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Lottery Still Has Game
After years of pushing a broom, Sam Zbikowski finally hit the big
leagues when, at 18, he got behind the counter of his father’s party
store in rural Kent County.
The drinking age was 18, "All in the Family" must-see TV and Two J’s
Beverage and Party Shoppe the place to bet 50 cents on a $1 million
jackpot. "When the lottery started, it was so new and different, people
were saying ‘what’s this?’ " Zbikowski said of the November day in 1972
when Michigan became only the seventh state with a lottery.
Thirty-two years later, Zbikowski still is behind the counter, though
his store is definitely no longer in "rural" Kent County. "I’ve watched
the changes out my window," he said. "It’s a different world today." So,
too for the 50-cent, green-and-white ticket pulled out of a book.
Customers today can play eight Michigan Lottery games, dozens of
scratch-off tickets and an electronic numbers game called Club Keno.
Together, the games generated nearly $2 billion in sales for 2004, a
For merchants and customers, the impressive numbers don’t tell the
whole story. "The first lottery, when it came out, that was the best,"
said Andy Purgailis, a 15-year clerk at Two J’s. "There’s too many games
now. The older people won’t play it; they don’t understand it."
Mark Brown of Rockford is a regular player — has been for 12 years.
He, too, thinks the games became too complicated. "They have so many
numbers, it’s impossible to win," said Brown, 62. "If they paid
something out, that’d be one thing, but now it’s chicken feed."
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2004 Online Casino News Archive