- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 26, 2006

If you don’t “Strike It Rich” in the D.C. Lottery, you might get gas — $100 worth, to be exact.

Beginning Aug. 1, gamblers who don’t win on the $5 instant scratch ticket games will get the chance to win $100 worth of gasoline in a new — and limited — lottery game.

“It’s probably the hottest thing you can give anybody these days, with the price of gasoline what it is,” said Bob Hainey, a spokesman for the D.C. Lottery. “It is a valuable reward. … With gasoline hovering above $3 a gallon and threatening to jump to $4 a gallon, gasoline is more than a commodity. It’s a luxury item prize.”

From Aug. 1 through Sept. 8, players can enter the contest by submitting non-winning tickets for any of the D.C. Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board’s instant scratch ticket games, including Crown Jewels, Magic Wheel, Easy Wild 8’s and Strike It Rich.

Lottery officials said each eligible entry must contain the player’s name, address, daytime and evening telephone numbers and signature handwritten legibly.

Officials will hold two drawings, one on Aug. 22 and the other Sept. 12. Officials will pull 60 cards at each drawing. At the end, 120 persons will receive an Ecount Fuel Card for $100 each.

The cards are valid at any station that accepts Visa credit cards.

Yesterday, the average price of regular gasoline in the District was $3.22, said John B. Townsend II, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. The price is likely to go up.

Nationally, the average price of regular gasoline was $3, according to the Energy Information Administration.

“It’s uppermost in the minds these days,” Mr. Townsend said. “There may be people who would never buy a lottery ticket. That’s not a bad deal for five bucks. It’s a sure hit with gas prices what they are today.”

Most regular lottery players said they looked forward to the new prize.

“It’s not like I’m guaranteed $100 worth of gasoline, but I may play,” said Susan Mason of Northeast, who was buying a lottery ticket for a drawing tonight.

Mrs. Mason said she doesn’t usually buy the instant scratch tickets, but she began looking them over at Sammy’s Liquor at Bladensburg Road and South Dakota Avenue in Northeast.

Jim Walker, 37, of Capitol Hill, who was buying a lottery ticket at Union Station, said he would not buy an instant scratch ticket.

Why?

“I and my friends don’t have cars and don’t drive,” Mr. Walker said. “Parking is too expensive. Or there is no parking available. We depend on Metro.”

There are 460 lottery stations in the District. Mr. Hainey said many players can walk, not drive, to the nearest station to get a scratch game ticket.

The Virginia Lottery began a similar game earlier this month and so far there has been one winner, said Rachel Wine, a communications staffer. Winners get free gasoline for a year, but not to exceed $3,000 worth.

However, any retailer in Virginia cannot hold such a promotion under a law on the books since at least 1950.

In Maryland, gasoline stations have been barred since 1968 from using games of chance, such as scratch-and-win tickets, that reward winners with free gas or other products.

The District does not have a law that prohibits gasoline stations from using games of chance to give away free gas, said Bennett Rushkoff, consumer chief in the D.C. Office of the Attorney General.

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