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N.C. Lottery to introduce $10 scratch game

Jul 10, 2006, 8:39 am

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North Carolina Lottery

Officials hope bigger prize will rub off on more people

North Carolina will soon join the majority of state lotteries with the kind of pricey scratch-off game that has helped boost game revenue nationwide.

The $10 game will begin in November, N.C. Lottery Executive Director Tom Shaheen said. North Carolina is surrounded by states selling $10 tickets.

In South Carolina, $10 games have been the state's top sellers since debuting in 2004. Top prizes reach $1 million — a more lucrative purse than the usual sub-$5,000 prize on a $1 scratch-off.

S.C. lottery revenues rose 20 percent this year, in part, because of the new scratch-off games.

Nationally, once-lagging scratch-off ticket sales have begun outpacing games based on drawings, such as Powerball and Pick 3, according to published reports.

Twenty of the 42 states with scratch-off games currently offer $10 tickets, while 15 sell $20 tickets. Texas and Connecticut pitch $30 tickets.

In North Carolina, the most expensive lottery ticket — $5 — has accounted for a third of sales, second most of all the games, since the games debuted March 30. The $1, $2 and $5 games will remain.

North Carolina has no definitive plans for its $10 game, though Shaheen said the top prize will exceed the $100,000 offered on a $5 ticket.

"Many people see it as an investment," said Philip Cook, a lottery expert and public policy professor at Duke University. "They believe you have to spend money to make money. But to get people to spend that much, the prize needs to be something more life changing — especially to get more affluent players."

South Carolina considered a $20 game last year to follow a growing national trend, but the state lottery commission took a pass because scratch-off players tend to have the lowest income.

"It was too much," commission Chairman Tim Madden said. "There are a lot of things we can do to sell tickets and keep revenues high, but we try to be sensitive to everyone who might play."

South Carolina didn't get a $10 scratch-off game until nearly three years after the lottery started there. North Carolina will have one just seven months after the lottery's debut.

"We have an unusual situation where we have a lottery on every border," Shaheen said. "People are very familiar with lotteries and we have people asking every day, 'When are you going to have this type of stuff?' "

Top Scratches

Priciest current scratch-off lottery ticket and its top prize from the Southeast:

StateHighest PriceTop Prize
North Carolina$5$100,000
South Carolina$10$1 million
Virginia$10$1 million
Georgia$10$2.5 million
West Virginia$20$200,000
Maryland$20$1 million
Florida$20$100,000 a year for life
Texas$30$3 million

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