Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Alaska STAR Lotto Promoter Abe Spicola May Lower The Prize To $400,000 To Get The Drawing Over Earlier

Update June 11th: Drawing to be held June 15th, payout reduced to $350,000. Updated post HERE.

On May 11th, 2010, the Anchorage Daily News reports that Alaska STAR Lotto promoter Abe Spicola is considering the possibility of lowering the prize from $500,000 to $400,000 so he can get the drawing over with earlier.

Ticket holders have been waiting through nearly five months of delays. Each month, the drawing date is extended by another month because the organizers haven't sold enough tickets. And organizers don't know whether they'll be able to meet that target by May 31st. As a result, Spicola is now considering lowering the prize.

"We're in talks with the state right now to see exactly what we can do," said Lucky Times owner, Abe Spicola. "In the next month, if it doesn't look like we're going to raise $500,000 plus the $50,000 for (charity), then, you know what? We might have to lower it. We might have to lower it to like $400,000 or $450,000 and just get this one done with and give it away." Spicola says he's seeking input from customers on whether they would be willing to accept the smaller prize and a definite drawing or if they want to wait.

I say we help him decide. I've set up an unscientific poll in the upper right hand corner of my sidebar beneath the Translate box, asking the question "Should Abe Spicola lower the Lotto prize to $400,000 and hold the drawing ASAP?". The poll will remain open until 11:59 P.M. on May 31st. The choices:

-- Yes, he should lower the prize and hold the drawing ASAP

-- No, he should leave the prize at $500,000 and continue to extend the drawing date

I voted Yes, primarily because this has been such a public relations fiasco due to lousy promotion that it's probably best for him to just piss on the fire, call in the dogs, and get it done. But I won't quibble if he wants to keep it going.

State law mandates that an operator who changes a prize after ticket sales have begun must either end the raffle and refund the money or "notify each ticket holder before the raffle is held and offer the ticket holder a refund." Whether that means Spicola would have to individually contact ticket holders, a huge undertaking, or simply put out public notices isn't clear, according to Jeff Prather, gaming group supervisor for the state Revenue Department.

Lotto organizers estimate they've taken in around $400,000 so far. The raffle intends to benefit the nonprofit Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) and needs to generate at least $500,000 to pay the prize. But organizers need more than that to cover expenses and to pay STAR what they hope will be $50,000. Thus a delay beyond May 31st is quite possible. Delays are legal as long as the drawing is held by the end of the calendar year after the first ticket was sold, according to state gaming officials, so the drop dead date is December 31st.

Tickets are still $5 each, except at the Lucky Times outlet on Spenard Blvd. in Anchorage, where you can get five tickets for $20.

No comments:

Post a Comment