Sooner Lottery scratch off tickets go on sale today

The state lottery that Governor Brad Henry thinks will save Oklahoma 's schools begins today with the sale of scratch-off tickets at participating stores.

At press-time the only outlet with the machinery to sell the tickets in Cimarron County seems to be the Love's Truck Stop on East Main . Other stores such as Loaf and Jug, Black Mesa Shell, the C-Store in Keyes, and the Kenton Merc, plan to also participate at some time in the future.

In recent weeks, there have been a flurry of E-mails to The Boise City News regarding the impending sale of tickets, what follows are some excerpts.

F The Lottery timeline is as follows:

October 12, 2005 : Oklahoma Lottery Instant Games go on sale.

November 10, 2005 : Pick 3/Daily Game will be introduced.

January 14, 2006 : PowerBall will be introduced.

F Today, Oklahomans will get the opportunity to do what thousands of lottery players in 40 other U.S. lottery jurisdictions do every day:  buy scratch-off lottery tickets for a chance to win money instantly.

“When most people think of winning the lottery, they think of the huge jackpots associated with the Powerball game,” said Jim Scroggins, executive director of the Oklahoma Lottery.  “And while jackpot fever is something to behold, the popularity of instant scratch-off games with today's consumer is undeniable.”

In Fiscal Year 2005, instant ticket sales accounted for about 55 percent of total U.S. lottery sales.

F Oklahoma City- The Senate Finance Committee chair echoed the sentiments of Senator Daisy Lawler and called on the Lottery Commission to reverse their decision to allow lottery tickets to be sold at pawn shops and payday loan companies.

“Senator Lawler is right on the money to ask the lottery commission to reverse this decision, and I join her in that call,” Gumm, an Assistant Majority Leader in the Senate, said. “This was a bad decision made by good people that needs to be reversed as soon as possible.”

Gumm, a Democrat from Durant, said although the Lottery Commission has vowed to revisit the issue at an emergency meeting next Tuesday, he believes the Legislature should pass a law banning the sale of lottery tickets at pawn shops and payday loan companies.

Oklahoma City State Sen. Jim Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City , said Friday that Gov. Brad Henry should consider asking his appointees to the Oklahoma Lottery Commission's board to resign.

“We should start over with a new board that isn't bent on taking advantage of Oklahoma 's poor in an effort to meet Gov. Henry's lofty projections for lottery revenues,” Reynolds stated.

“The board already has three strikes against it after voting earlier this week to sell lottery tickets at payday loan shops, check-cashing stores, and pawn shops. These are three types of businesses that are patronized by needier Oklahomans, so the board's intentions were obvious. I hope the governor sees this as ‘three strikes and they're out',” he said.

After bipartisan criticism of their decision, the board has decided to reconsider its decision.

F Oklahoma City- With the sale of just one ticket on Wednesday, Oklahoma 's lottery director will become the game's first winner and receive more money in a day than the average Oklahoman makes all year, a state lawmaker noted today.

Under his contract as executive director of Oklahoma's lottery, James Scroggins will receive a $25,000, (a first year Oklahoma teacher makes $29,473), bonus if just one ticket is sold this Wednesday, even though he has failed to attract the retailers needed for the lottery to meet revenue projections, which are plummeting.

When Gov. Brad Henry campaigned for the lottery in 2004, he said it would generate $300 million in annual profit for education. However, the Oklahoma Lottery Commission recently announced the game is expected to generate only $126.6 million once the entire system is up and running - a 57.8 percent reduction.

Although lottery officials say it will take 3,500 retailers selling tickets for the game to meet revenue projections, less than 1,200 have been approved and approximately 500 more have applied. Even if all applications are approved, the state will still have less than half the retailers required.

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