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Archive for Friday, July 8, 2005

Lottery’s eScratch game not popular with players

Despite heavy promotions, customers find game confusing and too time consuming

July 8, 2005

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— Despite a redesign and humorous new commercials, the Kansas eScratch lottery game is still underwhelming players.

Since May, when the game was relaunched and promoted heavily, sales have been 89 percent higher than last year. But the games have still generated only $260,000 in the last month and a half, a mere drop compared to the $224 million the lottery took in last year and well below original sales goals of $20,000 a day.

With eScratch, billed the "first-of-its-kind interactive Internet lottery game," players buy a ticket from a retailer and then go to a Web site where they can play video games to see if they've won any money. The game has no bearing on how much the person wins, Kansas Lottery spokeswoman Sally Lunsford said, but is purely for entertainment.

In fact, players don't have to go online and can ask the retailer where they buy the ticket to scan it to see if they won.

That fact is lost on many players who think you have to have a computer to play, retailer Chris Patel told The Hutchinson News.

"(Customers) asked about it and, at first, I tried to push it a lot, but nobody has time for it," said Patel, owners of the Zip Trip gas station in Hutchinson. "Who wants to go home and sit in front of a computer?"

State officials have promoted the redesigned game heavily on radio and television in commercials, including one in which a group of Japanese businessmen marvel at Kansas' ingenuity.

The biggest change has been the cost, as officials raised the minimum cost to 50 cents, eliminating 10-cent games that had infuriated retailers having to pay out prizes of less than a dollar.

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