DAILY NEWS photo by Susan Lockhart
Chief Washakie FFA members who were part of this summer’s Range Judging Team were honored during Thursday’s first day of school assembly. The team took first place at the WyRED state range contest; this is the fourth year in a row the team has taken top honors. From left are FFA members Buck Butterfield, Cody Baumstarck, FFA Advisor Grace Godfrey, and WHS graduates who were members of the team, Danae McGarvin, Annie Butterfield and Augi Richards.
More lotto game a possibility
By James Chilton
Wyoming Tribune Eagle
CHEYENNE – In just two days, Wyomingites will be able to begin
buying Powerball and Mega Millions lottery tickets at hundreds of
locations across the state.
And while lottery officials have been spending most of their time preparing for Sunday’s launch, they’ve also begun exploring the possibility of adding other games for customers to choose from.
In May, the lottery’s board of directors authorized CEO Jon Clontz to begin looking into additional games, such as the “Pick 3” or “Cash 5,” both of which are popular in Colorado.
Clontz said he has already conducted a handful of focus groups to gauge the public’s interest in such games. And once Powerball and Mega Millions are up and running here, he plans to resume those focus groups.
“When I feel there’s enough data, I’m going to go to the board with that data, and I’ll make a recommendation to the board for maybe one, maybe two, maybe three new draw games,” Clontz said. “Tentatively, we have decided that, based on the timing of the research and the way the lottery is rolling out, it would be great if we could put a couple games into the market in the springtime.”
But Clontz was quick to note that, regardless of his findings, any additional games would have to be approved by the lottery board before they start showing up alongside the two multi-state lotteries. And even if new games were approved, they would still require additional marketing and planning for a launch date.
“It takes a lot of work to launch a new game,” Clontz said. “We’ve got to understand the cost of launching the product and how many tickets we have to sell to cover the cost of production and the prizes – we want to put the games out there that people are going to enjoy and will create winners, but will also meet revenue targets.”
Some options, such as scratch tickets, remain definitively off the table, at least for now. That’s because the legislation that allowed for the creation of the Wyoming Lottery specifically prohibits “instant gratification” games, which includes scratch tickets.
“Anything that’s not a draw game cannot be directed by the board,” Clontz said. “They’re definitively draw games, and there’s no gray area.”
That said, there’s still substantial interest in allowing for scratch tickets and other similar games. Clontz said he is asked about them at least six times a week. But he said it would require the Legislature deciding to allow for such games.
“The politicians the people of Wyoming elected made these decisions,” he said. “People can call their legislators, but as a lottery, we cannot lobby.”
Rep. Dave Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, was the key sponsor of the lottery bill in the Wyoming House of Representatives. He said that while many legislators were willing to support the lottery, quite a few were adamant about prohibiting instant gratification games.
For that reason, he said it’s unlikely that a new law allowing for scratch tickets would pass muster in the present Legislature.
“My thought at least is in the upcoming session it’s going to be really hard to do, and after that it’s a budget session that’s going to require a two-thirds vote (for bills to be introduced),” Zwonitzer said. “We’ll just have to see what the composition and the makeup of the upcoming Legislature is.”
Zwonitzer added that while he and several other Cheyenne-area legislators are generally in favor of allowing for scratch tickets, he’s not in any hurry to push for them.
That sentiment is shared by Sen. Fred Emerich, R-Cheyenne, who said he’d like to give the lottery a chance to get established before considering any additions.
“I think we’re going to play this game – pardon the pun – as it’s legislated right now,” Emerich said. “Let them run it for a period of time, a year or two years, and see what comes up.”
In the meantime, both Powerball and Mega Millions tickets will go on sale at noon Sunday. Powerball drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday, with Mega Millions drawings on Tuesday and Friday.
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Russian student worker
missing at Grand Teton
MOOSE (AP) — Authorities searched Thursday for a Russian college
student reported missing after failing to turn up at his summer
job in Grand Teton National Park.
Aleksandr Sagiev, 23, was expected back at his job in the deli of the grocery store at Dornan’s resort on Monday. He was last seen using his cellphone at the bar of the resort’s pizza restaurant the day before, park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said.
“It’s concerning because he’s a very responsible person,” Skaggs said.
Searchers have few clues to go on.
Sagiev has spent a lot of time walking and hiking in the park since arriving in June, and rangers are talking to his friends to find out what his routes and habits were, Skaggs said.
Co-worker Nicole Nicklas said Sagiev recently talked about planning a day trip to nearby Yellowstone National Park.
On Wednesday, searchers used dogs and boats along the Snake River near the resort but found no trace of Sagiev. On Thursday, searchers said Sagiev may have been hiking Taggart, Bradley or Delta lakes.
Rangers were methodically searching the area surrounding the privately owned resort, which includes cabins, shops and a gas station.
Dornan’s is across the river from the park’s headquarters and serves both visitors and residents. Many of its seasonal workers come from Eastern Europe.
It is unclear where in Russia Sagiev is from. His Facebook page says he’s studying at the Higher School of Economics, which has its main campus in Moscow.
Sagiev is 5-foot-7, has black hair and brown eyes and weighs about 155 pounds. He was last seen wearing tan shorts and a camouflage shirt.
Continued in today's issue of the DAILY NEWS. Subscribe here
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