I-Lottery Update - September 2002

7 September 2002

A UN Lottery

Officials from the World Lottery Association met in August to talk for the first time about establishing a lottery that would serve as funding for the United Nations.

The first prize of the lottery is reportedly to be as high as US $250 million. The UN and the participating governments would all see a cut of the proceeds. The former president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, is promoting the concept, which is being called the Global UN Lottery.

Held in Dublin, the meeting was attended by 13 of the WLA's executive members. According to newspaper reports, participants discussed possibly launching the international lottery in between 18 months and three years. Yvonne Schnyder, secretary-general of the WLA, said it is too early to speak of any details of the project.

"We don't have details of the games, nor is there an agreement with the UN," she said. "There have been talks."

Schnyder said the lottery, if it takes place, would be an excellent money generator for both the UN and for its member countries.

"It would be a very good way of making millions for the UN and for lottery winners and for the governments," she said.

The UN's portion of the proceeds would go toward helping people, said a member of Ahtisaari's staff.

"It would be for humanitarian operations, such as food distribution, but also to promote human rights, for children and women, for example," the staff member said.

Ghana first proposed a UN lottery in 1972, but the idea has now taken hold thanks to a speech that the current president of Finland, Tarja Halonen, gave at a UN development meeting in Monterrey, Mexico. WLA president Reidar Nordby Jr. said on Aug. 9 that the project will not go forward unless the governments involved, and those governments' lotteries, support it.

"We will gladly attempt to shape a consensus within the WLA through discussions with our members and our executive committee," he said. "At this early juncture, however, calls for a policy decision are premature. Under no circumstances will the WLA members be committed to a UN Global Lottery without the full consent from each participating lottery and their governments."

New York Lottery Gets Mega Millions Boost

New Yorkers spent $2.03 billion on the lottery this year, a 16 percent increase from the $1.75 billion they spent on it last year.

A large share of the money spent on lottery ticket this year went to the multistate Mega Millions lottery game, which was introduced on May 17. Carolyn Hapeman, a lottery spokeswoman, gave credit to the state lottery's marketing efforts.

"I think we're just doing a really good job telling people what lottery games are out there," she told the New York Post.

While sales for Mega Millions have risen, fewer and fewer tickets are being sold for Lotto. Lotto sales fell 30 percent over the course of the year even though the average jackpot increased from $11.5 million last year to $12 million this year.

TaipeiBank Offers Super Jackpot

TaipeiBank is doubling its September jackpot in hopes of attracting more sales.

Since Chinese New Year, lottery sales have fallen off for Taipei Bank, which is now selling fewer and fewer lottery tickets than it used to.

Richard Yang, the bank's vice president, said the super jackpot can be won during any of the five draws between Sept. 3 and 17 if the drawing's seventh extra number is bigger than any of the remaining six lucky numbers.

Finance Minister Lee Yung-san said that while the offer of a super jackpot might stir interest in the lottery during September, the lottery will probably never again be as popular when it was when it first started.

"It's just a short-term stimuli," he said.

Anne Lindner can be reached at anne@rivercitygroup.com.