- Associated Press - Friday, June 6, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - State lottery officials are blaming a big drop in ticket sales for a decision to slash the rate at which Hoosier Lotto jackpots grow.

The Hoosier Lotto prizes start at $1 million for the first two drawings after someone wins and have previously gone up by $500,000 for each subsequent drawing. Under the change made last month, the jackpot increases by $200,000 for Wednesday drawings and $300,000 for Saturday drawings.

Hoosier Lottery officials decided to make the change after reviewing the game’s financial performance in recent years, agency spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland told The Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/1p2ifDf ).

“We know Hoosiers expect the lottery to operate in a fiscally responsible manner, and our core mission is to maximize revenue for the state of Indiana,” she said.

Ticket sales for the game, which require a player to match a six-digit number to win the jackpot, have gone down nearly 25 percent since the state’s 2012 fiscal year.

Revenue reached $61.2 million that year, then fell to $46.5 million in 2013. Revenues haven’t rebounded much this year, standing at $46.3 million for the 2014 fiscal year that ends June 30.

The jackpot change took effect May 11. The Hoosier Lottery announced the change in a news release, but didn’t mention a reduction in the jackpot, instead characterizing it as a “makeover” that adjusted “the mechanism by which jackpots grow.”

Ed Feigenbaum, publisher of the Indiana Gaming Insight newsletter, said it’s difficult to say what’s reducing Hoosier Lotto ticket revenue. Sales of jackpot games can be affected by promotions, the startup of competitive games, large jackpots in multi-state games, or even the weather, he said.

The state last year hired Rhode Island-based GTECH Corp. as the new operator for the Hoosier Lottery. The company has committed to increasing lottery revenues by $500 million over the next five years.

McCordsville resident Jim Hughes said he’s played the Hoosier Lotto since its start and is disappointed with the smaller jackpot additions after the first week.

Hughes said he’s never won more than $100 playing Hoosier Lotto, but he likes it more than the larger multi-state games such as Powerball because the odds of winning are more favorable.

“It’s unfortunate for the consumer they lowered the jackpot,” he said. “I think it will hurt their sales. It’s going to make me play less often.”


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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