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Reflecting bad times, some lotteries hit losing streak

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Reflecting bad times, some lotteries hit losing streak

State lotteries are down on their luck as players cut back on games of chance.

From California, where sales for the past year are down 5%, to Florida, where sales slipped 7%, fewer people are gambling on scratch-off tickets and numbers games.

"The economy probably has affected lottery sales the way it's affected all discretionary spending," says David Gale of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.

About half of Americans buy lottery tickets, according to a 2008 Gallup Poll. Profits from the $60 billion spent provided nearly $18 billion for education, transit and other state services. As tax revenue declines, those proceeds are needed.

Some lotteries are flush. In Minnesota, sales for the last quarter were up 6% from 2008. That may be because casino revenues have fallen, says William Eadington, director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada-Reno. "People are substituting cheaper gambling," he says.

Many states see declines:

  • Indiana's Hoosier Lottery quarterly sales are down 10% from last year. Those still playing are spending less, says Kathryn Densborn, executive director of the State Lottery Commission of Indiana. "We are fun and entertainment" — expendable, she says.
  • California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso says gasoline prices have hurt. People who switched to mass transit to save money are not driving into gas stations where they used to buy lottery tickets, he says.
  • Iowa lottery sales in the past nine months are down 4% from 2008. Job losses and floods brought "a double whammy," spokeswoman Mary Neubauer says.
  • Kansas sales in late March were down 4% from the same week a year ago, in part because about 50 convenience stores and other vendors went out of business.

Lottery spokeswoman Sally Lunsford says Kansas and other states have been hurt by a dearth of huge jackpots. Many players don't buy tickets until prizes reach $200 million, she says.

Hoping to revive sales, Kansas is recruiting vendors. In Indiana, fast-food restaurants and big-box stores that never sold lottery tickets are calling to get in on the action. The Florida Lottery mailed nearly 8 million discount coupons.

USA Today

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8 comments. Last comment 8 years ago by GamerMom.
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JAP69's avatar - alas
South Carolina
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Posted: April 14, 2009, 9:00 am - IP Logged

Most all lotteries tell players to play responsibly and within their means. Looks like that is what most players are doing.

MAGA

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    Chief Bottle Washer
    New Jersey
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    May 31, 2000
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    Posted: April 14, 2009, 11:49 am - IP Logged

    Most all lotteries tell players to play responsibly and within their means. Looks like that is what most players are doing.

    Good point! Thumbs Up

     

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      Avatar
      Columbia City, Indiana
      United States
      Member #2978
      December 9, 2003
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      Posted: April 14, 2009, 2:05 pm - IP Logged

      I haven't played ANY Hoosier Lottery games since 2003. I continued playing my preselected PowerBall numbers until shortly after the most recent change in the matrix. When I learned that PowerBall now performs four test draws before the official drawing, and another four test draws after the official drawing, I gave up on trying to predict the numbers, and stopped playing altogether. Prior to the expanded number pool, I could count on winning at least half of my money back, on average. I only played the "new" game for about six weeks, and won NOTHING. Had I continued playing, I would have won an equal amount (nothing).

      Now, I have an "extra" $160/ month in my pocket but, according to an email I just received from the National Motorists Association, the state is coming after that money in the form of "Emergency Response Fees" and other superfluous charges. Apparently, many states around the country now believe they should charge us extra money when we need an ambulance or help from local police and fire departments.

      I don't care if the Hoosier Lottery is forced out of business. Since the feds have already prohibited the privatization of state lotteries, Mitch (our governor) would have to come up with some other way to make tens of millions of dollars vanish into thin air every year. Their 2004 annual report claims the Hoosier Lottery spent four million dollars on furniture. When LosingJeff and I visited their Indianapolis headquarters and several branch offices in the summer of that year, the furniture we saw at each location was at least twenty years old. We couldn't help wondering how many officers and directors had new furniture in their tastefully-appointed condos.

      The article above claims Hoosier Lottery sales are down ten percent so far this year. They make the same complaint every year, but somehow manage to boast record sales without fail. As far as I know, LosingJeff and I are the only people who have questioned how this works, and the Hoosier Lottery simply ignores our inquiries. I suppose a few others may have made a phone call or written a letter or two asking their accountants to explain this mathematical anomaly, but I doubt they received a satisfactory answer, either.

      I expect them to announce a sales tax on lottery tickets before long. Our politicians seem determined to maintain the status quo, so any money we attempt to withhold must be extracted from us. Otherwise, they'll be FORCED to reduce spending, and we all know how much they hate that idea.

      Come, Pinky; we must prepare for tomorrow night...

      Jim

        Halle99's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
        United States
        United States
        Member #68252
        December 16, 2008
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        Posted: April 14, 2009, 3:53 pm - IP Logged

        Most all lotteries tell players to play responsibly and within their means. Looks like that is what most players are doing.

        I Agree!  Thats what I also thought while reading the article.....I have played since 2005 and I continue to play my one dollar and It has nothing to do with the economy....I am looking forward to the Mega jackpot tonite....

        "Wait eagerly for the Lord, and keep to the way; God wil raise you to possess the land; you will gloat when the wicked are cut off".

                                                                                      Psalms 37:34

          maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
          Massachusetts
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          April 14, 2006
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          Posted: April 14, 2009, 5:32 pm - IP Logged

          Jim695 "When I learned that PowerBall now performs four test draws before the official drawing, and another four test draws after the official drawing,"

          are you serious???

            Avatar
            Columbia City, Indiana
            United States
            Member #2978
            December 9, 2003
            381 Posts
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            Posted: April 15, 2009, 1:16 pm - IP Logged

            Jim695 "When I learned that PowerBall now performs four test draws before the official drawing, and another four test draws after the official drawing,"

            are you serious???

            Maringoman:

            Traditionally, I'm not that funny, so yes, I'm quite serious.

            However, I do make mistakes on occasion, and I apologize for having posted inaccurate information. PowerBall actually performs four test draws prior to the official drawing, and ONE additional test draw AFTER the official drawing.

            If you'd like to confirm this, go to PowerBall's homepage and click on the "Winning Numbers" link on the left-hand side of the page. Scroll to the bottom and find the box containing their disclaimer and another link that says, "Click here if you are having trouble seeing the most recent numbers." Don't click this link (unless, of course, you're having trouble seeing the most recent numbers, and have a desire to do so); instead, click on the tiny red ball which appears at the end. That will take you to PowerBall's official draw history (either in Adobe or MSWord format), including the results of all five test draws.

            Again, my sincere apologies to the membership for posting this glaring error, and my thanks to maringoman for prompting me to correct it. I'm usually much more vigilant about checking my facts.

            I hope I haven't given the MUSL any ideas ...

            Come, Pinky; we must prepare for tomorrow night...

            Jim

              maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
              Massachusetts
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              Posted: April 15, 2009, 5:58 pm - IP Logged

              jim695 I didn't mean to doubt you, it's just that it seems so absurd to do it so many times. They probably lie to us that the particular drawing they show is live; this makes me soo upset. Nowonder it rarely happens that jackpots are won back to back. When shall the man start playing fair?

                GamerMom's avatar - tails

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                April 21, 2008
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                Posted: April 15, 2009, 7:43 pm - IP Logged

                jim695 I didn't mean to doubt you, it's just that it seems so absurd to do it so many times. They probably lie to us that the particular drawing they show is live; this makes me soo upset. Nowonder it rarely happens that jackpots are won back to back. When shall the man start playing fair?

                why would it matter?  The official winning numbers are the winning numbers no matter how many times it is drawn.

                 

                It is interesting to note that florida POWERBALL sales were not noted to be down.  I would venture a guess that people who used to be plunking down $$ on FLALA tix are now choosing PB instead.  I went to FL on business today and bought PB tix instead of FLALA, which i would have done in December.  If i'm going to waste gamble my $$$ i'm going to go for the highest stakes.