Maryland Lottery officials are gambling that Ravens football fever will bolster ticket sales when a new scratch-off is unveiled later this year, marking one of the first partnerships of its kind in the country.
Under the $810,000 deal with the Ravens approved by the state Board of Public Works on Wednesday, the team's logo will appear on $5 purple scratch-off tickets starting during the preseason in August. Prizes include lifetime season tickets to Ravens games, up to $1 million in cash and game-day suites. Maryland Lottery Director Buddy S. Roogow said winners could even score autographed and unwashed jerseys.
The National Football League made such a partnership possible when it decided in May to allow clubs to strike licensing deals with state-sponsored lotteries, loosening the league's tough no-gambling policy. NFL officials noted at the time that the outcome of something like a scratch-off game would not be based on the outcome of football matches.
Dick Cass, president of the Ravens, said at a news conference in Annapolis that he hopes the partnership will help boost the Ravens fan base. "We're a very young NFL franchise," he said, "and we're trying to build the franchise." The lottery plans to sell nearly four million Ravens Cash Fantasy scratch-offs at all vendor locations and the M&T Bank Stadium, generating an estimated $3 million in profits for the state. Lottery revenues are down eight percent, or $39 million, so far this fiscal year as consumer spending has declined, according to the state comptroller's office.
The Washington Redskins and the Virginia Lottery have reached a similar agreement, as have the New England Patriots and the Massachusetts State Lottery. Roogow said his office had been in talks with both the Redskins and Ravens but decided to pursue the partnership with the Baltimore team.