The New York State Lottery is one of the nation’s oldest and largest lotteries, established in 1967 as a subsidiary of New York State Gaming Commission in Schenectady and opened for business. Established to raise money for public education while giving players a chance to win big, it also supports several charitable causes and gives children opportunities for learning. Regulated by New York State Gaming Commission and taxed according to state law.
The Lottery faces direct competition from other gambling games such as off-track betting, casinos in neighboring states and unregulated online gambling sites. Competing for consumer incomes can be challenging and spending vast sums on promotion is required in order to remain relevant in this competitive environment. Furthermore, its games vie with movies, sports events, concerts and other forms of amusement for entertainment dollars spent by individuals.
In 1978, the Lottery launched its flagship game Lotto: a twice weekly pick six lottery. Initially popular during the 1980s when large jackpots garnered considerable media coverage; by contrast, New York jackpots became less newsworthy with each passing decade and Lotto sales began declining steadily as a result. To combat this decline, new games and increased promotional spending were introduced as ways of keeping Lotto sales at their previous levels.
Advertising campaigns were changed from depicting fantasies of winners to portrayals of modest winners, emphasizing Lottery contributions to state education. While ads did not increase Lotto sales directly, they did create an atmosphere of familiarity among former players and encouraged some lapsed ones to return. When DDB lost out to Grey Worldwide for review of its Lottery account in 1998, however they still advertised modest Lottery goals without feeling defeated.
Yolanda Vega first made her television advertisement debut for the New York State Lottery in early 2000s; she soon became a beloved face on television advertisements featuring their slogan of “All You Need is a Dollar and a Dream,” becoming an instant fan favorite with viewers. Promotional contests featuring Yolanda were held, along with giveaways of bobblehead figures featuring Yolanda as customer giveaways.
The Lottery also runs an anonymous winner program called “Secret Millionaire”, and claims it to be one of the most effective schemes nationwide. The Secret Millionaire allows winners to remain anonymous if desired; however, they must pay taxes on their prizes, undergo a background check, and complete all paperwork related to receiving the funds. Sign a statement declaring they have no criminal records, are not public officials and are not employed by the Lottery office if asked. Otherwise their names will be released; at least 24 winners have already come through this process, according to lottery estimates. New York Lottery winners have the option to keep their identities confidential in New York state; those opting to go public must agree to pay higher tax rates. Jaffe has successfully helped bring over a dozen lottery winners through the anonymous winner process so far, and will continue fighting for all Lottery winners’ right to privacy in New York State.