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State Lottery Sales Way Up Despite Bad Economy; Arizona Inks New Five-Year Contract for Ticket Services

Sales of Arizona Lottery scratcher tickets are up 10 percent over last year, making it a no-brainer for the state to ink a new five-year service contract with its instant ticket provider, Scientific Games. About 53 percent of the lottery's $453 million in sales last year came from instant tickets, says an announcement about the contract.

An even stronger wave of tickets sales was reported by the state lottery in October.

Here's what Jeff Hatch-Miller, state lottery director, has to say about the new contract:

"Scientific Games has been our vendor since inception in 1981 and in that time our instant ticket sales have grown tremendously," said Jeff Hatch-Miller, Executive Director of the Arizona Lottery. "Earlier this year we introduced one of Scientific Games' Spotlight Games and have been extremely happy with the results. We hope to continue this tradition of growth and provide more revenue for our state during these tough economic times."

The psychology behind the rising sales doesn't seem too hard to figure out: Customers have grown more desperate.

But at least they're helping the state's bottom line.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.