Ticket sales for the annual provincial STARS lottery are further behind then this time last year, and officials are very concerned.
Last year they had to push hard to cross the sell-out finish line. It would have been the first time in more than two decades that the lottery didn’t sell out but Albertans, though faced with tough economic times, came through in the end. This year there’s real worry a sell-out for the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) may not happen at all.
STARS president and CEO Andrea Robertson said Tuesday that they have only sold 64 per cent of the 2017 lottery tickets, which is behind this time last year. Ticket sales for the main draw end on March 22.
“That would tell us that we’re going to be in the hole significantly and unlikely to sell out. … We are significantly concerned.” Two years ago at the same time the lottery was at the 88 per cent mark, she said.
They have made more lower priced tickets available, and are encouraging purchasers to get in on the early bird draw (deadline is March 1), and pushing for a sell-out sooner than usual, she said.
“We’re trying every little hook we can as many not-for-profits are these days … but at the end of the day people only have so much disposable income.”
STARS has been flying for over 30 years. The lottery is in its 24th year. “This one of the most successful lotteries in the country,” Robertson said, adding some STARS events have done very well but the lottery is lagging, she said.
The organization is asking its loyal supporters to consider supporting the lottery by purchasing one of the lower-priced $25 tickets this year.
Last year, Red Deer was the most frequently visited centre by STARS, which made 80 flights to the city. STARS flies an average of five flights a day.
A third of the STARS total budget comes from the lottery, which netted $11.5 million last year, enough to run an entire base for a year. There are three bases in Alberta — Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie.
This year’s lottery offers 3,145 prizes valued at over $4.9 million. This includes four dream homes — one in Red Deer at 22 Lindman Avenue, and the others in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge.
The loyalty draw in January saw two Central Albertans in the top five winners. Rick Sparrow of Eckville won $10,000 cash and Verna Moore of Rocky Mountain House won $5,000 cash.
The two early bird prizes are a 2017 Ram 2500 Crew Cab 4×4 plus a 2017 Arctic Fox 28F Travel Trailer, worth $127,983, and $50,000 cash. There’s also a 50/50 draw with a minimum payout of $620,000.
For more information about purchasing tickets, go online to starslotteryalberta.ca