To Boost Sales, Lottery Turns To Vending Machines

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(Host) The Vermont Lottery is exploring a number of options to help boost interest in its games, because sales over the past few years have been relatively flat.

As VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports, the first change is a pilot program that uses vending machines to sell tickets.

(Kinzel) In the not too distant future, this could be the sound of buying a lottery ticket:

(Change dropping from vending machine)

(Kinzel) That’s because the Vermont Lottery is launching a pilot program this fall to sell some of its products in vending machines at prime locations around the state. 

Alan Yandow is the director of the Lottery.

(Yandow) "We’ll have 100 of these machines throughout the state at grocery stores and C stores and we’ll see if that makes it easier for the players. So you continually look for different ways to deliver our different games or what does the new technology bring."

(Kinzel) Yandow says lottery sales in many states are stagnant and he says some officials are eager to find ways to boost sales to help maintain important programs in their budgets.

Money from the Vermont Lottery goes directly into the state’s Education Fund – last year the fund received just over $21 million.

Yandow says there are a number of new technologies being introduced in the Lottery business and he’s in the process of checking them out to see if they would be appropriate for Vermont.

(Yandow) "There are new technologies – it’s become kind of a states’ issue. A number of states are taking a look at it. And if we weren’t doing our due diligence to see what the options were we wouldn’t be doing our job."

(Kinzel) Yandow says one possibility is selling lottery tickets on the Internet.

(Yandow) "The District of Columbia, their lottery is setting up an i-game system that is structured so that they can guarantee that only people within the District who log on to the Internet would be able to play the game. No one from the outside would, so they’re able to keep it within the jurisdiction – similar to the way we do with the sale of tickets now. You can buy a Vermont ticket only in Vermont, you can pick a New York ticket only in New York."

(Kinzel) Yandow says many of these options are in the preliminary discussion stage, but one thing is certain. The vending machines will be up and operating before Thanksgiving.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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