STARS waiting to see affect of economy on lottery ticket sales

Luxury living in Sylvan Lake is just a ticket away with the 2016 STARS Lottery.

Luxury living in Sylvan Lake is just a ticket away with the 2016 STARS Lottery.

Four furnished grand prize homes, including one in Sylvan Lake worth over $945,000, will be given away in the annual lottery that raises money for the non-profit air ambulance service.

A total of 3,200 prizes valued at more than $5.6 million will be awarded and the winner of a Lucky STARS 50/50 draw will walk away with up to $1.55 million.

Jeffery Quick, chief financial officer and executive vice president of STARS Foundation, said 34 per cent of the main lottery tickets have been sold and the 50/50 draw is already 50 per cent sold.

It’s the second year STARS has held a 50/50 draw.

Both tickets were available to prior ticket buyers earlier this month and they have also been available online. As of Thursday, tickets could be purchased at the grand prize homes.

“We always sell out. We’ve sold out for 22 years. We expect to sell out again this year. It’s all due to the support of Albertans,” said Quick on Thursday at the grand opening of the Sylvan Lake grand prize home to the public.

He said the last ticket is usually sold by early to mid March for the April 14 draw. The 50/50 draw is made on April 11.

Only 1,132,950 main lottery tickets are printed and 665,000 of the 50/50 tickets. Lottery tickets are $25 each, three for $60, six for $100, and 18 for $250. Lucky STARS 50/50 tickets are $10 each, five for $25 and 15 for $50.

He said so far ticket sales are a little slower than last year, but ahead of 2014 lottery sales.

STARS is waiting to see if the current economic climate impacts ticket sales.

He said oil and gas industry has always been a STARS supporter due to the nature of their work in remote areas. Support has dropped a little recently, but the main companies are sticking with STARS.

“We’re actually very honoured that as they prioritize things in this economy they still prioritize STARS,” Quick said.

The lottery raises $11 million for the air ambulance service that has bases in Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie.

In 2014-15, STARS flew 1,839 missions that included 68 missions to Red Deer, 36 to Rocky Mountain House, 19 to Olds, 18 to Stettler, 17 to Ponoka, six to Sylvan Lake, and others throughout Central Alberta.

Carla Schneider, of Bentley, called STARS a life-saving organization.

She was flown by STARS to Edmonton after a horrific vehicle collision in 2004. The vehicle she was driving was t-boned at an intersection and rolled two and a half times before landing upside down. It took emergency workers over an hour and a half to cut her free from the wreckage.

She suffered a brain injury and damage to her neck, back and shoulders, lost the use of her right eye, and inhaled two and a half litres of automotive paint.

Schneider said she would not be here today if STARS did not exist.

“Lottery tickets are $25. How often can you say your $25 dollars saved a life? Your donations and support of STARS really does save lives,” said Schneider choking back tears.

“Thank you for the second chance. Appreciate it.”

The Sylvan Lake grand prize house, built by Falcon Homes, is located at 4293 Ryders Ridge Blvd. and is now open Saturday to Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m.

Other grand prize homes are located in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge.

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