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Connecticut lottery agents protest cut in commissions

Connecticut LotteryConnecticut Lottery: Connecticut lottery agents protest cut in commissions

ROCKY HILL, Conn. — More than 100 lottery agents from across the state came to Connecticut Lottery headquarters in Rocky Hill Thursday to protest a cut in ticket commissions by the Connecticut Lottery Corp.

The agents, who represent businesses ranging from small convenience stores and gas stations to delis and grocery store chains, are frustrated by an act that state legislators passed in February that cut commissions from 5 percent to 4 percent as of April 1.

The lottery corporation's board of directors still needs to vote on whether to adopt the lower fees. More than 40 people who spoke at the meeting voiced opposition to the legislature's plan.

Workers came dressed in monogrammed polo shirts from gas stations and wearing badges that read "Save Lottery Sales and Jobs!"

"It's just not fair," said Bhavesh Patel, who works at the Kwik Mart in Wolcott. "Business is already down for us and this isn't going to help."

Patel and others said the change was like a new tax, adding that the move would be the same as a 20 percent cut in revenues, which could lead to layoffs of part-time employees at some stores.

Most of the people who spoke at the meeting were greeted with cheers and applause from others after they demanded the corporation vote against the decrease and ask the legislature to consider an increase.

Others threatened to stop selling tickets altogether if the decrease is imposed.

"If we all shut down our terminals for a day, you know what the price to you would be," said Laila Gilani, who works for a Getty Foods store. "Tell me one thing where the price has gone down for us. There is nothing."

Board Chairman John Paul told the agents that he expects the nine-member panel to make a final decision later this month or in June.

An overflow of lottery vendors listen to an unidentified man address John Paul, Chairman of the Board of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation and the rest of the Board, which oversees the CT Lottery, during a public hearing at lottery headquarters in Rocky Hill Thursday afternoon. The Boardroom holds 130 people including board members. An additional 30 people filled the hallway outside the doors leading into the room.Vendors were upset by a proposal that would see lottery commissions cut from 5 percent to 4 percent.
An overflow of lottery vendors listen to an unidentified man address John Paul, Chairman of the Board of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation and the rest of the Board, which oversees the CT Lottery, during a public hearing at lottery headquarters in Rocky Hill Thursday afternoon. The Boardroom holds 130 people including board members. An additional 30 people filled the hallway outside the doors leading into the room.Vendors were upset by a proposal that would see lottery commissions cut from 5 percent to 4 percent.

Tony Scheessele, owner of the South Britain Country Store, walks back to his seat after addressing the board that oversees the Connecticut Lottery.
Tony Scheessele, owner of the South Britain Country Store, walks back to his seat after addressing the board that oversees the Connecticut Lottery.

Roger Parmar, manager of the Best Food Mart on Waterbury-Meriden Turnpike in Cheshire, checks lottery scratch ticket serial numbers at the end of a shift. Parmar said the store sells about $800 worth of 42 scratch ticket games from the CT Lottery each day. He said they also sell about $300 worth of traditional lottery games each day.
Roger Parmar, manager of the Best Food Mart on Waterbury-Meriden Turnpike in Cheshire, checks lottery scratch ticket serial numbers at the end of a shift. Parmar said the store sells about $800 worth of 42 scratch ticket games from the CT Lottery each day. He said they also sell about $300 worth of traditional lottery games each day.

Republican-American, Lottery Post Staff

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5 comments. Last comment 8 years ago by Todd.
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Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
Chief Bottle Washer
New Jersey
United States
Member #1
May 31, 2000
23273 Posts
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Posted: May 8, 2009, 1:23 pm - IP Logged

I have to agree with these protesting lottery retailers.  5% is a good commission rate, but drop it to 4% and that takes a sizeable chunk out of the store's revenues -- that's money right out of their pockets.

These days, with lottery sales being the one bright light in the retail channels, taking away that revenue could be devastating for thousands of small business owners.

Besides, does the lottery really want to risk alienating the people directly responsible for the sales of their products?

 

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    Avatar
    Columbia City, Indiana
    United States
    Member #2978
    December 9, 2003
    381 Posts
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    Posted: May 8, 2009, 3:39 pm - IP Logged

    I have to agree with these protesting lottery retailers.  5% is a good commission rate, but drop it to 4% and that takes a sizeable chunk out of the store's revenues -- that's money right out of their pockets.

    These days, with lottery sales being the one bright light in the retail channels, taking away that revenue could be devastating for thousands of small business owners.

    Besides, does the lottery really want to risk alienating the people directly responsible for the sales of their products?

    I agree, Todd.

    One percent equals only a penny per ticket for online games; not a significant savings to the lottery or to the state, but it represents one-fifth of a retailer's income from online sales. Scratch-offs account for a greater percentage of sales in Connecticut (compared to their online games), so tickets costing $2.00 to $20.00 or more will really take a bite.

    The scary part is that once even one state passes such legislation, most other state lotteries will jump on the bandwagon, not wanting to "lose" that revenue.

    If the state is truly that desperate for money, I think a better idea would be to reduce the salaries of ALL Connecticut public officials by 20% across the board; the savings would be equal to or greater than those suggested by the current proposal, and their reatailers would still be able to sell tickets. I'm not sure how many retailers operate in Connecticut, but if only half of them surrender their terminals, the state will actually lose two to three percent of their lottery revenue.

    I'm not a lawmaker so, thankfully, I have a working brain (well, most of the time). It's amazing how grossly obtuse these idiots can be when they're awake.

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

    Jim

      maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
      Massachusetts
      United States
      Member #37433
      April 14, 2006
      2747 Posts
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      Posted: May 9, 2009, 7:12 pm - IP Logged

      Why is everybody working overtime to screw the average guy? From the banks to the insurance companies to the criminals. Enough already!

        Avatar
        Northern California
        United States
        Member #19948
        August 9, 2005
        151 Posts
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        Posted: May 12, 2009, 4:54 pm - IP Logged

        Not to argue with Todd but 5% is not that good of a commission rate. Many states have 6% of sales - plus some sort of cashing bonus and / or a bonus for selling big prize tickets.

         

        The industry average (at least the last time I collected the numbers) was right at about 7% in total retailer compensation.

         

        I know of no state that has a sales commision as low as 4%. Lotteries are not the kind of organizations that can afford to screw anyone - their retailers least of all.

          Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
          Chief Bottle Washer
          New Jersey
          United States
          Member #1
          May 31, 2000
          23273 Posts
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          Posted: May 12, 2009, 11:15 pm - IP Logged

          Not to argue with Todd but 5% is not that good of a commission rate. Many states have 6% of sales - plus some sort of cashing bonus and / or a bonus for selling big prize tickets.

           

          The industry average (at least the last time I collected the numbers) was right at about 7% in total retailer compensation.

           

          I know of no state that has a sales commision as low as 4%. Lotteries are not the kind of organizations that can afford to screw anyone - their retailers least of all.

          I don't see an argument at all.  I agree with you, the retailers should be paid well, because then they will be more motivated to increase sales efforts. 

          At the same time, the retailers need to be held responsible for redeeming winning tickets, even when they don't want to.

          I must say, I have a hard time believing the industry standard is 7%.  Yes, there are some states at 6%, but I don't think it's the norm.

           

          Check the State Lottery Report Card
          What grade did your lottery earn?

           

          Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
          Help eliminate computerized drawings!