Chances are not good that a special lottery game could be devised to help finance the World University Games, the director of the state lottery says.
The state already is selling a large number of lottery tickets in Western New York for the weekly instant-winner or "scratch off" games, Lottery Director Peter Lynch said. To introduce a new game in the Buffalo area would take sales from another game, he said.
There is, however, a much greater potential for selling more "instant" tickets in New York City, Lynch said. Officials there want the state to create a new game to help pay for more police officers.
Gov. Cuomo said Saturday he supports New York City's plan if a new lottery game would not diminish the state's lottery revenues. Any additional revenues, he said, could be used to help the city, Cuomo said.
But creating a new game in Buffalo would be difficult, Lynch said. It essentially would come down to a choice between state aid for schools or for the World Games, he said.
Lynch expressed some concern that declining sales in the Lotto game could reduce state revenues. Of particular concern, he said, is the "Super Lottery" game that would have a payoff of at least $50 million.
The drop-off in Lotto sales forced lottery officials to lower the first prize from the usual $6 million to $4.5 million for Saturday's game. The prize was set Thursday and was based on the sale expected between Wednesday, when no one won the $3 million grand prize, and Saturday's drawing.
The smaller sales figures have eaten at the lottery's reserve fund and will make it more difficult to conduct the Super Lotto game. The game, which will occur sometime before April, is intended to help the state deal with its fiscal problems.
The drop-off in Lotto sales shows that lottery games are not "recession proof," as some people have claimed, Lynch said. The economic slowdown is the chief reason behind the reduction in ticket sales, he added.