LOTTERY MACHINES LIGHT UP COLORADO CHECKOUT LANES

DENVER -- Colorado's lottery ticket sales have increased by as much as 30% in supermarkets using Player Express self-service ticket dispensers at checkout counters.The point-of-sale terminals at Cub Foods, City Markets, King Soopers, Steele's Markets and a biggs Hyper Shoppes hypermarket allow lottery customers to punch in the amount they wish to play using a keypad mounted on the checkout counter,

DENVER -- Colorado's lottery ticket sales have increased by as much as 30% in supermarkets using Player Express self-service ticket dispensers at checkout counters.

The point-of-sale terminals at Cub Foods, City Markets, King Soopers, Steele's Markets and a biggs Hyper Shoppes hypermarket allow lottery customers to punch in the amount they wish to play using a keypad mounted on the checkout counter, as the checker scans their food purchases.

A dedicated printer issues a ticket with a Universal Product Code bar code that is scanned along with the rest of the customer's order.

The units were installed last fall in about 10 stores, said Steve Didies, product marketing manager for point-of-sale at Gtech Corp., West Greenwich, R.I., the ticket-system's manufacturer.

Steele's Markets, Fort Collins, Colo., is one retailer that is reporting significant increases since the new system was installed. "The ticketing machines have worked out well. Our lottery sales have gone up at least 30%, if not more," Wendy McGee, a front-end store manager, told SN.

"Customers really seem to like them at the checkstands, since they are easy to use and convenient."

Rather than cutting down on lottery traffic at the customer-service desk, previously the only in-store area where tickets had been sold, "The lines there are even longer. The checkout dispensers have actually attracted new lottery customers," McGee said.

Steele's has installed the automated ticketing system in two stores and plans to add them to three other outlets in late spring, she said.

An executive at one of the chains testing the ticketing machines, who asked to remain anonymous, told SN, "Operationally, they have been fairly sound. But it's too early to tell if they have improved or increased lottery sales. We'll test it longer, but we're not sure if the program will be expanded to our other stores."

King Soopers now has the ticket dispensers in three stores following a two-store test begun in November 1996.

The ticket dispensers are expected to expand to some 200 additional Colorado store locations in late spring, Didies said. He noted that discussions with Safeway and Albertson's are under way.

"Stores with the Player Express system have been able to reduce the lines for lottery tickets at the customer-service counter," said Didies. He said the dispensers are usually installed at 70% of a store's high-traffic checkout lanes. Stores typically continue to sell lottery tickets at the customer-service counter.

Didies said there is no cost to the retailer to install the self-service dispenser. Stores keep 6% of each lottery sale, he said.

This month Gtech began contacting Nebraska and New York supermarkets after lottery commissions in those states approved the system for food retailers, Didies said.