INDIANAPOLIS | The expected income shortfall for GTECH Indiana, the private company operating the Hoosier Lottery, will grow significantly following the Dec. 26 termination of the unpopular Monopoly Millionaires Club draw game.
Launched Oct. 19 amid great fanfare at New York City's Times Square, the $5 weekly game featuring a $25 million top prize, $1 million second-chance prizes and the potential to appear on a television game show failed to catch on with lottery players, in part due to its high ticket price and confusing three ways to win.
Lottery officials in the 23 states where the game is played announced this week Monopoly Millionaires Club will end after two more Friday night drawings.
"Like all good businesses, lotteries have to try new ideas," said Courtney Arango, Hoosier Lottery spokeswoman. "We incorporated concepts into this game that have been popular elsewhere, but they did not resonate here."
The Hoosier Lottery sold just $540,415 in Monopoly Millionaires Club tickets for the six drawings through Nov. 30. In comparison, the lottery sells about $2 million in scratch-off tickets every day.
The weak Monopoly Millionaires Club sales forced the Hoosier Lottery to pay extra to the Multi-State Lottery Association to cover jackpots won by players in other states.
As a result, the lottery lost $347,837 on Monopoly Millionaires Club through Nov. 30. That loss is likely to grow to about a half million dollars by the time the game ends for good.
GTECH Indiana, which inked a 15-year contract in 2012 to manage Hoosier Lottery marketing, operations and sales, was expecting Monopoly Millionaires Club to ring up $32 million in ticket sales through June 30.
The failure of Monopoly Millionaires Club to produce any net income deepens the company's woes.
GTECH announced Nov. 10 it expects to incur the maximum $16 million penalty for failing to meet its contract to produce $320 million in Hoosier Lottery income during the July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015, period.
At that time, GTECH Indiana predicted it would fall $31 million, or 9.7 percent, short of its contracted lottery income.
That deficit likely will grow by about $8 million after eliminating forecast income from Monopoly Millionaires Club.
The Indiana State Lottery Commission can cancel GTECH Indiana's contract to operate the Hoosier Lottery if the company misses its income target by at least 10 percent two years in a row, or three years during any five-year period.