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Gaming Guru

 

New Lottery Games Debut

29 October 2003

Despite last minute efforts from a group of opponents, on Monday of this week, the Michigan Lottery introduced two new "Club Games" at over 670 different locations throughout Michigan. The two new games, "Club Keno" and "Pull Tabs," went on sale at 6:05 a.m. Monday morning, and are offered at Class C liquor licensees (those that serve liquor by the glass). Initially, close to 700 different locations offer the games, with Lottery officials anticipating growth to over 2,500 outlets.

Club Keno is a continuous game with drawings conducted every five minutes. It offers prizes up to $100,000 (for matching 10 numbers), and it operates similarly to Keno games offered at casinos. Drawings are conducted seven days a week, every five minutes, from 6:05 a.m. to 1:45 a.m. Tickets can be purchased for up to 20 consecutive drawings at a time and winnings of up to $600 can be collected from the Club Keno retailer. Winning numbers are displayed in a closed-circuit television monitor.

The Pull Tabs game is a ticket that you purchase from the retailer and pull a tab to see whether you have won. Pull Tabs range in cost from $.50 to $1. Typical prizes are $200 and, similar to instant Lottery tickets, there are smaller prizes from $1 to $100. Importantly, winning Pull Tab tickets must be cashed the same day as they are purchased and at the retailer where the ticket was purchased.

Players interested in trying out the new games can find a list of establishments offering them at the Bureau's website at www.michigan.gov/lottery.

"I am very excited about both new games," said Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters. "Everyone involved in these new games will benefit. Lottery players will have the opportunity to win lots of cash prizes, most of which they can collect instantly from the bar or restaurant where the ticket was purchased. Lottery retailers will see increased sales at their establishments - boosting Michigan's economy. And, most important, Michigan's schoolchildren will benefit from the extra $50 million these new games are expected to generate for the state School Aid Fund."

The new games debuted despite a last minute effort by a group of opponents to cast doubt on whether the new games will generate new revenue for the state. Late last week, a group named the Worried Residents Opposing Neighborhood Gambling ("WRONG") held a press conference arguing that if the new Keno game was introduced, the state would lose, not gain, millions of dollars in revenue.

WRONG argues that the new games in essence create "mini-casinos" throughout the state and hurt charitable gaming. In an interesting twist, WRONG also argued that the introduction of the games would release three Indian tribes from their obligations to share revenue with the State of Michigan by violating an "exclusivity" clause in the three tribe's compacts with the state (providing for the tribe's exclusive right to conduct certain games - with the only exception being existing forms of gaming).

Despite these eleventh-hour arguments and concerns, the Bureau went through with the launch of the games on Monday as planned. The Bureau argues that the game is the same as the Keno game Lottery has offered for the past 13 years, with a difference in frequency. Lottery Commissioner Peters stated the following:

"For the past 13 years the Lottery has offered a traditional Keno game in which drawings happen once each evening. The new Club Keno game is similar to the traditional Keno game in the way it is played ... With Club Keno, drawings happen every five minutes."

As people see the new games in their local bars and restaurants, there is sure to be a continuing buzz of controversy. Yet, the introduction of these games truly demonstrates the growing acceptance of gaming as an acceptable form of entertainment in our society.

David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com
David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com