North Carolina is the latest to act on growing trend of progressive jackpot lottery games
By Kate Northrop
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina lottery players can try out the state lottery’s newest offering — Fast Play, a type of lottery game with a progressive jackpot that has become popular with other state lotteries in recent years.
Fast Play was first available for purchase on Sun., Sept. 13, 2020 at most N.C. Lottery retailers and on all self-service vending machines, marking the Lottery’s first game launch in three years.
Players can try out six new Fast Play games with different themes and play-styles. The price of the ticket determines the top percentage of the jackpot that a player can win. For example, the top prize for a $2 lottery ticket is 20% of the current jackpot at the time of purchase, while players who buy a $5 or $10 ticket can win a top prize of 50% or 100% of the jackpot, respectively. The six Fast Play games available for purchase are:
- $2 Lucky Clover
- $2 Classic Bingo
- $5 Rockin’ Bingo
- $2, $5, and $10 Jackpot 7’s games
Players can learn more about the individual games on the Lottery’s official website.
After buying a Fast Play ticket, players will see what the jackpot was at the time of purchase and will instantly know if they won the jackpot or lesser prize by looking directly on the ticket. The rolling jackpot starts at $20,000 and grows each time a player purchases a ticket until it is won.
“If a jackpot-winning ticket is sold, the jackpot will decrease immediately,” the Lottery said. “If the winner doesn’t claim their prize, half of that unclaimed money goes back into games in the form of prizes, and the other half benefits education.”
According to the Lottery, winning tickets for draw games must be redeemed within 180 days of the drawing for which the ticket was purchased.
The progressive jackpot is updated live each time someone plays. It can be viewed on the home page of the official N.C. Lottery website and on the N.C. Lottery Mobile App. Lottery retailers also display the current jackpot on Fast Play jackpot signs as well as multi-media monitors and vending machines in stores.
Since the release of the games, players have mixed feelings about Fast Play, but those who enjoy the simplicity and speed of the game seem to particularly like it.
“I am loving this game,” a player identified as “Denver G.” said. “Best odds of anything out there to win $100k or more. I am sticking with the $10 tickets. I am averaging about 50/50 on wins. Most on 1 ticket has been $25. Try the vending machines, if you can’t figure it out you have no one to blame but yourself. Easy, easy, easy!”
Other players have voiced concerns about the game’s security and play experience, citing some shortcomings to do with retailer training and confidentiality.
“So what if I go into a gas station and purchase a $10 Fast Play from the cashier and he looks at it before handing it to me and tells me it’s not a winner?” a player under the name “Thom B.” asked. “Do I still have to pay for it? This happened and I just walked out. Please train these cashiers not to do that.”
Another player known as “Angela A.” had a similar encounter. “I did try another Fast Play ticket today and before the clerk handed it to me I was told ‘Oh you won $2.’ That is just great! I am not one of those players who just scan the bar code on scratch offs either. I pay and play the game. I know especially since COVID-19 there are stores that you cannot see the terminal. I think NCEL will have to keep a close eye on this.”
“That is certainly not the playing experience we want you to have,” the Lottery responded.
The Lottery responded to concerns regarding negative player experiences and is actively monitoring the game’s reception, emphasizing that there will be a learning curve anytime a new game or product is released.
“Fast Play tickets are printed only when a customer asks for one,” the Lottery explained. “In most stores where lottery tickets are sold, you should be able to see the ticket being printed from the lottery terminal. The retailer should hand the ticket immediately to you. You can then check the date and time printed on every ticket. We have checks and balances in place to ensure the security of our games, including our new Fast Play games.”
The N.C. Lottery strongly encouraged players to report suspicious retailer behavior to their Security Division at 888-732-6235.
At the time of this writing, the current estimated jackpot sits at a hefty $201,175 and will continue to change with each ticket purchased. Players who enjoy the new Fast Play games may also be happy to hear that the Lottery has plans on releasing more Fast Play games in the future.