Bailey, who is partnered with Greek gaming giant Intralot, figured large in the political controversy over the lottery contract. But after early hiccups during its 2010 rollout, he said, the system is thriving.
In the past two years, the lottery has added 50 sales locations, with some retailers attracted to smaller and sleeker terminals. Many locations now offer self-service terminals and automated instant-ticket vending machines.
From DC09’s offices a block from Nationals Park, Bailey and his team target sales and promotion efforts to particular areas of the city and even times of day. The traditional numbers games do best east of the Anacostia River, for instance, while national jackpot tickets sell best downtown during lunchtime.
After accounting for players’ prizes, sales agents’ commissions, contractors’ fees and other overhead, only a fraction of lottery sales are transferred into city coffers. Last year’s 8 percent increase in sales translated into only a 6.7 percent rise in government revenue — from $62.3 million to $66.4 million. That’s significantly down from 2006, when the lottery put $73.8 million in city coffers, thanks to record Powerball sales.
Roogow said higher prize payouts and licensing fees for the new branded scratch-off games have driven costs up. “You do have to pay a little bit more,” he said, but “it allows you to reach out to that new player.”
At Union Station, the Soul Train tickets attracted new and old players alike — including some who considered themselves numbers players, not scratch-off aficionados. Ruthie Capies, a 53-year-old Northeast resident, plays Pick 3 and Pick 4 games weekly. “That’s my personal preference,” she said.
But she gave the Soul Train scratcher a shot. She broke even on her first ticket and used the proceeds to buy a second. That one was not a winner.