Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Raising the Jackpot Stakes
But now they're going to have to shell out more, or hope their carefully chosen numbers will help them win big.
The ticket now starts at HK$5 ($0.64), but come November 9 it'll be doubled to HK$10.
However, with bigger stakes come bigger prizes -- as the first prize can go up from HK$5 million ($644,529) to HK$8 million.
"Prizes for Mark Six have not been increased for eight years and that's seen reduced interest and turnover on draws with no jackpots," explained a Hong Kong Jockey Club spokesman. "If nothing is done, it will lead to even smaller prizes, creating a vicious cycle. Eventually the lottery will become unsustainable and that will adversely impact tax and community resources [which it contributes to]."
While there might be fewer tickets sold, the turnover should improve because of the higher jackpots, he reasoned.
However, Joe Tang Yiu-cho, a supervisor at the Caritas Addicted Gamblers Counselling Centre worries that with higher jackpots, punters may shell out even more for tickets hoping to win.
"Paying HK$5 for HK$10 doesn't make much difference... people will pour more money in without really noticing," he said.
He is concerned that since it takes a shorter time for the jackpot to grow, people will quickly feed into the frenzy and buy more lottery tickets.
With prices for apartments here climbing higher and higher, you'd need more than HK$5 million these days to get a decent place. So perhaps it does make sense to raise the jackpot.
But then again I'm with the conservative camp -- if I buy a lottery ticket that will double in price, that will significantly decrease my chances of winning... anything.
Perhaps I should get into the game now before November 9.