ND Lottery shelves Monopoly Millionaires' Club after halt to ticket sales announced
BISMARCK - The North Dakota Lottery has shelved plans to add a sixth multi-state draw game after Friday's announcement that 23 states will temporarily halt ticket sales for the Monopoly Millionaires' Club game later this month because of a lack o...
BISMARCK – The North Dakota Lottery has shelved plans to add a sixth multi-state draw game after Friday’s announcement that 23 states will temporarily halt ticket sales for the Monopoly Millionaires’ Club game later this month because of a lack of player interest.
“It’s very disappointing. We were excited to offer this game,” Lottery Director Randy Miller said. “We had a lot of things in place.”
The North Dakota Lottery Advisory Commission was scheduled to finalize the administrative rules for the game today so it could be launched in North Dakota on Feb. 1.
But a statement issued Friday by the North Carolina Education Lottery said all 23 states in which the game debuted Oct. 19 – including Minnesota and South Dakota – will suspend ticket sales on Dec. 26 and hold the last drawings that day.
“The sales haven’t been as strong as everyone had hoped, so they’re looking at ways they can improve it and then bring it back,” North Carolina Education Lottery spokesman Van Denton said.
Miller received confirmation of the news Monday from the Multi-State Lottery Association.
“Right now, the game is ending in its current format and the group will continue to work together to investigate new game ideas,” he said. “For us, we’ll put it on hold. There’s nothing more we can move forward with because there’s no game for us to join.”
Three ways to win
Based on the popular real-estate board game, Monopoly Millionaires’ Club was developed in response to feedback from players who wanted a game that gives many players the chance to become millionaires with every draw, as opposed to other games like Powerball with its minimum jackpot of $40 million that can build into the hundreds of millions, Miller said.
“We hear it all the time from the public: Why does one person win the big $300-400 million?” he said.
The game costs $5 per ticket and offers three ways to become a millionaire.
Players need to match five numbers and the property number to win the top prize, which starts at $15 million and is capped at $25 million. A winning jackpot instantly triggers a second drawing that awards a minimum of 10 prizes of $1 million.
Players also can go online and enter a code from their ticket to earn entry into a random drawing for the chance to be flown to Las Vegas to attend and potentially participate in the Monopoly Millionaires’ Club TV game show, scheduled to debut in February.
“It is quite a different game from the other games that we offer,” Miller said.
The jackpot has been hit once so far, on Nov. 7. A New Jersey man won $21 million, and 14 other winners collected $1 million prizes.
Eyeing other opportunities
Miller said North Dakota wasn’t ready to join Monopoly Millionaires’ Club when it launched in other states because the Advisory Commission needed to go through the rules adoption process and the lottery division had just finished deploying new technology across the state. North Dakota currently offers five multi-state draw games: Powerball, Mega Millions, Hot Lotto, Wild Card 2 and 2by2.
The division requested $226,000 in its 2015-17 budget to cover licensing fees and costs related to travel and prizes for the TV show, he said.
Now, it remains to be seen whether Monopoly Millionaires’ Club will be changed or scrapped for a new type of draw game, he said.
“We’ll go back and we’ll look to evaluate some other opportunities that might be out there,” he said.