January 29, 2004
Self service lottery machines
The Texas Lottery Commission is planning to roll out self service lottery machines. Let me say that again, because I'm still not quite sure I believe what I've just written. The Texas Lottery Commission is planning to roll out SELF SERVICE LOTTERY MACHINES.
AUSTIN - Texas lottery officials plan to install about 1,000 self-serve units at retail outlets across the state to dispense tickets for games like Lotto Texas, Mega Millions and Cash Five.
The ATM-like machines will also be able to scan tickets from previous drawings and tell players whether they have won money.
"We think the players will like them," lottery spokesman Bobby Heith told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "You can purchase your tickets and check to see if you have a winner without taking up the retailer's time."
In an open letter to players on the lottery's Web site, Reagan Greer, the Texas Lottery Commission's executive director, said the self-service terminals should be up and running by August.
The terminals will be similar to the instant ticket, or scratch-off game vending machines in use at some lottery retail locations.
"Players will have the option of using a play slip or a touch screen to quickly and easily choose specific games, pick the numbers they want or play Quick Picks," Greer said in his letter. "Customers will be able to use cash bills to purchase tickets for the exact amount."
The machines will sell tickets for all the lottery's online games -- those where players can choose their own numbers.
Well, hell. Why stop with retail outlets? Put them in every airport terminal in the state, so that we can shake down tourists and business travellers one last time. There's a reason they have slot machines at the Las Vegas airport, you know.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 29, 2004 to Jackpot!
Now, why would you want to have the state of Texas fleece the tourists and business travellers any more than they already are? According to an article in yesterday's New York Daily News, Reliant Stadium was built on the taxes imposed on hotel rooms just for that purpose.
The New York State Lottery is also looking to place similar lottery terminals throughout the state. As for slot machines, well, New York just started putting video lottery terminals in every racetrack (which are now being referred to in the newspapers as "racinos") in the state, with another 8 locations coming to New York this year alone. What's the difference between a VLT and a slot machine? Based on what I saw in Atlantic City last Friday and what I saw in today's Newsday, virtually nothing.
Touch screens can also print paper? Whoda thunk it?
Though not directly related, one thing that's coming up more and more is various states trying to force Indian tribes to negotiate with the state to pay taxes on their casino operations. Cash-strapped states are seeking to renege on treaties made with various tribes within their state at an alarming level.
Some resort to blackmail, or threaten it. In California, there is talk that if Indians don't agree to renegotiate existing compacts and fork over up to a quarter of their profits from gaming, they will open up gambling to non-Indian entities, effectively taking their monopoly (and market share) away.
Government can be downright evil and nasty when it comes to looking for revenue in tough times. This is what makes me a libertarian, I suppose, among other things. It only knows how to grow, how to consume more and more. No one notices when times are good, and no draconian measures to raise the needed revenue are taken. But other times, states will do damn near anything, regardless of ethics, to raise a few more (million) bucks.
Does anyone know who will be manufacturing the machines?