The rules of a Lotto promotion were stated incorrectly in some copies of yesterday's 5-star edition of The Evening Sun. Lotto players who purchase five tickets for tonight's Lotto drawing will receive tickets with numbers valid for both that and Saturday's drawings. After tonight's drawing, Lotto tickets will be valid for the next scheduled drawing only. The State Lottery Agency provided the incorrect information. The Evening Sun regrets the error.
The Maryland Lottery Agency will inaugurate a new Wednesday Lotto drawing tomorrow night.
State officials hope that in the current fiscal year the new drawing will add almost $13 million in ticket sales to the agency's books, from which the state treasury could expect to collect about $5.2 million in badly needed additional revenues.
FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION
"There are 23 other states with mature lotteries that draw twice weekly. It just seems to be a trend," said lottery spokesman Carroll H. Hynson, Jr. "Most Lotto sales are between Wednesday and Saturday. This will double the opportunities, which players seem to like, to participate in Lotto."
(Tomorrow's Lotto drawing will have a jackpot worth $4 million. Saturday's drawing failed to produce a winner, although 77 tickets sold matching 5 of the 6 winning numbers. They're worth $1,024 each. Another 3,893 tickets had four of the winning numbers; they're worth $35 each.)
The agency is promoting the new drawing by offering players five free Lotto tickets with the purchase of five at the regular price of $1 each. For this one time only, all 10 tickets will be valid for both the Wednesday and regular Saturday drawings.
After this week, Lotto tickets will be valid for the next drawing only. If there is no jackpot winner, Hynson said, the pot will "roll over" to increase the jackpot for the next drawing. But losing tickets will be invalid for subsequent drawings.
The addition of a second Lotto drawing will not improve players' chances of winning the jackpot, a 20-year annuity worth at least $2 million. The odds of winning with a single set of six numbers remain steady at about 1 in 7 million. There are two plays on each $1 ticket.
With the addition of the Wednesday Lotto drawing, Maryland will have three weekly lottery drawings. The third is the Tuesday "Winners Take All" game that was launched last May.
The Tuesday and Wednesday games are projected to add a combined $31.1 million in new sales during the current fiscal year. But their growth would come at the expense of the traditional Saturday Lotto drawing.
The Board of Revenue Estimates forecast last month that the Saturday game's sales would fall from $159.3 million last year to $141.8 million this year, a decline of $17.5 million, or about 11 percent.
But the net effect of the changes is expected to be positive -- a $13.6 million gain in sales of the weekly games in fiscal 1991, an 8.2 percent increase over fiscal 1990. Sales this year are projected to reach $179.1 million, up from $165.5 million last year.
The board has projected an 8.2 percent decline in weekly game sales in fiscal 1992, to $164.5 million.