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March 28, 2004 - 1 AM - Update to my March 24th posting - When I wrote the 3/24 editorial, I had been told by the TLC that they owned a mark on the word "megaplier." I have since learned that the TLC filed for a mark on Oct 17, 2003 but the anonymous player bought "megaplier.com" on Oct 16, 2003. The USPTO is investigating this now.

It is my educated guess that the purchase of the domain name "megaplier.com" will probably prevent the TLC from receiving a mark on the word "megaplier" since it was in use by lottery players prior to the TLC's filing for the service mark.

What amazes me is that the TLC knew last August 2003 that the game was going to be called Megaplier so when they told me that they had a service mark on it, I just assumed they marked it last August - which would have been prior to the players purchasing megaplier.com. I erred in assuming though - and for assuming anything, I apologize. Also amazing is that the TLC didn't buy the domain name themselves.

Even though I haven't found out who actually owns megaplier.com yet - fellow web site owners won't tell me - I'd be willing to bet money that the TLC will be able to find him and he will probably graciously give the domain name to the TLC if the TLC even wants it. I say this because one web owner told me he knew who owned it. Also several web sites that have links to "megaplier.com" seem to have some common denominators indicating they know each other - or maybe it's just a coincidence.

A brief review of the common denominators or coincidences include ... (1) I found multiple sites, some with links to megaplier.com, that were all owned by privacyprotect then privacyprotect is supposedly owned by ebusinessware (but ebusinessware is NOT listed as a business in the DFW/Bedford area and the ebusinessware in New York is not the company in question) and all phone numbers and email addresses are CI Host's numbers. For this many web sites to all use the same host is really a coincidence too, in my opinion. By the way, CI Host is the company that has the poor BBB rating that I told you about in my last message.

Anyway to continue with the coincidences ... (2) the web sites are copyrighted and the copyrights are related; (3) the sites provide links to niles-int which is THE site that sells $2 lottery tickets, via the internet, for the Mega Millions game, Powerball game, the New York, and Florida lotteries. I would imagine this is how these web sites make their money. (4) e-mail headers from the various sites have a common factor and (5) an advertisers, or what appeared to be an advertiser, domain name was also owned by privacyprotect/ebusinessware/cihost too. Now this is really a coincidence. (6) Certificates also have related names associated to them. Oh well, what can I say?

It is so hard for me to imagine a group of players that would have the foresight to buy the domain name megaplier.com, just to place a petition on, when at the time they purchased the domain, they couldn't have known if all the lotteries were going to offer Megaplier come December when Texas began participating in the game. Not only that, but these players copyrighted their 3 page site - or so it says. Boy, these players were really on top of it. They get an A+ from me.

However, megaplier.com did NOT put links on their site to the other sites that so generously linked to megaplier.com. To be so smart, they sure were inconsiderate in this area! :)) But they DID link to all participating Mega Millions states. Now you go figure that one out.

At any rate, because of all the new developments in the past several days and everthing that I've learned, I purchased the domain name "megaplier.org." I intend to expand my operation to include extensive coverage on the Mega Millions game, the Megaplier game, lottery news in general and WHEN and IF it ever becomes legal to sell lottery tickets via the net, I may consider selling tickets - but selling tickets is tentative thinking on my part - I'm not really sure that I want to be involved in this aspect of the lottery.

I was going to post a chart showing the "coincidences" but I was asked not to do this at this time. So I will abide by the requestor's request for now. More later.

March 24, 2004 - This is going to be a quick message mostly addressed to those of you who have contacted me regarding the TLC's legal attempts to take your domain names away from you claiming trademark infringement. There is a new web site out there called megaplier.com - the interesting thing about this site is that supposedly, its owned by a group of players - but - the Texas Lottery owns the trademark on the name.

megaplier.com's purpose of existance is to get players to sign a petition - the petition is a call for the other Mega Millions states to add the Megaplier to their state lottery. If you sign, supposedly, megaplier.com is then forwarding players signatures to the directors of the Mega Millions lotteries.

Now what's interesting about this is that the domain name was created on Oct 16, 2003 (before Texas began participating in MM) and the web site owner is choosing to remain anonymous. If you go to "whois," you'll find that the domain name, megaplier.com, is owned by "privacyprotect" then "privacyprotect" is owned by "ebusinessware." (Bedford, Texas) Then the contact for "ebusinessware" routes you to the actual web host which goes to CI Host. After a quick check at the Better Business Bureau, CI Host has 178 complaints filed against them and BBB reccommends that consumers stay away from them.

Also of interest is that links to "megaplier.com" can be found on a site that also has links so players can buy lottery products ONLINE for $2 per ticket. $1 for the lottery ticket and $1 for their service of purchasing the ticket. Which as I understand is either illegal or if the ticket were to be a winner, a lottery wouldn't pay on IF they knew the player paid $2 for the ticket. I don't think these folks are licensed retailers, if you know what I mean!

Bottom line - WOW - isn't it something how the Texas Lottery looks the other way when its something they want. These "players" (if they are "really" players) have certainly infringed on a trademark name and one has to wonder, why didn't the TLC buy that domain name in the first place and just how long is the TLC going to let this one slide by?

In conclusion, ask yourself why anyone fighting for a cause that they believe in would choose to be "anonymous?"

I think the DA has his work cut out for him.

March 10, 2004 - I've finally posted some of your comments. Click here.

Editorial - March 8, 2004 - Lots of subjects covered today - a long editorial. Subjects range from how Mega Millions is doing, how Lotto Texas is doing, are sales up and if so, WHY. Then there are 3 intriguing events of late - internet lottery sales, play responsibly week and finally, an award the TLC received - was it deserved? (I've provided links just in case you want to skip the financial bit - you can also just scroll down to read - all subjects are in this one editorial.)

Ya'll have been asking me to post more information about sales and how the games are doing since they added the Mega Millions game. Here is an overall summary.

Mega Million - as of 3/4/04 - I'm ending here because it was the end of a roll.

There have been 26 Mega Millions drawings in Texas. Three of those draws were won - Ohio (2) and Virginia (1).

Total sales for all 26 Mega Millions drawings: $74,745,225. Average draw sales for “huge” jackpots - $2.8 million - and this is really, really bad sales for Texas.

From Total Mega Million Sales (First 26 draws)
38% went to schools = $28,403,185
5% went to retailers = $3,737,261
7% went to the TLC = $5,232,166
THEN
31.69% went to out of state "jackpot" winners = $23,686,762
18.31% went to the low tier winners = $13,685,851

NOW let's add an important twist ...
Lotto Texas sales, when comparing the first 88 draws under 5/44 versus the last 88 draws under 6/54, were down by $78.4 million. When we reach a comparison of the first and last 92 draws, which will be next week, the $78.4 million loss will increase to an est $128 million loss. Even if Mega Millions and Lotto Texas sales are combined, they won't cover the upcoming $128 million loss especially when they consider the monies sent out of state.

Texas did add a new game - Megaplier - and the states profits from Megaplier is currently at $11.8 million - but now we have to deduct the losses in Cash 5 and Texas 2 Step ... sooooo ... what can I say? Thank goodness scratch ticket and Pick3 sales are up.

So you read that sales were UP?

The TLC, when reporting sales, compares the same number of weeks for each fiscal year, then concludes and reports - to us and the legislative body - that sales are "up" and things are great.

But here's the real scoop. The Feb 28th Trends Report compares the first 26 weeks of fiscal 03 to the first 26 weeks of fiscal 04 and it shows sales were up by a tiny 5.62%. BUT ... sales “should” have been be up - after all, they did add two new games compared to what they had last year. The catch 22 is WHY were sales "really" up - what did the TLC do to increase sales?

Obviously, sales were up because they did add two new games but another major factor was because Pick3 sales were up by 7.42% and it brings in as much as Lotto Texas does per week. In fact, at the rate things are going now, it won't be long before Pick3 sales surpasses Lotto sales. Also scratch ticket sales were up. But all other games were down and Lotto Texas WAS the states main money maker.

What’s most important is that the increase is NOT what it should have been under the circumstances, it's not what they projected and banked on ... and this is a clear indication that something is seriously wrong. And they had better address this issue.

But they don’t discuss these factors in their commission meetings - they just happily say that "sales compared to this same time last year are up." In fact, they no longer quote sales figures per game, out loud, so everyone present will know. They simply give each commissioner a piece of paper and refer to it without disclosing the actual financial contents.

The TLC "thought" players would spend $30+ million "per draw" for jackpots in “triple digits” - in spite of - the high odds but players haven't done this. Director Greer was quoted as saying, “Jackpots will be too tempting to pass up,” and they still are saying that people prefer big jackpots and that's when they come into the game citing the $230 million jackpot as an example. Well, if they think they did good by selling 10 million tickets for that one drawing compared to selling 50 million tickets for one $85 million jackpot - gee - what can I say to this kind of thinking?

Bottom line, I think we could safely say that we’ve surprised them by not being as stupid and foolish with our money as they hoped we’d be. We prefer games with reasonable odds - like Pick3 - as evidenced by its income.

What I find most intriguing of late are three things -
One - lotteries are trying to get sales up by finding a way to sell tickets via the internet and they want to allow people to play using credit cards. Now this is REAL desperation but Georgia is attempting this right now and if they get it through, the other states will follow.

I pray this never passes because it will only hurt the less fortunate folks, the credit card companies and ultimately the entire tax paying public to cover the losses encountered by credit card companies.

The second thing I find intriguing is ...
The TLC issued a press release today regarding this being "Play Responsibly Week." To me, they're "pretending" to encourage folks to realize these are "just games" so only spend what you can afford. I feel this is a bunch of crap.

If they want the people to "play responsibly," then why do they give us games we can't win just to entice heavy spending "per draw" by dangling huge jackpots for those who dream of winning "triple digits" sums? The lottery KNOWS only a few will win anything worthwhile. Lotteries have the ability to reward more than a handful of people who play their games but they choose to financially break the majority so the government can come out ahead at the expense of the People. This is a scam.

Lotteries "really" KNOW the average sale per player - and that average increases each time the pot rolls and gets larger. This means they KNOW sales are coming from the same folks draw after draw with few new players coming into the games.

They also KNOW the areas where the tickets are sold so they could easily see that it's the less affluent neighborhoods. Instead, they give our legislators reports (surveys) that portray that the majority of the players earn over $50,000 per year. As if anyone is going to tell a stranger on the phone that they spend $1000 per month playing the games and only earn $20,000 per year. Yeah, right!

But, many of our legislators pretend to fall for this just because they want/need the MONEY. They justify things and their conscious based on these ridiculous surveys/reports that they require to be done every two years. These "surveys" are a complete waste of taxpayer money since "sales by area" tells the REAL picture for the most part.

I must also clarify that some legislators HATE the lottery because they KNOW the true impact it has on the less fortunate folks. But they are out numbered by the greedy legislators who vote to allow the Texas Lottery to give us games we can't win just to entice sales claiming that each person should know how much they can spend and are responsible for living within their own means.

Finally, the 3rd thing I find intriguing (if this is really the proper word to use in this case) is ...

Recently the TLC issued a press release stating that they were presented with an award for putting “smart ideas" to work for the "successful development" of the Megaplier game feature. The problem with this is that the TLC plagiarized Powerball on the “multiplier” idea which was an excellent revenue enhancing idea that POWERBALL came up with FIRST for use in "online" games. Texas did not originate this idea but it was obviously portrayed that they did.

Secondly, everyone who “submitted an idea” received an “award.” In essence, the TLC PAID to enter and/or go to “Smart Ideas” and that money BOUGHT them this “award.”

In the press release, Director Greer was quoted as saying, “It is a special honor to be recognized by one’s peers in such a unique industry.” Do you have any idea what 26 other states think about the Texas Lottery over this one? Frankly, I'm embarrassed.

The magazine’s (PGRI Magazine) publisher/owner who sponsored this event claims he didn’t know that Powerball offered a “PowerPlay” - and used the phrase “Multiplier.” He claims he thought it was “an original lottery revenue generator created by Texas.” He also asked that I not mention him or his magazine in my "story."

Attention Mr. Burk: Awarding "awards" to billion dollar industries is NEWS - the TLC sent out a press release about receiving the award and they were obviously VERY pleased with their "successful development" and the "recognition" received.

Texas took the name “Mega Millions” and Powerball’s “multiplier” phrase and came up with the name “Megaplier” then claimed it was an original revenue enhancing idea. Texas joined Mega Millions but is pushing the Mega Millions Group to add “all” of Powerballs features to their game. Is there no integrity in the lottery industry? What would Coke do if someone stole their recipe then claimed they "successfully developed" it?

More later.

Feb 21, 2004 - There was one winner in last night's $230 million Mega Millions drawing. The winning ticket was purchased at Red Apple, located at 152 Fairfax Pike in Stephens City, Virginia and the retailer will receive a $25,000 bonus for selling the ticket. I will post all the financial data on Monday. Read story, "$230 Million - WOW - That's A Lot of Dough - story updated 2/23/04, 2:30 pm."

The Texas Lottery began sending hourly sales updates yesterday that began at 3 pm. They said, "3 pm Sales Alert" and it told what sales were between 2:00 PM - 2:59 PM but the sales figures included Megaplier sales but Megaplier sales have nothing to do with contributing to the MM jackpot. Also, they were just tallying the sales for the day.

At any rate, I received releases at 4 pm, 5 pm, 6 pm but then I didn't received another one until 9 pm. The 9 p.m. release covered the time frames between 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.- 9 p.m. but it failed to cover the time frame of 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The best that I can figure based on these sales figures, I guesstimate that Texas only sold between 9.5 - 10 million Mega Millions tickets and 2 million Megaplier tickets for the $230 million jackpot. Based on the fact that they've sold as many as 51 million tickets for one drawing prior to giving us payouts and odds that Texans didn't want, I have to conclude that Mega Millions has not and will not be accepted by players. Also, after players see a couple of these draws and lose their money, they will back off in their spending.

For those of you who are asking or saying, "But the TLC says sales are up 23% since they started Mega Millions," YES, sales are up BUT from WHAT? And, you must remember, they added TWO new games so it stands to reason that "sales are up." But I can assure you, sales are NOT what they banked on or projected.

Next week I'll post some "in depth" sales figures for you so you can see this for yourself.

Also, I want to tell you that the comments for the District Attorney are coming in well. However, the bad news is that if you submitted your letter in the first couple of days that the form was first posted, I probably lost your comment. My husband inadvertently put a filter on my incoming mail and directed it to the "trash" instead of my "in" box. I thought something was strange but it wasn't until 3 days later that I caught it. So, if you submitted the letter for the DA on Feb 9, 10th or 11th, I may not have it. If you haven't submitted the letter calling for an investigation of the TLC, just click here. I only have about 800 letters but we need thousands. Also, many thanks to those of you who have sent emails to your friends about this isssue.

More later.

Feb 20, 2004 - Draw Sales Update 5 PM - I explained earlier that I would update Texas sales for tonights Mega Millions $230 million drawing. As of 5 p.m., they've now sold 5.7 million tickets. It will be interesting to see the end figure but unless they announce it for the public, then it will be Monday before we know. For Lotto Texas, they have now sold 927,851. If you haven't read my 1st posting, then read on. I think you'll find it interesting to say the least!

Feb 20, 2004 - As of 1 pm - Edited 3 pm - An update regarding tonights $215 $222 $230 million Mega Millions drawing. Gawd, that's alot of money! Anyway ...

The nittty gritty - IF there's ONE winner, he/she would receive: IF Cash Option: approx. $136.2 million before taxes; $96.7 million after taxes. IF Annual pay - approx. $8.8 million per year for 26 years before taxes; $6.3 million per year after taxes. If there is NO winner, the next jackpot (Tuesday, 2/24/04) would be an est $290 million.

This means the Mega Millions group has projected that they will sell at least $95 million tickets for tonights draw. WOW - that's a whole bunch of paper! Now, of those 95 million tickets sold, the "coverage" (meaning how many of the 135.1 million combinations will be sold) would be approx 60% total coverage. This is because of the duplicate tickets sold.

ROLL Info: This is the 15th draw in this roll and the MM group will have sold an est 429,991,371 tickets by nights end. Texas is the largest state and thus far, has only sold 39,183,044 tickets in this roll. New York has sold the most - an est 83+ million tickets sold. New York is the 2nd largest state. Both Illinois and New Jersey has sold more tickets this roll than Texas. Washington has sold the least number of tickets. To see sales by state, click here.

To keep you abreast of how Texas is doing, well, that's another story. As of 1 pm today (2/20/04) Texas has only sold 3.8 million tickets. I guesstimate that Texas will probably sell 10 million tickets for tonights draw but half of that money will come from bordering states - not Texans. (I will post Texas sales for tonights drawing again at 5 pm. It will be "sales as of 5 pm." - Update: 5 pm - sales were $5.7 million)

Is this good? Let me answer this question by telling you that ... In March 2001, we had an $85 million jackpot and they sold 50.9 million tickets for that ONE draw; in Nov 2002, we had a $27 million jackpot and draw sales were 8.3 million; in April 2002 we had a $34 million pot and draw sales were $10.4 million tickets. Now if we go back to before they changed the matrix to 6/54, in Oct 98, we had a $70 million jackpot and they sold 35.4 for that draw. The highest draw sales have ever been was on 3/16/94. It was $77 million drawing and draw sales were $51,929,357. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. If you would like to compare Lotto Texas "draw" sales with jackpots amounts, click here.

I think one could easily say, Texans are definitely speaking with their dollars about games with such high odds. To have a $230 million jackpot and to know that by 1 pm on draw day, Texas has only sold 3.8 million tickets - well, this is BAD.

If Texas sells 10 million tickets for this draw, then "roll sales" would total $45.3 million. If there is a winner but the winner is not from Texas, then Texas will send a guaranteed $14.3 million out of state from the $45.3 million in sales. This means the states profit from the $45.3 million would be $22.65 million and players will have received $8.3 million in prizes from the $45.3 million in sales. This does not fuel our economy.

I will close for now by saying that you absolutely won't win if you don't have a ticket - however - if it's your destiny to win, then you only need ONE ticket. Don't "dream" your dollars away - you will still have to pay rent and buy groceries and unfortunately, only a handful of people will "truly" profit from what they spend dreaming about winning this kind of money.

By the way, I think its real interesting to say that, as of 1 pm 5 pm, the TLC has only sold 721,434 927,851 Lotto Texas tickets. This is REALLY bad too!

Feb 19, 2004 - Some interesting news about the upcoming $215 $222 million Mega Millions drawing. First, they are moving the drawing to New York. It will be held in Times Square at ABC's studio at 11 pm EST. Second, they anticipate selling 80 million tickets before the drawing. That's a lot of money! But the bad news is, there are 135.1 million combinations which means they are not covering all the possible combinations so the chances that there will even be a winner is roughly 50/50. This is because of the tremendous number of "duplicate" tickets sold for each drawing.

Should there be a winner, here's some interesting tidbits: If ONE WINNER, he/she would receive: IF Cash Option: approx. $131.3 million before taxes; $93.2 million
after taxes. IF Annual Payout - approx. $8.5 million per year for 26 years before taxes; $6.0 million per year after taxes. (This means it requires an est $128.8 million to invest for 25 years to get a return of $215 $222 million.)

If there is NO winner, the next jackpot (Tuesday, 2/24/04) would be $250,000,000. For that drawing, they would sell approx 100 million tickets and still NOT sell all the combinations - as you can see, this could be a vicious circle. Guess who profits the most? The state, the US government and the lottery vendor (G-Tech in Texas).

For this roll, after Friday's drawing, they will have sold approx 415 million tickets total and out of that, the jackpot winner's share is 131.3 million dollars before taxes - after taxes he'd only see $93.2 million.

Feb 9, 2004 - I've finally posted a form so we can ask the District Attorney of Travis County to investigate the adoption of the new 5/44 Lotto Texas rule. It is my opinion that the rule was adopted illegally and the reason is that the LAW says the TLC has to consider comment before adopting a rule. Since the TLC was busy buying balls and machines and printing promotional pieces before and during the comment period, I don't see any way that the TLC ever INTENDED to consider the voice of the People in this matter. I have been assured that the DA WILL go after any state agency that he believes has broken a law. So we need to file complaints so that he'll investigate this matter. Everybody needs to submit this form - there is POWER in numbers. OK? Just click here.

Continued....click here to read more

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