Local News

Lottery Sales Fall Short, Officials Urge Customers to Buy Tickets

Posted December 26, 2007 9:39 p.m. EST
Updated December 27, 2007 5:47 a.m. EST

— The clock was ticking Wednesday night as lottery officials pushed hard for people to buy the remaining lottery raffle tickets.

Some convenience stores had lottery representatives on site urging customers to buy the $20 tickets. Since the raffle started in early November, people have not been buying the way lottery officials had hoped.

For some, $20 per ticket proved to be too expensive.

“If it was $10, it would be more convenient. Everybody wasn’t born with a silver spoon. You know what I mean?” said Dexter Banks.

More than a fifth of the tickets are not expected to be sold for this raffle. Lottery administrators said that's surprising, especially after they sweetened the pot following the first raffle this summer.

“We would have thought that the more prizes – based on the player feedback that we had and the shorter time frame – would have given us at least an equivalent to the last raffle of selling,” said Tom Shaheen, executive director of the North Carolina Education Lottery.

Customers had 11 fewer days to buy a ticket for the Merry Millionaire raffle. Lottery sales representatives said that has a lot to do with why so many tickets remained. Many customers had a different take.

“Twenty dollars is a lot to me right now, after Christmas,” said Carol Bailey.

Shaheen says the raffle is supposed to reach out to a different player.

“For those who say it’s too much, they shouldn’t be buying them. If they feel like it’s too much, then reality is what it is, they are too much,” he said.

While buyers and sellers might haggle over price, retailers said they'll just keep on pitching the sale.

“The good part about it is that it’s only in North Carolina, which means it gives everybody a great chance of winning,” said retailer Brian Hinton.

This go-round, those chances are going up. For every ticket that's not sold, the chances of winning increase. Lottery officials say in the next few weeks, they'll evaluate how this raffle went and decide then whether to hold a third one.