Originally created 12/14/01

Retailers get lesson on lottery



AIKEN - The green plastic terminals all repeated the same chipper phrase: "Congratulations, you're a winner!"

Ryan Small, the regional sales manager for the South Carolina Education Lottery, told Aiken-area retailers Thursday they soon will be hearing those words a lot.

He and a representative from Scientific Games International Inc. of Alpharetta, Ga., instructed store managers in a University of South Carolina Aiken classroom about how to use their new machines and properly administer the lottery.

In the initial scratch-off games, which will begin Jan. 7 at 6 a.m., at least one out of every five ticket-buyers will be a winner.

Most of those winning amounts will be $500 or under, low enough that a retailer can reward the player at the store.

The terminals are equipped with a bar code scanner to read and record scratched-off winning tickets. The terminal operator will use the computer's touch screen to enter a numeric code found on the ticket.

Provided that the winning ticket is legitimate, the congratulatory voice will speak.

Winning tickets of more than $500 will have to be mailed or taken directly to a redemption center in Columbia, Greenville or Mount Pleasant. Aiken is slated for a redemption center, officials said, but will not receive one not right away.

According to Larry Barnard, a trainer with Scientific Games, the South Carolina lottery computer system, known as EXTREMA, is the most advanced on the market. Maine and Iowa are the only other states using it.

Retailers will receive 7 percent of lottery sales, among the highest retailer profits in the nation, officials said.

Mr. Small said although retail employees are allowed to play the lottery - lottery employees aren't - he advised not doing so while conducting business.

"It doesn't look right in your store," he said.

Also Thursday, Scientific Games delivered the first six instant ticket games to the lottery commission's warehouse in Blythewood.

The first four games to be available will be Scenic S.C., 3 Times Lucky, The Logo Game and Carolina Riches. Prizes will range from $1 to $100,000.

To date, 2,932 retailers have been licensed for the South Carolina lottery.

Reach Eric Williamson at (803) 648-1395 or eric.williamson@augustachronicle.com.

What's next:

Retailers will receive lottery terminals and will train their employees to use them before the Jan. 7 start date.