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POWERBALL TOUTED AS BIG DRAW FOR NEW PLAYERS

May 23, 2002 – Powerball is coming to the Virgin Islands in a few months, and V.I. officials are touting its impending arrival as a force for attracting new online lottery players, both residents and visitors — and thereby boosting government revenues.
Because of Powerball's "national and international appeal," Gov. Charles W. Turnbull said in a release this week, "I am convinced that a substantial portion of the 'new players' revenue for Powerball tickets will come from visitors to the territory, including the visitors and staff from cruise ships, adjacent Caribbean states and countries, and the many air travelers who come to enjoy our beautiful islands."
Austin Andrews, director of the V.I. Lottery, said in the same release: "Although I anticipate some migration of dollars from the existing Caribbean Lotto to the Powerball game, I do anticipate the creation of a significant number of new local players who have never bought lottery tickets before."
He said he also thinks that "individuals who have played before by sending money to their relatives in the states to buy Powerball or the Big Game tickets when the jackpot exceeds one hundred million dollars will instead buy their game tickets in the Virgin Islands."
Robert B. Washington Jr., chief executive of Leeward Islands Lottery Holding Co., parent company of Caribbean Lottery Services, which began operating online lottery games in the territory in March, said CLS is "honored to support the USVI Lottery team with the upcoming design, installation and launch of Powerball."
Richard Counts, marketing director for CLS in the Virgin Islands, said he expects the game to become available locally "about mid-August."
In order to begin offering the game, the V.I. government had to be accepted as a member of the Powerball Group, consisting of 22 states and the District of Columbia. Unanimous approval was given at a recent meeting of group members in Washington, D.C., the release stated. Andrews said the move "puts us in line for full modernization of the technology, software and systems of the Virgin Islands Lottery."
Turnbull said regarding Powerball that "the response of the community indicates that it will be very well received and will result in new, renewable revenues for the territory, including new money for public education, the handicapped and other important programs."
Caribbean Lottery Services' 10-year contract with the V.I. government calls for it to turn 10 percent of its gross receipts over to the V.I. Lottery. On Tuesday, CLS submitted its first monthly allocation payment — of $71,541.69, according to a Government House release.
"The Virgin Islands Lottery has received a big sales boost from the launch of new online games from CLS," the release stated, citing Pick 3, Pick 4, Hot 5, Caribbean Keno and Instant Scratch tickets. And, it said, "the whole territory is buzzing about the big USVI Caribbean Lotto jackpot that is now $1,687,500."
Despite the popularity of the CLS games, Turnbull said in the Powerball release, "I am also convinced that because the best odds for winning are still in playing the traditional Virgin Islands Lottery game, that the traditional game will continue to be supported by our local population for the foreseeable future."
For information about the Powerball game, go to the main Powerball web site.

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