published Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Scratch-offs bring in the bucks: Instant games are ticket to Tennessee Lottery's success

A customer buys a PowerBall lottery ticket at a gas station on Jenkins Road.
A customer buys a PowerBall lottery ticket at a gas station on Jenkins Road.
By Lesley Onstott

• In the latest fiscal year, the state lottery topped $1.3 billion in sales, the eighth consecutive year of growth

• From 2005 to 2012, instant game ticket sales grew from $599 million to $1.05 billion, accounting for more than 80 percent of total sales.

• More than $2.5 billion has been raised for education-related programs and more than 600,000 college scholarships have been funded.

Source: Tennessee Lottery Corp.

Enter a gas station and walk to the register, and you'll often notice a common fixture: a clear case with rows and columns containing rolls of brightly colored pieces of paper that can mean different things to different people — entertainment, guilty pleasure, distraction, hope — all for as little as a dollar.

The giant jackpots from Powerball and Mega Millions might grab the headlines, but year after year, it's those rolls of instant scratch-off tickets that consistently bring big bucks into the Tennessee Lottery's coffers.

Nearly everything about the tickets -- the color, the name, the design -- is methodically planned and focus group-tested to persuade customers to part with their cash.

Read more at The Tennessean.

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