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Mega Millions changes planned after sluggish ticket sales


Published:   |   Updated: August 27, 2013 at 08:34 AM

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s most prominent new addition to its lottery games is already going through a makeover.

Lottery officials announced Monday that several key changes are coming to the Mega Millions game.

Florida started selling tickets to the multi-state game this past May. But so far, ticket sales have not matched the initial projections.

State officials initially estimated that the Florida Lottery would sell about $4 million in tickets each week for the six-number game. Instead ticket sales have been $2.2 million a week.

Starting on Oct. 19, the initial jackpot in the twice-a-week drawing will rise to $15 million from the current $12 million. Other changes include raising the second-place prize from $250,000 to $1 million.

“We believe that will increase the popularity,” said Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell.

O’Connell said the changes should ensure that Mega Millions tickets sales are “robust and healthy.”

But O’Connell stressed that other factors may have been responsible for the initial sluggish sales, including record jackpots this year in Powerball that attracted customers to that game.

“That really takes the wind out of the sails,” she said.

In the past, state lottery officials have resisted adding games because of fears it would erode sales of existing games. But they added Mega Millions due to customer requests and because Florida was about to become the only state that offered just one multi-state game.

Lottery officials initially estimated Mega Millions would generate sales of roughly $209 million in its first year of operation and that it would trigger a 10.5 percent decline in Powerball ticket sales and an 8.5 percent decline in the sales of Florida Lotto tickets.

But the less-than-stellar sales of Mega Millions prompted state economists to scale back their forecast on how much money the game would generate in the next year t o $125 million.

Economists, however, noted that sales of Powerball and Florida Lotto tickets sales have not dropped as expected. They now expect overall Lottery tickets to increase by about $200 million for the current fiscal year, bringing total sales to $5.12 billion.

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