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D.C. Lottery hopes fast play pays big

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Photo - The D.C. Lottery is expanding its repertoire of fast-play games. (Examiner file photo)
The D.C. Lottery is expanding its repertoire of fast-play games. (Examiner file photo)
Local,DC,Alan Blinder

The D.C. Lottery wants to add another fast-play game to its repertoire as it seeks to capitalize on a gaming trend that netted taxpayers big bucks last year.

In a regulatory filing, lottery officials said they plan to roll out a game called D.C. Jackpot later this summer. Players will win by matching symbols drawn in a single electronic "spin" by a computer that happens at the time the ticket is purchased. The potential share of a jackpot grows based on the purchased ticket's price.

"Fast play is similar to a scratch-off except you don't have to scratch," said Buddy Roogow, executive director of the D.C. Lottery. "It's another way, we think, that we can reach a younger demographic."

Lottery experts say fast-play games are soaring in popularity. Since D.C. introduced its first three fast-play opportunities in April 2011, it has more than tripled its offerings.

In their first six months, the games pulled in more than $2 million, ultimately netting the District's general fund $381,000.

Roogow said fast-play games now generally record $100,000 a week in sales, but they lag behind more established instant scratch tickets, which generate sales of more than $1 million weekly.

The lottery is seeking to expand its portfolio, Roogow said, because flagship games that offer big jackpots aren't as popular when huge sums aren't at stake.

"It's very important that we introduce new games like this because the traditional games that the D.C. Lottery focused on for years are all games that have gone into some decline," Roogow said.

The Virginia Lottery helped pioneer the fast-play concept when it introduced its games in 2007, and it recorded some $12 million in such sales last year.

"We know that our loyal players are always interested in something new," said Executive Director Paula Otto. "This is just another platform."

Though fast play accounts for less than 1 percent of Virginia sales, Otto described the games as "a steady performer."

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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