Some upset with Pennsylvania Lottery broadcast

Jun 3, 2010, 7:12 am (6 comments)

Pennsylvania Lottery

Pittsburghers who watch the nightly lottery drawings have been losing a little sleep lately, though it's not because of big jackpot jitters.

When the multi-state Mega Millions debuted Feb. 2 in Pennsylvania, state lotto officials asked television stations statewide to broadcast it in the same time slot as the Powerball drawing, which airs Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Instead of squeezing the Mega Millions into the familiar 10:59 p.m. time slot Tuesdays and Fridays, Pennsylvania Lottery officials permitted stations to air the drawings later in their nightly newscasts.

"To make it consistent, we asked if they could just have them both at the same time of night so people know four days a week that it will be at this time and at this channel," said Veronica Sinclair-Anderson, a lottery spokeswoman. "People like consistency."

That means the live drawings for both games are recorded at 10:59 p.m. then broadcast at 11:22 p.m. in Pittsburgh; 11:20 p.m. in the Harrisburg, Johnstown, Altoona and Erie areas; 11:25 p.m. in Philadelphia and 11 p.m. in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.

"Even 11 p.m. is too late, so 11:22 is way too late for me," said lottery player Myra Rasul of Brighton Heights.

Rasul, 42, bought Powerball tickets Wednesday at Alex's Ice Cream on East Ohio Street in the North Side. She and two dozen of her co-workers at a breast cancer research nonprofit often pool their money.

"We play only when it's over $100 million," she said.

Last night's Powerball jackpot was $260 million.

That's big, but far from an all-time high. The record is $365 million set in February 2006 when eight workers from a Nebraska meat-packing plant won. Sinclair-Anderson said some states don't televise Mega Millions drawings. Others, such as New Jersey, air both Powerball and Mega Millions regularly at 10:59 p.m.

Lottery players complained when the drawing time changed, but not many, said Bob Bee, director of sales at WTAE-TV, which took over airing the lottery from KDKA-TV in July 2009.

More people complained when a drawing cut off the end of a scripted television drama before the news.

One long-abandoned solution was to air a picture-in-picture box at the end of the network show. That ended after about two months.

"Real patrons of a show don't like it when you preempt it for the lottery," Bee said. "We got more complaints when we were running the double box."

WTAE normally airs the lottery drawing after its five-day weather forecast. When jackpots balloon, the station will air the drawings at the start of the newscast, said news director Alex Bongiorno.

Codell Daniels, 43, of the North Side, said he rarely checks the winning numbers on TV at night.

He usually spends $1 to $5 on tickets when the jackpot goes above $80 million. If he wins (odds are 1 in 195 million), the professional barber plans to take the annual annuity instead of the lump sum.

"They made it later?" he said. "I'll just catch them in the morning."

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


dr65's avatardr65

I'd like the opportunity to be able to watch the live drawing. Sure, you can get the numbers in the morning but a recorded draw just doesn't sit

well. Just like the computerized midday drawing in's unnatural. The way its' done now, it is confusing. It doesn't matter if not many are up

to see it, 10:59 might be too late for a lot of people but I'd just be satisfied in knowing if I want to see the live draw right before 11, it's there and

not squeezed into another time slot 25 minutes later.

Yes, it's all about consistency and credibility.

Down with computerized draws and recorded drawings.

Thumbs Down

rdgrnr's avatarrdgrnr

PA would be the perfect state for players to voice their displeasure with computer games by boycotting all Day games period.

It would be interesting to know how the computer day games compare in sales to their evening real drawing counterparts right now.

dr65's avatardr65

Quote: Originally posted by rdgrnr on Jun 3, 2010

PA would be the perfect state for players to voice their displeasure with computer games by boycotting all Day games period.

It would be interesting to know how the computer day games compare in sales to their evening real drawing counterparts right now.

That is something I'd like to know also. The day game payouts are modest most times at best. Daytime Quinto is the real killer with the winner

count sometimes at 11 - I have already seen a winner count of 2! - TWO! No Nod

Raven62's avatarRaven62

No One Pays Attention to Lottery Players: Not even the Lottery: If they did you'd see Live Drawings instead of Recorded Drawings! Thumbs Down


A.  I don't know where I got this info but I thought Powerball drawings were live at 10:59 p.m. and MegaMillions drawings were live at 11:00 p.m.  True or false about MM?

B. FoxCT aired the first MM drawing for Connecticut live with little or no trouble.  The second one seemed to cause a disturbance on the news set because they didn't (or couldn't) run their news intro.

C. Connecticut Lottery will now tell at the conclusion of the 10:31 p.m. Cash 5 drawing that you can watch the MegaMillions drawings at 11:22 p.m. (during the Fox news), but will oftentimes skip that break and air the drawing at 11:26 or 11:27 p.m.

D. I often wonder why Monday Night Football needs to be LIVE to all timezones.  Why can't they start it at 8:00 p.m. ET and tape delay it to 8:00 p.m. in other timezones so everyone gets the same advantages or troubles with that timeslot? Why does it have to skew late for us in the east?

E. Why does MM have the next drawing's jackpot SET before this drawing has finished televising to us, while Powerball will readjust (higher, more often than not) their jackpot with each drawing's telecast?

Trabuco's avatarTrabuco

Its like everything else guys. I remember when cell phones were intended to be as good or better than house phones, cable tv service was backed up with batteries on every block to prevent service brownouts, electric substations were maintained regularly to prevent outages, etc. I also remember when the lottery started here in Florida, it was televised live and supervised by two lottery commisiones. Now all we get is a piece of tape whenever is convenient. We have done it to ourselves. We constantly keep loosing ground just because we don't have any time left to complain and claim our rights. They know it, so they will continuosly try to get away with it.

I give it a thumbs-up to the Pennsylvanians.Thumbs Up

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