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Lottery ticket printer grants rare peek at operations

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For about 30 minutes this afternoon, Pollard Banknote took the unusual step of stopping its new, instant-lottery ticket press so it could show it off.

"We're halting production for a few minutes, not withstanding the fact we've got to get tickets out the door still to pay for this sucker," Doug Pollard, the company's co-CEO with his brother John, said as the din of the press in Ypsilanti was quieted. "But we'll fire it back up after."

A mostly family-owned company based in Winnipeg, Canada, Pollard is one of the three biggest instant lottery ticket companies in the world that prints instant lottery tickets. It celebrated the new press with speeches, visits from representatives from more than a half-dozen state lotteries — and a rare peek at its production facility.

The new, state-of-the-art press — which is about as long as a football field, and three stories high — allows the company to print tickets faster and more efficiently than the previous press. The speed helps the company stay competitive in the industry. The press runs nearly 24 hours a day, six —sometimes seven days a week and prints about 20 million scratch-off tickets a day.

"It's much more complex than people realize," Pollard said. "It's very specialized."

It's also highly focused on security.

Pollard said the new press puts up to 22 layers on each ticket, so the printing can't be seen through the ticket before it's scratched off. It also bar codes each ticket so it can be tracked from the printing plant to the store where it's sold and then when it's redeemed and ultimately destroyed.

The $200-million a year company started as a newspaper printer more than 100 years ago. It's now three-fourths family owned by the Pollard family, which is in it's fourth generation of ownership. It employs about 1,200 people worldwide, including about 150 in Ypsilanti.

In the 1970s, the company wanted out of newspaper printing business and began printing stocks, bonds and official documents that required a specialized process.

Later it aimed to print currency — thus the word 'banknote' in its name — for the Canadian government. But after Canada began minting a $1 coin, the demand for paper notes diminished, Pollard said. In the 1980s, the  company shifted to printing instant lottery tickets.

The company now contracts with state lottery commissions and other games worldwide.

Despite having never printed banknotes, the company kept its name.

Michigan U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, who was on hand for the event and gently ribbed Pollard for his Canadian pronunciation of the word process, touted the company as a benefit to the state. She said the company not only prints instant tickets for the state but also creates union jobs, she pointed out.

Pollard said he expects to continue to hire, adding another 50 jobs within the next couple of years.

In recent years, instant lottery tickets have increased in popularity, industry watchers said, because players do not need to pick numbers or fill out forms — and they don't have to wait for a drawing to find out whether they've won. In addition, some lottery players have what the industry calls jackpot fatigue — a lack of interest in playing for smaller pots.

In Michigan, more than one-third of the state's lottery $1 billion in revenues comes from scratch-off tickets, said Scott Bowen, Michigan's lottery commissioner.

"The jackpots get so high people only want to play for the big amounts," said Bill Hanson, the director of the lottery in Washington, who attended the ribbon-cutting, and to see where some of this state's scratch-off tickets are printed. "If we didn't have the instant games, we'd be history."

Representatives from other state lotteries, including Iowa, Missouri, Virginia, Vermont, Texas and Maryland were on hand.

"We're excited to see what this press can do, and how Pollard is going to step up its game," said Kate Airey, from the Maryland Lottery. "It's huge. It's automated. And the lower cost to print tickets will cut down the cost for everybody."

In addition to printing, Pollard said, the company also has a hand in designing the games — and picking colors and graphics.

"We wouldn't be making this investment if we didn't have the confidence in that category and our industry," he said. "We look forward to, on the strength of this press, continuing to help lotteries around the world keep generating revenue sales and continue to generating record amounts for good causes."

Pollard Banknote's new press

The Canadian-based, family owned company showcased its press — which it called one of the most advanced in the industry for printing instant tickets — in Ypailanti. 

  • Founded: 1907
  • Location: 775 James L Hart Parkway
  • Cost: $20 million
  • State lotteries: More than 20
  • Total lotteries worldwide: 50
  • Facility size: 90,000 square feet
  • Employees: 150 in Ypsilanti, expected to increase
  • Website: www.pollardbanknote.com

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12 comments. Last comment 1 year ago by geerod2001.
Page 1 of 1
gocart1's avatar - lighthouse
ONEONTA,NEW YORK
United States
Member #30516
January 17, 2006
419 Posts
Offline
Posted: September 22, 2015, 10:54 am - IP Logged

WHAT A COOL JOB TO HAVE. LOOKS LIKE A FUN PLACE TO WORK..PartyUS FlagParty

    haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
    Egg Harbor twp.south Jersey shore
    United States
    Member #112968
    June 29, 2011
    3855 Posts
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    Posted: September 22, 2015, 11:35 am - IP Logged

    Very interesting story, even though I almost never buy scratchers.

    Glad to hear of these union jobs.

     

    "ribbed Pollard for his Canadian pronunciation of the word process"

    I guess he has no problem pronouncing "Ypsilanti" or what the locals just call "Ypsi" LOL

    Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

      computerhead723's avatar - lightbulb
      Buffalo
      United States
      Member #54397
      August 17, 2007
      245 Posts
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      Posted: September 22, 2015, 1:16 pm - IP Logged

      do you  think  they  search  you  when  you  leave /No Pity!Roll Eyes


        United States
        Member #163335
        January 27, 2015
        10 Posts
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        Posted: September 22, 2015, 1:39 pm - IP Logged

        do you  think  they  search  you  when  you  leave /No Pity!Roll Eyes

        No need to. Lottery tickets are worthless until they get scanned into the system and activated by an authorized retailer.

          Avatar
          Simpsonville
          United States
          Member #163189
          January 22, 2015
          669 Posts
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          Posted: September 22, 2015, 4:29 pm - IP Logged

          Is there one of these scratcher ticket operations in Georgia?   I remember a local Louisville, KY doing a story on a plant like this one.  It is amazing how fast the operation is, sure would hate to clean up any jams.

            Avatar

            Canada
            Member #154380
            April 14, 2014
            57 Posts
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            Posted: September 22, 2015, 10:19 pm - IP Logged

            Is there one of these scratcher ticket operations in Georgia?   I remember a local Louisville, KY doing a story on a plant like this one.  It is amazing how fast the operation is, sure would hate to clean up any jams.

            Yes, Scientific Games has a printing plant just outside of Atlanta. I had a tour of their printing facility a couple of years ago. It was a very impressive and large printing plant. I believe, at the time, they were the largest printers of scratch tickets in the world.

              RedStang's avatar - tallman zps6gf4inoc.jpg
              NY
              United States
              Member #121961
              January 21, 2012
              3157 Posts
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              Posted: September 23, 2015, 1:14 am - IP Logged

              WHAT A COOL JOB TO HAVE. LOOKS LIKE A FUN PLACE TO WORK..PartyUS FlagParty

              I work for a similar printing company and it's not always fun. I've dealt with paper rolls like in the pic and they can break very easy. The viscosity the lady is checking could take 20 tries before getting it right and each layer has to weigh correctly. They probably have another 10-15 tests they have to do. Can't imagine what their mixing dept looks like.

                Tialuvslotto's avatar - Jailin
                Texas
                United States
                Member #150797
                December 31, 2013
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                Posted: September 23, 2015, 6:33 am - IP Logged

                "In recent years, instant lottery tickets have increased in popularity, industry watchers said, because players do not need to pick numbers or fill out forms — and they don't have to wait for a drawing to find out whether they've won."

                I'm certainly not typical -- as far as I'm concerned picking the numbers and filling out the forms is where the fun is!  Scratchers, Bah!  Just fill up your car with little pieces of scratched-off latex. No Nod

                "There is no such thing as luck; only adequate or inadequate preparation to cope with a statistical universe."

                ~Robert A. Heinlein

                  itpmguru's avatar - 42a4d4d8f2a4312fb8e253dd8f6ef251
                  No Man's Land
                  United States
                  Member #164139
                  February 19, 2015
                  5461 Posts
                  Online
                  Posted: September 23, 2015, 8:52 am - IP Logged

                  "In recent years, instant lottery tickets have increased in popularity, industry watchers said, because players do not need to pick numbers or fill out forms — and they don't have to wait for a drawing to find out whether they've won."

                  I'm certainly not typical -- as far as I'm concerned picking the numbers and filling out the forms is where the fun is!  Scratchers, Bah!  Just fill up your car with little pieces of scratched-off latex. No Nod

                  I Agree!

                  I won't get mad......I won't get even and NCEL will pay my bills :-)  - ITP
                  "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life." - Muhammad Ali
                                                       


                    savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
                    adelaide sa
                    Australia
                    Member #37136
                    April 11, 2006
                    3300 Posts
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                    Posted: September 23, 2015, 9:55 am - IP Logged

                    Sooooo...   reduced cost and savings huh? will that  pass on thru to the prize money? ok im dreaming. and i need a dollar to dream.

                    2014 = -1016; 2015= -1409; 2016 JAN = -106; FEB= -81; MAR= -131; APR= - 87: MAY= -91; JUN= -39; JUL=-134; AUG= -124; SEP = -123; OCT= -84  NOV=- 73 TOT= -3498

                    keno historic = -2291 ; 2015= -603; 2016= JAN=-32, FEB= +12 , MAR= -86, APR = -77. MAY= -48, JUN= -29, JUL=-71; AUG = -52; SEPT= -43; OCT = +56 NOV = -33 TOT= -3297

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                      Simpsonville
                      United States
                      Member #163189
                      January 22, 2015
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                      Posted: September 23, 2015, 11:47 am - IP Logged

                      Thank you to our Canadian LP friend!

                        geerod2001's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                        canton,georgia
                        United States
                        Member #67345
                        November 23, 2008
                        28 Posts
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                        Posted: September 28, 2015, 10:21 pm - IP Logged

                        Yes there is.

                        Is called Scientific Games,Inc and is located in Alpharetta,Ga.

                        It is the largest lottery ticket printing operation in the world.

                        I worked on the various presses there for seven years.