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In Pennsyvania, lottery tickets a big seller

Mar 15, 2004, 7:11 am

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Pennsylvania Lottery

York County sold $52.3M tickets last year

With more than $1.1 million in sales, the Manchester Shell in Manchester Township near York sold more lottery tickets than any other outlet in York County last year.

With nearly $750,000 in sales, Lynn's Shur Fine at 5660 York Road in New Oxford, sold more than any other retailer in Adams County.

In all, York County's 230 lottery outlets sold a total of $52.3 million in tickets in 2003, according to data provided by the state lottery.

Adams County's 51 lottery retailers sold a total of $9.2 million in tickets.

At New Oxford Shur Fine, manager Deb Redding couldn't explain their success, especially considering a Brewskees beer distributor also sells lottery tickets next door.

"I just think the regular customers come in and get their lottery tickets with their groceries," Redding said.

But Manchester Shell manager Brandy Egbert revealed their secrets.

Besides having many lottery fans nearby --­ many of whom are senior citizens ­-- store management makes an effort to attract lottery players, Egbert said.

They post big winners on the store's front door. They make sure employees are well-trained on the machines. And they made room for 32 instant ticket games.

"If you give good service and you explain the lottery to them, you're three-quarters ahead of the game," Egbert said.

While lottery proceeds fund seniors programs such as the PACE prescription drug plan, there is also money to be made for the retailers.

They make 5 percent commission on all sales, which in York County totaled $2.7 million last year. Adams County commissions totaled $490,590.

New Oxford Shur Fine earned $39,151 in commissions, while Manchester Shell brought in $57,698.

Rutter's Farm Stores, which sold a combined total of $11.97 million at 46 stores in York and Adams, earned nearly $600,000 in commissions from all its stores.

Turkey Hill, which sold a total of $8.46 million at 21 stores in York and Adams, made nearly $425,000 in commissions.

Rutter's vice president of marketing Jeff Leedy said the commissions are "not a big number when you look at all the other products we offer."

Even so, Rutters wants to sell lottery tickets because many customers come to convenience stores expecting to get them, he said.

"If you didn't have it, you might not be as competitive," Leedy said.

Rutters sold the biggest winner in the area last year --­ a Powerball jackpot won by York's Lisa Ensor on New Year's Eve. She won a one-time cash payment of $60.1 million, the second largest cash prize in state lottery history.

Ensor bought the winning ticket at the Rutter's at 725 Arsenal Road, which ranked in the middle of the county-wide pack with $358,790 worth of ticket sales last year.

Powerball is one reason lottery sales are on the rise across the state.

In the year after Pennsylvania joined the multi-state lotto game in June 2002, total lottery sales jumped from $1.93 billion to $2.13 billion. Powerball, popular because of its whopping jackpots, brought in $241 million in its first year in Pennsylvania.

The former Super 6 Lotto game suffered as players turned to Powerball. So lottery officials scrapped it earlier this year and replaced it with Match 6, which offers lower jackpots but more ways to win.

Sales of Match 6, which began last month, have doubled Super 6 sales so far. Match 6 has brought in about $3.4 million per week, compared to $1.6 million for Super 6.

Besides Powerball, instant tickets are another reason lottery sales are up. They brought in nearly $800 million in the fiscal year ending in June 2003, compared to $720 million the previous year.

Lottery spokesman Steve Kniley said lottery officials regularly conduct market research to learn what kind of instant games players want, and they have found players generally want games with more small prizes such as $5 and $10. They have also aggressively marketed holiday tickets as gifts.

"We've had some record-setting weeks over the holidays," Kniley said.

Later this spring, the lottery will roll out ATM-style terminals at which players can buy their own tickets for games such as Powerball and the Daily Number. Five hundred will be in place across the state this spring, and another 500 will be added later.

Pennsylvania will be the first lottery in the country to have the machines, at which players can also buy instant tickets, Kniley said. He was unable to say last week how many will be in each county.

They will be targeted to stores that previously didn't want to sell lottery tickets because of staffing concerns, Kniley said.

Rutter's is expecting to have two of the stand-alone terminals, though they haven't determined yet which store will get them. Leedy believes they will help alleviate counter crunches when big jackpots attract a lot of players.

Rutter's is also expecting to offer lotto games at more stores soon, Leedy said. While all Rutter's stores sell instant tickets, only 29 currently sell tickets for games such as Powerball and the Daily Number.

TOP SELLERS

* Among Hanover area merchants

1. Knobloch's Deli Lottery, 1155 Carlisle St., Hanover, $729,492.50

2. Newcomer's, 1055 Baltimore St., Hanover, $707,987

3. Rutter's Store 50, 420 N. Main St., Spring Grove, $606,647.50

4. Newcomb's Market, 387 High St., Hanover, $511,317.50

5. Turkey Hill, 5 Fuhrman Mill Road, Hanover, $481,593.50

6. Rutter's Store 33, 661 Broadway, Hanover, $448,049.50

7. Hanover News Agency, 150 Baltimore St., Hanover, $433,937

8. Turkey Hill, 300 Frederick St., Hanover, $385,860

9. Smokers Express, 398 York St., Hanover, $375,370.50

10. Turkey Hill, 703 Carlisle St., Hanover, $346,370

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