Ticket sales in the District of Columbia's first lottery will end Oct. 20, and winners of 20 major prizes, including two winners of a million dollars each, will be chosen in a drawing Nov. 23, gaming board officials announced yesterday.
Meanwhile, tickets for a second lottery game are expected to go on sale within a week after the current game ends.
About 16 million tickets have been sold since the game's inception Aug. 25. Officials originally had expected to sell 10 million tickets in an eight-week period, but have made an additional 10 million available -- and doubled the number of prizes -- because of the popular response to the game.
So far, the game has generated $3 million in city revenues, according to Douglass W. Gordon, executive director of the D.C. Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board. Another $1.5 million from ticket sales is expected to go into the city's general fund this week, and perhaps $1.5 more when ticket sales end, Gordon said yesterday.
"We're absolutely delighted," said Bill Cook, associate director of the D.C. Department of Finance and Revenue. "That's $4.5 million more than we expected to have this year."
Gordon said lottery officials were "extremely pleased" with sales figures, which he said have "far exceded any anticipation."
Speaking at a press conference, Gordon outlined details for selecting the 20 lottery winners of major prizes. In addition to the two winners of a million dollars, there will be two $25,000, two $10,000 and 14 $1,000 winners.
The 20 finalists are to be chosen at random Nov. 17 from a pool of all persons who have redeemed winning $100 tickets. As of Monday, Gordon said, there have been 2,384 such winners, with another 984 $100 tickets still in circulation.
Persons holding $100 tickets must turn them in by 5 p.m. Nov. 16 to participate in the drawing, although the tickets are redeemable for a year.
In addition, Gordon said, more than 30 $10,000 tickets and 100 $1,000 tickets have yet to be claimed. As of Monday, there were 232 $1,000 winners and 132 $10,000 winners. These, however, are not eligible for the grand prize drawing.
The board has not chosen a location for either the Nov. 17 drawing of the 20 finalists or the Nov. 23 drawing to designate amounts for each major winner. Gordon said the selection of million-dollar winners likely will be televised.
Each million-dollar winner will receive a $50,000 check, and $50,000 annually for the next 19 years.
Contrary to initial concerns that the lottery would drain funds from the city's poor, Gordon said that "preliminary data" from sales in the first game "suggests that neither the very poor or the very rich are our primary buyers.
"It is really the middle-income people who are supporting the game."
Gordon said the second lottery game will be similar to the first. He declined to elaborate.