Ticket sellers take just as big a gamble as buyers

Diane Crocker
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Josh Mitchell, left, buys a ticket for the Forget Me Not Cenotaph Fund with his wife Hazel at the Corner Brook Plaza Wednesday. Dave Higdon, chair of the Forget Me Not Campaign was on hand selling tickets, the draw is happening Friday.

CORNER BROOK  It seems like a win-win situation. Secure an item, sell tickets on it, give the prize to one lucky winner and make some money.

For some local organizations, that’s working just fine as they entice ticket buyers with the likes of all-terrain vehicles, cars and money.

But for the NL West SPCA, things are not going as hoped with the group’s Harley-Davidson draw.

“We’re not near what we had hoped and it’s really sad because we’ve been working really, really hard,” said president Judy Mahoney.

The draw is important to the group as it hopes to use the profit from the venture towards getting its new shelter open.

Mahoney said the SPCA has covered the cost of the $35,000 prize with the $20 tickets, and will make some money on it. But the profit will not be what had been expected had the entire 4,000 available tickets been sold.

With the draw looming on Friday, Mahoney said it looks like the final sales will be less than 3,000 tickets. She said it seems like the SPCA has exhausted its potential buyers.

“There’s ticket fatigue in the city,” said Mahoney. “Just go up to the Plaza and it’s like ticket alley. A lot of tickets on the go.”

Mahoney said cost may also be an issue.

“A lot of people feel that $20 is too much for a ticket,” she said, but added “if the ticket prices were less, you have to print far more tickets.”

With only 4,000 printed, Mahoney said the odds are more in a buyer’s favour. If the winner doesn’t want the prize, Mile 1 Harley-Davidson has guaranteed the NL West SPCA that it will sell the $35,000 motorcycle for the winner.


‘They just don’t sell’

While ticket sales are going slow for the SPCA, the Western Royals hockey team has sold about 70 to 75  per cent of the tickets it has out on a winner’s choice all-terrain vehicle.

“It has some slow periods , but that’s the same for everywhere,” team president Ross Coates said of the ticket sales.

He said the tickets the Royals are selling are priced at $5 each, or three for $10.

“We tried those high-price tickets and they just don’t sell,” he said. “You get a limited amount of people that you’re selling them to.”

While the tickets being sold by the Forget Me Not Campaign are selling for a slightly higher price at $10, the prize is something campaign chair Dave Higdon said everyone wants — money.

Twenty-thousand tickets have been printed on a 50/50 draw that guarantees the winner up to $100,000. And the campaign is also guaranteed to make money for its project to refurbish Remembrance Square.

Higdon couldn’t guess whether the entire 20,000 would be sold, but expected sales to pick up before Friday’s draw.

“They know at the end of the day they’re going to get a huge cash pot, so that makes all the difference,” he said. “And who couldn’t use money?”

Like Coates, Higdon said $20 tickets are really hard to sell unless it’s a huge prize like a house.


‘What a deal’

Unlike the other groups where the money goes to one project area, the Corner Brook Kinsmen Club’s ticket draw impacts the whole community as the club donates and supports other organizations and groups in the city.

This year the club is selling tickets on a 2013 Honda Civic. It’s the first time the club has sold tickets on a car in long time, and it’s printed 25,000 tickets that sell for $5 each.

Ken Dean is a director with the club and he agrees the prize has to be something people want.

“Everybody wants a car and if somebody can get a car for five bucks, what a deal.”

Dean said the club set the price at $5 a ticket based on the market.

“Certainly the population that we have, we wouldn’t be able to do something where we have to sell 100,000 tickets at a dollar each,” said Dean. “So we’re looking at the demographics of the community — it’s a bit smaller — so to get a decent project on the go where we could actually pay for a car and to get some profit back for the community, I think we had to look at what would it expect to sell.”

Dean said the club hopes to sell about half the printed tickets and, with the car being paid for since October, the group now wants to make a profit on sales.

“I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised once the new year comes and we do our reconciliation on everything,” he said. “We should do fairly well and be able to budget for donations for the next couple of years before we have to take on a major project.”

Kinsmen Club president Don Hutchings also noted that the club took a hit on its fundraising through canteen sales at the Pepsi Centre with the loss of senior hockey .

The car will be drawn for on Dec. 31, and after that Dean said the club will meet to review the fundraiser.

“Looking at a project of this magnitude is not something the club wants to repeat every year,” he said.

It will be the same for the SPCA.

“It was the first big venture for us,” said Mahoney. “This is our largest fundraiser ever and we certainly learned a lot of lessons and we’ll probably do it again, but we’ll do it a bit different.”

Organizations: NL West SPCA, Harley-Davidson, Plaza Corner Brook Kinsmen Club Pepsi Centre

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Recent comments

  • who came up with motor bike idea
    December 20, 2013 - 20:27

    who came up with idea of bike; for god sakes; how many people ride motor bikes? what do I and half population of cbrook over 55 want motorbike for; a expensive play toy for old people and 35 thousand dollars; are u kidding; my first house never cost that; and also its something u can use only about three months years in nfld; spring cold enough to clip you and fall is same; how ever involved with SPCA only got themselves to blame? a quad; a car; a side by side; people all ages old young got them; a motor bike; I don't know anyone my age who got one

  • Alex
    December 19, 2013 - 21:13

    It may be to late for the SPCA to sell their tickets now but when they started selling their tickets the should have contacted the motorcycle groups in the area for some assistance. I am sure the Harley Owners Group and the Northern Stars and the countless independent riders on the west coast could have moved a lot of tickets for them. The motorcycle community reaches far and wide in this province and for most motorcyclists $20 would have been a small price to pay for a chance to win a $35.000 bike. I myself would have liked to have bought a couple and I am sure that many of my biker buddies in the Bay St George area would have bought at least one. Just my thoughts on a missed opportunity for a good cause.

  • Jackie Barrett
    December 19, 2013 - 06:22

    Not only are charitable related lotteries are a big gamble for purchases, they are actually a major gamble for non-profit organizations as well. In fact, any time cancer societies and hospitals host these charitable draws, while most people think that all money raised go to that charity, they often only keep less than 20% of the proceeds raised. Rest of the money goes to marketing and prize expenses. That's why you have to be careful with charity based draws.