NC Lottery now offering no-scratch 'digital instants' on computer, mobile devices

NC Lottery now offering no-scratch 'digital instants' on computer, mobile devices
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The NC Education Lottery launched a new set of digital games Wednesday, offering players the chance to win instantly without having to scratch off a ticket.

The lottery is promoting eight versions of the "digital instants" games.

The games require users to create an account or sign in through the lottery's website and provide identifying information, such as name, phone number, birth date and last four digits of your Social Security number. Then users must deposit money into their account.

The games play, in part, like slot machines, with a minimum ticket play of 50 cents and the option for users to play more than one "play" on each ticket. The games feature cartoon-like characters or a video-game aesthetic. Among the games are "Fortunes of Cleopatra," "Magic Winnings" and "Frost & Flame."

The top prizes for some games are $150,000.

"It's a whole new way to win," the NC Education Lottery website says.

The North Carolina Lottery Commission approved the sale of digital instants in August, saying the games were important to the lottery's continued growth.

"This is necessary," executive director Mark Michalko said at the time. "We need to do this."

The lottery reported record revenue of $4.3 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That was up about 13% from the previous fiscal year, which was also a record. Scratch-off games (or instant games) are the top seller for the lottery, accounting for $2.98 billion in sales and more than 68% of total revenue.

In August, Michalko dismissed complaints from retailers, concerned that more online offerings may cut into their sales. A presentation offered to the commission showed that retail sales in states that offer digital instants had outpaced sales in states without the offerings.

According to projections by the commission, in five years digital instants could generate more than $416 million in revenue.

In August, the commission said it would cap the amount players can wager in a day ($505), a week ($2,000) and a month ($4,000) digitally.