EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

June 5, 2009

There's a $1 million NH lottery ticket out there

Lottery officials hope to build scratch fever

Who wants to be a millionaire? New Hampshire Lottery officials hope some 147,000 people do.

That's the approximate number of $10 instant tickets left in the lottery's NH Millionaire's Club game. The game, which started more than two years ago, offered two $1 million instant prizes. But only one has been claimed.

Lottery officials are hoping the increased odds of winning will spark a little ticket fever in the Granite State. Lottery representatives have taped fluorescent paper signs to Plexiglas lottery boxes in mom-and-pop stores across the state, proclaiming "Still one $1 million prize unclaimed."

Some 93 percent of the 2.1 million Millionaire's Club tickets have been sold. But even much better odds of winning $1 million instantly isn't necessarily enough to get many people to plunk down a sawbuck for the chance. A very small sampling of some of the state's 1,200-plus lottery retailers didn't reveal much lottery fever going around.

"It's not really selling," Chantha Pen said of the Millionaire's Club tickets.

Pen still has some of the tickets left for sale at her Mini Express store on Plaistow's Main Street. She wasn't expecting to sell out anytime soon.

"People buy one of these, one of those," Pen said, pointing to the rows of scratch tickets behind her counter. "They're not buying this particular game."

The fever's also not detectable at Don's Market in Hampstead either.

Owner Wayne Dumas, who has been selling tickets since the lottery began in 1964, said he has been keeping an eye on this particular game. He said lottery sales in general are down as more people worry about paying their bills and have less discretionary money to spend on things like lottery tickets.

But increased odds and big prizes do draw some customers' attention, he said.

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