(Pierre) - The cost to call the Lottery’s 900 phone number for lotto drawing results will soon increase an average of 35 cents per call.
Calls to the Lottery’s 1-900-378-8999 hotline for the latest winning numbers and next jackpots currently cost 37 cents per minute. Starting Wednesday, June 6, the cost will increase to 99 cents for the first minute and 10 cents for each additional minute.
Executive director Norman Lingle said the change was necessary to keep the service available to players. "We didn’t have much choice. The company that provides the service told us that their phone line provider now required 900 lines to charge at least 99 cents in order to maintain the line," he said.
The Lottery contracts with ICN/Champion Communications in Florida to provide the winning numbers hotline. The service is funded solely by calls to the number and the Lottery receives no revenue from the service.
The average call to the winning numbers line lasts two minutes and costs 74 cents. After June 6, the charge for a two minute call will be $1.09. Callers are always informed of the charges at the beginning of the call and can hang up before any charges are incurred.
The hotline logged 24,896 calls during last state fiscal year 2006 (July 1, 2005 - June 30, 2006). Use of the hotline has steadily declined each year from more than 30,000 calls in FY04 and is projected to decline again in FY07.
Winning numbers and jackpot amounts are available for free on the Lottery’s website and from many news media outlets. Lotto tickets can also be checked at any of the 440 lotto retail locations statewide, all of which can also provide the most recent winning numbers.
Even with declining calls and other free options to get winning numbers, Lingle said the Lottery decided to raise the price rather than end the service. "We still have a number of players who call the hotline for results. We wanted to let them choose whether they’d continue to use it," he said.