The operators of the first lottery in the city's history unveiled samples of the lottery ticket yesterday at a press conference bubbling with jingles, bumper stickers, T-shirts and all the enthusiasm a promoter can muster.
The lottery will formally begin next Wednesday, with tickets available at $1 each at a projected 800 locations. Until that time, lottery representatives will be in the media and on street corners telling people how to participate.
Lottery participants will receive a ticket about the size of a booklet of postage stamps with six red and black squares. Scratching the squares with a coin will reveal six printed dollar amounts, in denominations of $2, $5, $10, $100, $1,000 and $10,000. Any three identical amounts on the same ticket will pay that sum, promoters explained yesterday.
One in every nine tickets is guaranteed to pay at least the minimum $2 prize, they said.
Those who win the three lower amounts will be paid on the spot, and those with higher amounts are to receive checks at the lottery claims center at 1420 New York Ave. NW, the promoters said.
In addition to the instant winnings, the estimated 1,680 winners of $100 or more become eligible for the grand prize drawing to be held at the close of the game. That drawing will produce one person who will win $1 million (paid at $50,000 a year for 20 years), plus one $25,000 prize, one $10,000 prize and seven $1,000 awards, promoters said.
Douglass Gordon, executive director of the city's lottery board, said yesterday that he expects all 10 million of the tickets for the first game to be sold within eight weeks. This game will be completed before another begins.
Of the money collected, he said, at least $3 million will go to the city treasury, $4,650,000 will be paid out in prizes, and the rest will cover various operating costs.
The lottery board has contracted with Games Production to hold at least three more instant lottery games within the next year.
Rules require that lottery players be at least 18 years old. Tickets will be sold at commercial establishments, including gas stations, liquor stores, dry cleaners and convenience stores.
Half the 10 million tickets for the game already have been delivered from the printer in Georgia to a Northeast warehouse, Gordon said. The remainder of the tickets are due to arrive late next week, and all are to be delivered to vendors by armored cars.
The game is being promoted and operated by Games Production, a joint venture between a local minority firm, Games Production Inc., which will operate the game, and the Atlanta-based manufacturer of the tickets, Scientific Games Inc.
At the press conference yesterday, Robert S. Bain, Games Production Inc. vice president, launched a $400,000 advertising campaign by playing previews of television and radio commercials that will begin today, and handing out red "Easy to Play, Easy to Win" T-shirts, and bumper stickers, with the slogan "Scratch My Ticket, Not My Bumper." One of the radio ads included the ditty, "Scratch the Itch to Get Rich."
Lottery board member Jerry Cooper also was enthusiastic: "I already have three children, and this is sort of like waiting for the birth of a fourth."