D.C. Lottery Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Dorothy Rowley | 8/15/2012, 12:10 p.m.

Officials Insist Games are about 'Having Fun'

Regina Mosley has known for years, that all it would cost to change her life forever was just one dollar. With that in mind, the diminutive grandmother recently made her usual trek to the neighborhood convenience store, where on a hunch, she decided to "splurge a little" and play the D.C. Lottery's hot game, DC-5.

The Southeast resident, like several other players decided on "6-6-6-6-6," which she admits to playing regularly - and ended up winning $25,000 on July 30.

"I was so surprised to win. It was exciting," Mosley exclaimed while attending the lottery's 30th anniversary celebration last week at the courtyard in L'Enfant Plaza. "I have paid off all my bills. I'm not going anywhere special, but I will have plenty left over to buy school clothes for my grandchildren."

Mosley, 71, said she intends to keep playing the games. "In fact, I believe 6-6-6 is coming back and my chances for winning again look pretty good."

Another $25,000 triples winner, Jimmy Smith, was also at the celebration that attracted a large lunchtime crowd. Smith, 50, who has been playing the DC-3 Triples for two years, said he was still on a cloud after being informed by a friend that his three sixes had won. He also said his jackpot was promptly deposited in the bank.

"Over those two years, I've lost more than I've won - until now," Smith said with a hearty chuckle. He added however, that he has always included a six in his playing combinations.

"After all, God created heaven and the earth in six days," he said, with a knowing wink.

Buddy Roogow, D.C. Lottery executive director who helped pass out free ice-cream, cake, and instant cash giveaways ranging from $10 to $50 during the festive August 8 occasion, insisted that the key to playing was to have fun.

"The lottery is all about fun and entertainment," said Roogow, 63, who's headed the lottery since 2009. "We're not trying to entice anyone to play - rather we're here to sell a product. That's our mission and we want to do it with fairness and integrity."

Since its launch in 1982, the lottery has shelled out $2.8 billion in prizes. The agency has also started to use technology-driven capabilities to "step up its game," by implementing a new state-of-the-art gaming system to generate more revenue.

"Even if you don't win as a player, your money is going toward various services and reducing your taxes," Roogow said.

"When you look at society, people are increasingly engaging in the world around them on their mobile devices," Roogow said.

Lottery Communications Director Athena Hernandez said 50 percent or more of what the agency collects goes to players in prizes.

"So far we've generated more than $1.7 billion for D.C.'s general fund which supports education, social services and road construction," said Hernandez, 44.

As for dispelling myths aligned with the lottery, she said contrary to what many believe, the games are not rigged and that winning is strictly by chance.

"That's one of the reasons for our celebration, as we encourage people to play responsibly - because it's about having fun and a chance to win some money," Hernandez said. "We try to produce different products and as our [anniversary] gift to the city, we just introduced D.C.'s own jackpot game. It's an online game that's bought at store terminals and costs $2, $5 or $10 per ticket."

Meanwhile, lottery officials are still grappling with a federal investigation surrounding a contract that has been ongoing since 2008.

In that probe, investigators have reportedly been trying to determine if the District awarded the majority of a multimillion-dollar contract to a firm controlled by Intralot, a Greek corporation that provides worldwide gaming machine monitoring.