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Room for two Lady Lucks to tout lotteries

Lady Luck can tout lotteries in both North Dakota and Virginia. Lottery officials in the two states agree there's enough room for two Lady Lucks -- provided North Dakota's ing?nue takes pains to distinguish herself from Virginia's more venerable ...

Lady Luck can tout lotteries in both North Dakota and Virginia.

Lottery officials in the two states agree there's enough room for two Lady Lucks -- provided North Dakota's ingénue takes pains to distinguish herself from Virginia's more venerable depiction.

North Dakota sent notice Friday to Virginia that it will go ahead with plans to use Lady Luck in promoting its new lottery, which launches Thursday.

Billboards featuring Lady Luck will start appearing around North Dakota beginning today, and she'll soon begin appearing in television ads.

Chuck Keller, director of the North Dakota Lottery, wrote his Virginia counterpart a letter Friday saying North Dakota's Lady Luck "is and will be sufficiently different" than Virginia's version.

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"From our perspective, it's a dead issue," Keller said.

Keller wrote the director of the Virginia Lottery, Penelope Kyle, Feb. 11, to invite discussion about North Dakota's plans to use a Lady Luck persona to promote its lottery. Virginia has used its own version of Lady Luck to tout its lottery since 1990.

Virginia officials maintain that they have a common law copyright on their depiction of Lady Luck. While North Dakota officials don't necessarily agree, they will be careful not to mimic Virginia's.

In its defense, North Dakota maintains that Washington state once used Lady Luck to promote its lottery, dating back at least four years before Virginia.

North Dakota's Lady Luck is more stylish and less unkempt than Virginia's, Keller said.

"Their persona is completely different," he said. "Virginia's is maybe a comical person, somewhat daffy."

North Dakota's, by contrast, is "more elegant, more charming, more ladylike," he said.

Ed Scarborough, a spokesman for the Virginia Lottery, said Friday that he hasn't seen Keller's letter. Virginia stands by its earlier statements -- two Lady Lucks can co-exist, as long as they're distinct.

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"I really wouldn't have any further comment," he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

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