Nov. 4, 2005The introduction of a new online lottery game in the Virgin Islands could spell an increase in revenue for the government, according to representatives from Caribbean Lottery Services.
At a Lottery Commission meeting held Friday at the Finance Department, Caribbean Lottery Services, (CLS) proposed the less popular Hot 5 game currently played in the territory be substituted with another called Lucky 6. The substitution is necessary, representatives said, because Hot 5 is failing in the market, drawing in only about $13,520 for the V.I. government in average yearly earnings.
In comparison, Lucky 6 has the potential of bringing in up to $121,680 yearly for the government. According to Brendan Burns, Regional Sales and Marketing Manager for CLS, this projection is just a "conservative estimate," which he anticipates could increase with the popularity of the game in the territory. Burns added Lucky 6s revenue stream would compliment the money brought in from Powerball, which is presently the most attractive online game in the V.I. market.
Ten percent of revenue brought in from CLS online games goes toward the V.I. government. Of that amount, 25 percent is automatically placed into the Education Initiative Fund, to be used at the discretion of the education commissioner pending approval from the Senate.
Another 20 percent is automatically placed into the Pharmaceutical Fund, to be used at the discretion of the health commissioner, which is also a decision the Senate will make. Whatever amount is left over goes to the General Fund to be appropriated by the Legislature.
Lucky 6 works like this: Players pick up to six different numbers from 1 to 30 and aim to match them with the seven numbers that are drawn by the lotterys official drawing machine.
Players have a choice of playing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or all 6 numbers. The amount they can win depends on how many numbers they play and how many of those match the ones drawn.
Players will select their numbers and wager options by marking the Lucky 6 play slips available for free from any authorized lottery dealer that contain information on how to play and how to win on the reverse side.
The price of a minimum wager in the territory is $1. All prizes are fixed amounts per dollar wagered, which means winnings are not shared between various players. The maximum prize per dollar for a single wager is $25,000.
However, players can wager more than $1 per set of numbers played thereby increasing the amount they can win. For example, a $2 single wager could win up to $50,000. The maximum amount payable is $250,000 for a $10 wager.
Numbers are drawn twice a day, which give players a higher chance of winning, said Richard Counts Sr, operations director for CLS. Counts added that Lucky 6 fits the local market, as players will be more attracted to an online lottery game that gives them a chance to win a daily jackpot of $25,000.
Lucky 6 is a downscaled version of an online game presently offered in Barbados called Double Draw, which rakes in about $1,800 in average weekly earnings per agent terminal. Since Barbados has approximately 240 agent terminals offering Double Draw, Burns said a significant amount of money is collected yearly for the islands government.
"And, if the downscaled version of the game is anywhere near as successful as Double Draw is in Barbados, then Lucky 6 could possibly exceed our expectations," he added. "Only time will tell."
The Lottery Commission unanimously voted to approve the CLS proposal on Friday, which means Lucky 6 will be launched in the territory, and other areas of the Caribbean, on Nov. 21.
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