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Checking for a winner... Tammy Grosser, manager of Cenex C-Store in Kenmare, uses a newly installed automated system to check if her lottery ticket is a winner.
By Marvin Baker
Even though state officials recently celebrated 10 years of the lottery in North Dakota, it was business as usual for two Kenmare vendors who sell tickets.
Gartner’s Jack & Jill and Cenex C-Store had little, if any fanfare to mark the 10th anniversary of the first lottery ticket sold in North Dakota, on March 31, 2004.
However, Arlen Gartner and Tammy Grosser, of Cenex, both told The Kenmare News they’ve received new equipment from the Lottery that allows easy access for customers and provides a new marketing campaign.
The bigger benefit, they say, is that sales become brisk when the jackpots increase.
“It’s pretty steady until the jackpot gets over $100 million,” Gartner said. “It’s going pretty well for us here, and when the pot gets bigger, we sell more tickets.”
Gartner, who said his store started selling tickets a year after the lottery was established, gets 5 cents a ticket. If Gartner’s Jack & Jill sells a winner, then the store gets a commission.
Thus far, the highest winning ticket purchased at the local grocer, was $500.
Like Gartner, Tammy Grosser, who manager of Cenex C-Store, said sales of tickets in her store increase as the jackpot increases.
Grosser has regular customers who purchase tickets and those who are passing through Kenmare on U.S. Highway 52.
“It does help sales,” Grosser said. “Customers will come in, get a ticket, gas up, pick up some snacks; it helps sales.”
Grosser has been in North Dakota 20 years and said it used to be a treat traveling to her home state of Minnesota to stop in a local gas station and pick up a lottery ticket.
Now, tickets have been available locally for the past 10 years so the excitement of that treat has faded somewhat.
She added that because Cenex C-Store recently received new technology regarding the lottery, it makes it easier for her customers and employees.
“It takes a load of work off my tellers,” Grosser said. “When people are lined up to make a purchase, we don’t have to be checking all the tickets. If someone is a winner, we’ll check them anyway.”
Rep. Glen Froseth, R-Kenmare, said the lottery is putting about $500,000 a month into the state’s general fund.
Froseth, who called the lottery, an entertainment, said a lot of people in North Dakota enjoy it.
He said that’s OK, as long as people play responsibly.
Froseth said the lottery has provided several jobs since its inception. In fact, shortly after the lottery started, Froseth said the attorney general put in a request to the Legislature for additional funding for new employees.
The North Dakota Lottery is a division of the Attorney General’s Office.
In 2003, when the lottery was debated in the Legislature, Froseth said there was plenty of dissent before it passed into law.
“There was a segment of the Legislature that opposed it and some who always wanted it,” Froseth said. “And after it got going, there were some who always wanted to expand it and others who met it with a lot of resistance.”
In the larger scheme of things, he said the lottery gives the state of North Dakota a connection with the rest of the nation regarding the jackpot prizes.
For instance, someone purchasing a lottery ticket at Gartner’s Jack & Jill or Cenex in Kenmare, has the same chance of winning the big ticket as someone who may have purchased a ticket at 7-11 in downtown Los Angeles.
In addition, when the Indian reservations began building casinos, it enticed the state into seeking a game-of-chance source, according to Froseth.
The North Dakota Lottery conducts five, multi-state games: Powerball, Mega Millions, Hot Lotto, Wild Card 2 and 2 by 2.
Twenty-three cents of every dollar lottery ticket sold is transferred to the state’s general fund.Since 2004, the lottery has transferred more than $56 million.
“With continuing success and growth in the North Dakota Lottery, the lottery has recently updated all of its 400 lottery retailer locations with new equipment,” said Ryan Koppy, the sales and marketing manager for the North Dakota Lottery. “This equipment includes new terminals, self-service ticket checkers, marketing LCD monitors and large, brightly lit jackpot alert signs.”
In addition, Koppy said North Dakota retailers, in 2013, totaled $1.3 million in commissions and $46,000 in bonuses.
Koppy said North Dakota this past year had two, $1 million Powerball winners, a winner from Wahpeton in March and one from West Fargo in September.
Those winners may remain anonymous since North Dakota is one of only six states in which winners may choose to stay unknown... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!