006
2747 Posts
Offline
Posted: March 18, 2009, 11:12 pm - IP Logged

New Hampshire lottery does not tax lottery winnings at the state level so after Uncle sam takes his mandatory 25% tax winners are left with 75% of their winnings. In MA you are left with only 70% :(

    justxploring's avatar - villiarna
    Wandering Aimlessly
    United States
    Member #25360
    November 5, 2005
    4461 Posts
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    Posted: March 19, 2009, 11:35 am - IP Logged

    I lived in NH for a long time before moving to FL.   NH was always a maverick state.  "Live Free or Die" has been the motto on the license plate for a long time.   MA had Blue Laws which prohibited certain businesses to be open on Sunday.  So a lot of us would go to NH, which is one reason MA repealed those laws.

    Growing up in Boston, it was not uncommon to drive to the NH mountains on a Sunday to look at the foliage, but crossing the line took me into a whole new world.  Since NH had no state sales tax and no state income tax, a lot of "flatlanders" (people from MA who moved to towns just over the border in Southern NH) started to flock to cities like Nashua & Salem.   BTW there is tax on interest & dividends over $2,500.

    Anyway, I remember when my boyfriend would stop to buy what was then called "Sweepstakes" tickets at Rockingham Park.  Then in the early 70s (think it was 1971) MA began its "Big Game" on Wed night with the jackpot a whopping $50,000.  Times have sure changed!

      Trained2beRich's avatar - home
      Houston,TX
      United States
      Member #35196
      March 13, 2006
      54 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: March 19, 2009, 1:27 pm - IP Logged

      this is a fascinating piece of history.  its been years since Ive been to NH.


        United States
        Member #58528
        February 18, 2008
        710 Posts
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        Posted: March 19, 2009, 3:33 pm - IP Logged

        I guess we all should thank New Hampshire for leading the way.Without them none of us would be playing the lottery today.Thank you,New Hampshire!

          Avatar
          Michigan
          United States
          Member #59293
          March 12, 2008
          121 Posts
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          Posted: March 19, 2009, 4:48 pm - IP Logged

          I guess we all should thank New Hampshire for leading the way.Without them none of us would be playing the lottery today.Thank you,New Hampshire!

          yeah and none of us would be wasting our money.


            United States
            Member #58528
            February 18, 2008
            710 Posts
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            Posted: March 19, 2009, 5:02 pm - IP Logged

            If you see playing the lottery as wasting your money,why do you bother playing?

              Avatar
              Michigan
              United States
              Member #59293
              March 12, 2008
              121 Posts
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              Posted: March 19, 2009, 5:06 pm - IP Logged

              i actually havent played in a about a month. playing the lottery is like taking your money and throwing it in the trash no different

                maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
                Massachusetts
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                Member #37433
                April 14, 2006
                2747 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: March 19, 2009, 5:22 pm - IP Logged

                i actually havent played in a about a month. playing the lottery is like taking your money and throwing it in the trash no different

                Gambling is a form of entertainment. Some people will pay to watch a "made up story" aka movie. Some people will pay to watch "some people chasing around a leather ball" aka football. Some people will pay to eat at the best restaurants aka fine dining. Some people will pay to have sex with somebody. All those are forms of entertainment and different people appreciate them differently. I say to each their own :)


                  United States
                  Member #58528
                  February 18, 2008
                  710 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: March 19, 2009, 5:51 pm - IP Logged

                  i actually havent played in a about a month. playing the lottery is like taking your money and throwing it in the trash no different

                  Unless you happen to win.

                    Avatar

                    Honduras
                    Member #20982
                    August 29, 2005
                    4715 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: March 20, 2009, 1:31 am - IP Logged

                    With the weekly grand this is one state i am proud of....All they need now to make me more proud is  a WV Cash25...And a lottery that pays 1 million a year for life, New Englandish or not but they need one...

                    To me these are the most awesome configurations: [#1]

                    Pick3

                    no pick4

                    WV Cash25

                    Weekly Grand

                    Lotto that pays 1 millon a year for life [Penta-state]

                    Powerball

                    MegaMillion

                     

                    OR THIS CONFIGURATION [#2]

                    Pick3

                    no pick4

                    WV Cash25

                    VA Cash5

                    Weekly Grand

                    Lotto that pays 1 million a year for life [penta-state]

                     Megamillions

                     Powerball

                     

                    OR THIS CONFIGURATION [#3]

                    Pick3

                    no PIck4

                    WV CAsh25

                    VA Cash5

                    Lotto that pays 1 million a year for life [penta-state]

                    MegaMillions

                     Powerball

                     

                    OR THIS CONFIGURATION [#4]

                    Pick3

                    no Pick4

                    WV CAsh25

                    VA CAsh5

                    Lotto6/44

                    Lotto that pays 1 million a year for life

                    MegaMilllions

                     Powerball

                    The Forex trades: 1.6 Trillion dollars EVERY day, that´s more than the GDP of the Carribbean Central America, COMBINED. Enough to feed every crook out there for centuries...To all Geniuses & Powers Countries of the World the Planet needs breakthroughs in all Medicine, Veterinary, Biology related fields, Psychology, Population Psychology/Sociology..They need to genetically ingeneer new plants species/types to give more variety of plants and thus have more resources for combating diseases¨


                     


                     


                     

                     


                      Avatar

                      Honduras
                      Member #20982
                      August 29, 2005
                      4715 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: March 20, 2009, 2:02 am - IP Logged

                      With the weekly grand this is one state i am proud of....All they need now to make me more proud is  a WV Cash25...And a lottery that pays 1 million a year for life, New Englandish or not but they need one...

                      To me these are the most awesome configurations: [#1]

                      Pick3

                      no pick4

                      WV Cash25

                      Weekly Grand

                      Lotto that pays 1 millon a year for life [Penta-state]

                      Powerball

                      MegaMillion

                       

                      OR THIS CONFIGURATION [#2]

                      Pick3

                      no pick4

                      WV Cash25

                      VA Cash5

                      Weekly Grand

                      Lotto that pays 1 million a year for life [penta-state]

                       Megamillions

                       Powerball

                       

                      OR THIS CONFIGURATION [#3]

                      Pick3

                      no PIck4

                      WV CAsh25

                      VA Cash5

                      Lotto that pays 1 million a year for life [penta-state]

                      MegaMillions

                       Powerball

                       

                      OR THIS CONFIGURATION [#4]

                      Pick3

                      no Pick4

                      WV CAsh25

                      VA CAsh5

                      Lotto6/44

                      Lotto that pays 1 million a year for life

                      MegaMilllions

                       Powerball

                      you really don't need pick4...Pick4 is a nuisance...

                      Germany, England, France, Turkey, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Peru are you listening....You need this...You need this people...

                      The Forex trades: 1.6 Trillion dollars EVERY day, that´s more than the GDP of the Carribbean Central America, COMBINED. Enough to feed every crook out there for centuries...To all Geniuses & Powers Countries of the World the Planet needs breakthroughs in all Medicine, Veterinary, Biology related fields, Psychology, Population Psychology/Sociology..They need to genetically ingeneer new plants species/types to give more variety of plants and thus have more resources for combating diseases¨


                       


                       


                       

                       


                        justxploring's avatar - villiarna
                        Wandering Aimlessly
                        United States
                        Member #25360
                        November 5, 2005
                        4461 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: March 21, 2009, 4:39 am - IP Logged

                        i actually havent played in a about a month. playing the lottery is like taking your money and throwing it in the trash no different

                        I agree with you.  I spent over 20 dollars so far this week and won nothing. At this point, I just want to win a free ticket - anything!  However, if I spent it on a nice meal at a restaurant, the next morning it would sort of end up doing the same thing.   If you said flushing your money down the toilet, it would make it easier for me to explain!  LOL