Local News

Lottery Names Raffle Winners After Sluggish Sales

Posted December 27, 2007 6:03 p.m. EST
Updated December 28, 2007 10:32 a.m. EST

— North Carolina lottery officials pulled four $1 million tickets Thursday in the lottery's second raffle game this year.

The winning "Merry Millionaire Raffle" numbers are as follows

  • 214953
  • 138405
  • 276495
  • 206355

The five $100,000 winning numbers are as follows:

  • 223999
  • 015119
  • 178297
  • 026748
  • 021665

Eight prizes of $5,000 each, 500 prizes of $1,000 each and 2,000 prizes of $100 each also were awarded in the raffle. Those winning numbers were expected to be posted on the lottery Web site by 9 p.m. Thursday.

Unlike the lottery's first raffle in July, which sold out, about a quarter of the 500,000 Merry Millionaire tickets went unsold. Although that increased the chances of winning for players, it meant about $2.5 million less revenue for the lottery – and state schools – and prompted criticism from lottery opponents.

The raffle promised more winners than the "Sizzlin' Millionaire" game last summer. But some people blamed the $20 price of the raffle tickets for the lack of sales, while others noted the raffle had 11 fewer sales days than the game last summer.

"The real lessons will be learned through trial and error," lottery director Tom Shaheen said.

Shaheen said promoting the lottery with no more than 1 percent of sales is difficult.

"We're able to get some advertising with restrictions, and we work within these guidelines," he said.

JoAnn Dryman, an assistant manager at a Raleigh convenience store that sells lottery tickets, said more frequent payouts, which the lottery now promises, will provide the needed promotion to build sales.

"It's still better across the state line," Dryman said. "It could be better (in North Carolina), but I think he has made a step toward the right direction."

Shaheen said the raffle would still generate more than $1 million for education, and despite the lottery's continuing struggles to meet expectations, he chooses to answer his critics with the lottery's successes.

"They've got a number out there and that's all they're focused on, and if you don't hit that number, you're a failure," he said. "Go tell those 32,000 kids that are on those scholarships that this lottery's a failure, and I will bet you the 32,000 will say it isn't."