New lottery game suspended after low tickets sales

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new multi-state lottery game aimed at doling out more $1 million prizes is being suspended after just two months because of lower-than-expected ticket sales, officials announced Monday.

The Monopoly Millionaires' Club game was suspended indefinitely after state lottery officials decided ticket sales were below industry expectations, said Terry Rich, president of the North American Lottery Group and CEO of the Iowa Lottery. The game's future was also put into question after the Texas Lottery announced on Thursday that it was suspending ticket sales.

"We have a small dedicated group of players who really enjoy the game," Rich said. "The dilemma is that's a small dedicated group. It just didn't meet the sales expectations."

Rich did not elaborate on how much money the $5 ticket game has been bringing in since its October launch in 23 states. He also did not release information about initial expectations for ticket sales.

Rebecca Hargrove, chairwoman of Monopoly Millionaires' Club and president and CEO of the Tennessee Lottery, said officials want to learn from the game, which was aimed at players who have asked for prize money to be split between more people.

"Every project gives you the chance to experience and grow," she said in a statement. "As with any other consumer good, our goal is always to provide a game that players want."

Monopoly Millionaires' Club was advertised as a move away from the large jackpots that players have come to expect through Powerball and Mega Millions, two other multi-state games. The Monopoly Millionaires' Club game capped its top prize at $25 million, and it was designed for players to win more $1 million prizes.

"Both Powerball and Mega Millions actually had predecessors that evolved," Rich said. "So we'll take a look at this and figure out what worked and what didn't and look to help the states who depend on our revenue as part of their budgets."

Tickets will be suspended shortly before the game's last weekly drawing on Dec. 26.

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