Hoosier Lottery to drop unpopular Monopoly game Dec. 26 as losses continue to pile up

Industries Associated Press

A Monopoly-themed lottery game that never caught on with players is being canceled this month, but not before racking up about $500,000 in losses for the Hoosier Lottery.

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Lottery officials in the 23 states where the Monopoly Millionaires Club draw game is played announced this week that the game that launched in October would end Dec. 26.

Sales of the game have fallen well short of expectations, forcing states to pay extra to the Multi-State Lottery Association to make up the difference. Hoosier Lottery officials had lost nearly $348,000 on the game through Nov. 30, and The (Munster) Times reported (http://bit.ly/1wDzq10 ) that figure is expected to grow by the game's end.

The Hoosier Lottery sold just $540,415 in $5 Monopoly tickets through Nov. 30. The lottery sells about $2 million in scratch-off tickets daily.

"Like all good businesses, lotteries have to try new ideas," Hoosier Lottery spokeswoman Courtney Arango said. "We incorporated concepts into this game that have been popular elsewhere, but they did not resonate here."

Experts say the game's concept was flawed because players who are willing to pay $5 for scratch-off tickets aren't as likely to pay that much for a single line of computer-generated numbers in a draw game.

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The game's demise is clouding income projections for GTECH Indiana, the private company that has a 15-year contract to manage Hoosier Lottery marketing, operations and sales.

The company fell short of its revenue goal for the fiscal year that ended June 30 and is expected to miss its second-year goal as well. The operator paid a $1.6 million penalty for falling short in its first year.

The company, which had counted on the Monopoly game for $32 million in sales, expects to fall nearly $40 million short of its projected income. It expects to incur a $16 million penalty in July as a result.

GTECH Indiana's contract allows the state lottery commission to cancel the company's contract if it misses its income target by at least 10 percent two years in a row, or three years during any five-year period.

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Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com