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First new ND Lottery game in six years, Lucky for Life, launches next month

BISMARCK - Tickets for the North Dakota Lottery's first new multi-state draw game in six years will hit convenience store counters next month, offering better odds than Powerball or Mega Millions but with a smaller and distinctively styled jackpot.

BISMARCK – Tickets for the North Dakota Lottery’s first new multi-state draw game in six years will hit convenience store counters next month, offering better odds than Powerball or Mega Millions but with a smaller and distinctively styled jackpot.

The game, Lucky for Life, launches Jan. 31. In-store advertising will begin after Jan. 1, Lottery Director Randy Miller said.

The state Lottery Commission finalized rules for the game last fall, and a legislative committee accepted them Dec. 7.

“We’re always looking and researching game ideas and trying to add to our product mix to keep things fresh and add some variety for players,” Miller said.

Top prize is $1,000 a day for life, paid weekly for a minimum of 20 years. Players pay $2 for a ticket with five numbers and one “Lucky Ball” number, and must match all six numbers to claim the jackpot.

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Second prize is $25,000 a year for life. Eight other levels of matches yield prizes from $3 to $5,000. Drawings are held every Monday and Thursday.

Odds of winning the Lucky for Life jackpot are about 1 in 31 million, which Miller said is “very good” compared with Powerball’s 292-million-to-1 odds and Mega Millions’ 259-million-to-1 odds.

Seventeen states now participate in Lucky for Life, including Minnesota and Montana.

Mega Millions was the last multi-state draw game added in North Dakota, in January 2010.

“We’re very excited, and I think our players will be excited as well, to get a new game out there,” Miller said.

Lottery tickets sales in North Dakota were down about $300,000, or 3 percent, from the start of the current fiscal year July 1 to Nov. 30 compared with the same period last year, Miller said.

He attributed the lower sales to the lack of big Powerball jackpots during the five-month span and said he hasn’t noticed a drop-off in sales related to the downturn in North Dakota’s oil industry. He said any effects will become clearer after the first big jackpot run, which may come this week with the jackpot for Wednesday’s Powerball drawing estimated at $227 million.

Bryan Ellison, manager at Superpumper in south Bismarck, said he’s excited to have another draw game to offer customers, and he also hasn’t noticed a dip in ticket sales.

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“When the jackpot gets up to a major amount like the Powerball is right now, we see an increase, but most of the time people come in and just buy one and don’t think another thing about it. It’s just habit,” he said.

About half of every dollar spent on lottery tickets in North Dakota goes to prizes. The state’s general fund receives about 26 percent, and a compulsive gambling prevention and treatment fund receives 1 percent. The rest goes to contracted services, retailer commissions, prize reserve pools, a multi-jurisdictional drug task force grant fund and other expenses.

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