The D.C. lottery's new daily numbers game has opened more than 30 additional locations where bets can be placed--including, for the first time, sites in downtown and other Northwest areas--in the two weeks since telephone company employes returned to work after a nationwide strike.
Telephone lines are a vital link in the computer-based daily numbers game system and are used to connect computer terminals, installed in each betting location, with a central computer. The computer terminals produce the numbers-game tickets.
Delays caused by the phone strike forced lottery officials to launch the daily numbers game Aug. 22 with only 54 out of 300 computer terminals in operation and nearly all the betting locations concentrated in Anacostia and Northeast.
Chester C. Carter, the lottery board's executive director, said yesterday that terminals have been installed at a quicker pace since the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. resumed normal operations, and that the board still hopes its mid-October deadline can be met for having the first 300 locations with working terminals.
Carter said that the telephone company determines the order in which terminals are installed based on technical requirements.
Brant Coopersmith, lottery board chairman, said that he is confident the daily numbers game will generate the $1 million in additional revenue the board promised the city by Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year.
The first three weeks of the game have already generated $525,000 in revenue for the city out of about $1.4 million wagered, according to lottery officials.
To play the numbers game, a bettor goes to an authorized agent with an operational computer terminal, and selects three numbers. Each evening, Monday through Saturday, there is a televised drawing of numbers to determine the daily winner.
Carter said that the board is also preparing to award new contracts to continue the operation of its instant lottery game. The instant lottery game, which began a year ago, is one in which players scratch the surfaces of $1 tickets to determine instantly if they are winners or losers.
During the first year of the instant lottery game, the lottery board hired a private company to run it. The company selected by the board, a joint venture composed of Games Production Inc. (GPI) and Scientific Games Inc., received a one-year contract to provide tickets and advertise the game, in addition to overseeing its day-to-day operations.
The District is the only jurisdiction of the 18 that operate lotteries in this country to hire a private company to run an instant game--a choice the board defended as necessary so that it could begin its game as soon as possible last year.
Carter said that the board has hired Arthur Andersen & Co. to study the feasibility of the board taking over management of the instant game, and a final report is expected soon.
Regardless of the outcome of that study, Carter said that the board still must hire outside firms to provide instant game tickets and to do the advertising.
Carter said that the board expects to award the new ticket contract next week.
Three companies are seeking the ticket contract: Glendinning Companies Inc. of Westport, Conn., and Scientific Games of Atlanta, both national lottery ticket companies, and Capital Gaming Inc., a new D.C.-based firm. Capital Gaming's officers include Gloria Decker, the general manager of GPI, William N. (Billy) Suter III, GPI's chief executive officer, and Joanne Fort, GPI's lawyer.
Decker said yesterday that Capital Gaming is completely separate from GPI. She said that GPI plans to seek the new management contract if the board decides to contract out for that service.
Decker said that Capital Gaming has hired Webcraft Inc., a New Jersey-based national lottery company, as its ticket supplier.