Arrangement seen as gimme to buyers of scratch-offs after big prizes won
BY TOM HESTER SR.
The NJ Lottery will offer a new program in the spring --- "Million Dollar Replay" ---- that will allow any person who joins the NJ Lottery VIP Club and purchases at least $10 in eligible, non-winning instant tickets, to submit their losing tickets into a yearly drawing for $1 million.
Additionally, each quarter the lottery will hold a drawing to select 100 winners to receive a prize of $250 each. There will also be 15 final winners selected at the end of the year for prizes ranging from $10,000 to $1 million.
Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Gloucester) announced details of the program Friday and said they come as a compromise he has reached with lottery officials to give buyers of losing tickets a second chance at winning.
Moriarty was the lead sponsor of legislation (A-647) recently approved by the Assembly that would have prohibited the sale of lottery scratch-off tickets after the top prizes have been won, a measure that had been opposed by lottery officials.
"I have always been of the belief that it is misleading to continue selling scratch-off tickets to the public when the top prizes have already been awarded," Moriarty said. "However, lottery officials had their own concerns so we have reached what I believe is a great compromise victory for consumers."
Lottery agents will offer as many as 30 scratch-off games without information on whether or not the big prizes have been won. The games are especially popular with low-income people and immigrants hoping to strike it rich. Whether or not they will join the VIP Club remains to be determined.
After meeting with lottery officials, Moriarty said that he will drop his legislation in exchange for the lottery rolling out a new program that will give customers a second chance at prizes on losing tickets.
"My concern all along is that consumers were wasting their money on prizes that no longer existed," the Assemblyman said. "Now they will have a number of second chances. I think this is a great compromise that will help boost lottery revenue and give customers a second chance at a winning shot."