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Free gas suggested as prize

California Briefing / SACRAMENTO

July 09, 2008|Patrick McGreevy

A state lawmaker has come up with a way to boost sales of lottery tickets in California: offer free gas as a prize.

With gas prices nearing $5 per gallon, state Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter) asked the director of the California Lottery in a letter Tuesday to look into following the lead of Florida and four other states that have offered gasoline prizes in addition to cash.

"As we look for ways to think 'outside the box' to make the lottery attractive to new players . . . it seems to me that this is one idea that should be given serious and prompt consideration," Florez wrote, adding that lottery players would find an offer of gas "a tantalizing prospect in today's energy market."

In Florida, where 90% of lottery players recently named free gas as the top non-cash prize they would like to see, gas will be offered as a prize starting Wednesday. In each weekly drawing there, one person will win $2,600 in gas cards each year for life, and 50 players will win gas for a year, said Florez, chairman of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, which oversees the California Lottery.

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