Lottery ping-pong balls will be flying this fall for live evening drawings at the studios of WXIN-TV Channel 59.
But the jackpot for the Fox affiliate hosting the Hoosier Lottery would be eyeballs—drawn to its 10 p.m. newscast immediately before and a late-night show airing immediately after.
State Lottery Commission officials selected the station recently as the flagship for a renewed, live-televised drawing for the lottery’s Daily 3 and Daily 4 games.
The Hoosier Lottery's televised drawings were discontinued in 2001 amid budget concerns. Since then, drawings have been conducted by a random-number machine at Lottery headquarters.
The lottery commission has allocated $1.2 million to Rhode Island-based contractor GTECH Indiana LLC to cover costs of WXIN and for stations in other television markets statewide broadcasting the drawing at WXIN.
Michael Brouder, WXIN’s director of marketing and creative services, deferred to state officials questions about the financial arrangement between the station and the lottery. Details were not immediately available.
WXIN is constructing a set for the nightly drawing and is working with the lottery on a search to cast on-air talent.
“We figure September is a safe bet” to begin Daily 3 and Daily 4 drawings, Brouder said.
One benefit to the station is increased attention from viewers, Brouder said. The drawing will take place at, or just before, 11 p.m., which could draw viewers to the tail end of the station’s 10 p.m. hour-long newscast, and to a new, late-night show hosted by Arsenio Hall, expected to launch in early September at 11 p.m.
WXIN is already carrying Powerball drawings on Wednesday and Saturday nights, and Mega Millions drawings Tuesday and Friday nights. The drawings for those multi-state games are held in Tallahassee, Fla., and in Atlanta.
The commission and GTECH are trying to gin up interest in the Hoosier Lottery.
Although the televised drawing was discontinued a decade ago, “in speaking with Hoosiers and Hoosier Lottery retailers, we’ve learned they want the drawings back on the air,” said lottery spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland.