State lottery hopes to bring in more sales

December 3, 2008 7:39:11 PM PST
The tough economy is taking a bite of state lottery sales and that means California schools will lose an additional $100 million. Now the lottery is hoping to turn things around.

In this recession, you'd think more Californians would be inclined to give up a buck for the chance to win back much more.

"I just recently started because of the economy. I figure, something good has got to happen eventually. I deserve it," said Susan Freese, a lottery player.

Instead, Californians are hanging on to their money. Lottery sales statewide are down 10 percent from July to October, falling below a billion tickets, compared to the same period last year. Though administrators attribute the drop to the sagging economy, they believe more jackpots would attract more players.

"Prize flexibility will enable us to give out more prizes, dedicate more of our lottery dollar to prizes," said Al Lundeen, a California State Lottery spokesman.

More prizes would definitely lure Monica Spencer back to playing more consistently.

"Every two weeks when I get paid, SuperLotto, scratchers, I'll buy the whole row. Give me the whole row. But not anymore," said Spencer, a former lottery player.
"Why?" asked ABC7's Nannette Miranda.
"I'm not winning nothing," said Spencer.

Still, allowing the Lottery to pay out more prizes would need the approval of the Legislature. The unfortunate loser of lower lottery sales is education. Schools will see $100 million less this year, since 34 cents of every lottery ticket goes to classrooms.

"What that does to us is it puts us in a position of having one more way taken away from us to pay our bills," said Teri Burns, a public schools lobbyist.

Whatever the reason for low sales, California's Lottery consistently under-performs when compared to other states.


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