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Ohio Lottery's new game three months without jackpot winner

Jan 9, 2006, 7:01 am

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Ohio Lottery

The Ohio Lottery's newest game, which replaced Super Lotto Plus in October, has gone three months without a jackpot winner and some players and sellers think the 100-number, bingo-style Lot 'O Play game is too complicated.

"The game is mind-boggling," Alonzo Adams, 52, of Cleveland, said Friday outside a busy lottery outlet.
That's the reaction Elizabeth Bost gets from lottery players from her vantage point at a gift shop in New Paris northwest of Dayton. "There's too many numbers," she said.

The Lot 'O Play jackpot began at $1 million when the $2 game originated in October and grew each Wednesday and Saturday without a winner. The jackpot for Saturday night's drawing was $8.7 million.

The game, similar to a bingo card, has 25 numbers from 00 to 99. To win the jackpot, a player must have all five selected numbers in a line horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Four numbers in a line wins $1,000, three wins $10 and two wins $2.

The player selects the five numbers across the top row and the lottery computer selects the rest. The player also can let the computer pick all 25 numbers.

Marie Kilbane, a lottery spokeswoman, said the lottery had no forecast when it developed the game of how often a jackpot winner might emerge. "We're definitely looking forward to that first winner," she said Friday.

She said three months might be too soon to judge a game's acceptance but said the lottery was considering a promotional program in the spring to boost it.

With 25 numbers and a matrix that might be unfamiliar to people who don't play bingo, "We're certainly testing new ground in this game," she said.

The lottery sales force has worked with agents and players to explain the game and make sure informational brochures are available at sales outlets, Kilbane said.

Lot 'O Play generated more profits in its initial October-December period compared with Super Lotto profits for October-December 2004, and would have earned more even if there had been a jackpot winner, Kilbane said.

While sales dipped from $27.7 million in Super Lotto wagers in October-December 2004 to the $20.5 million in Lot 'O Play sales for October-December 2005, profits increased from $7.9 million to $14.4 million. Even if there had been a jackpot winner, the lottery still would have earned $9.2 million, up 16 percent.

The lottery may need time to let the game get established, if the experience of lottery seller Krissi Swiger in Salem south of Youngstown is any indication.

"The customer base just does not seem really happy with it," she said Friday from Kendrick's Corner Carryout. "It's a $2 play and nobody's won it yet. That's a big drawback."

In Cleveland, Byron Arnold, 37, has stuck with the game even though he hasn't gotten past the $2 payoff for two numbers - a flat return on his $2 investment.

"It's so-so," he said. "I really can't say I hate it. I mean, I like the game. I at least win my money back six out of seven times," he said.

Arnold thinks the game may be too hard to play but believes the growing jackpot will resolve any questions. "When somebody wins it, it will be a big payday for somebody," he said.

Kilbane said a popular feature of the Lot 'O Play game is a $10 instant payout for every 100th ticket sold statewide.

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