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D.C. Lottery gets revenue boost from quick-play games

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Local,DC,Eric P. Newcomer

Waiting to watch the evening's numbered pingpong ball selection is too old-school for many of the D.C. Lottery's newest customers, who have grown accustomed to cellphone games and Wi-Fi pretty much anywhere.

But, by offering more visually compelling lotto games with immediate results, the D.C. Lottery has been able to climb out of a sales slump.

In fiscal 2012, D.C. Lottery made $66.4 million for the city's coffers, up $4.1 million from the year before, according to lottery Executive Director Buddy Roogow.

Lucky numbers?
Value of ticket sales (in millions)
2006 -- $266.2
2007 -- 255.9
2008 -- 252.3
2009 -- 245.0
2010 -- 229.7
2011 -- 231.5
2012 -- 249.7
Revenue for D.C. (in millions)
2006 -- $73.8
2007 -- 65.4
2008 -- 70.3
2009 -- 68.8
2010 -- 66.8
2011 -- 62.3
2012 -- 66.4

Ticket sales were even higher. The city sold nearly $250 million worth of lottery tickets, up $18 million from fiscal 2011.

"The D.C. Lottery has to work harder because of the competitive environment around us to continue to grow our sales," Roogow said. "We have to be the most innovative lottery in the region, and that's what we're trying to do."

New, young lotto customers do not play old-style games like Mega Millions and Powerball as much as their parents and grandparents do. The thinking goes that the younger players don't have the patience to wait for an evening newscast to see if they've won.

"Our basic numbers games are in decline," Roogow told the D.C. Council during an oversight hearing Thursday. "They aren't as attractive as they used to be."

Yet the District's Fast Play line of games on video terminals saw sales explode by 175 percent, from $2 million in 2011 to $5.7 million last year.

Also, scratch-off ticket games, including Cadillac Riches, Washington Capitals and Monopoly, performed well in the past year. Scratch-off tickets represented $59.9 million in sales in fiscal 2012, $3.7 million more than the previous year.

Besides creating visually stimulating games with immediate outcomes, Roogow said, upping prize totals helped to attract more customers. The D.C. Lottery handed out $137 million in prizes in 2012, 9.1 percent more than the year before.

enewcomer@washingtonexaminer.com

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