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February 14, 2013

Host: José Cárdenas

Arizona Lottery

  |   Video
  • The Arizona Lottery broke sales records for the fifth consecutive year in 2012. Jeff Hatch-Miller, executive director for the Arizona Lottery, talks about how the proceeds from ticket sales are helping the community through various programs, organizations, and initiatives.
  • Jeff Hatch-Miller - Executive Director, Arizona Lottery
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: arizona, lottery, ,

View Transcript

Jose Cardenas: Thank you for joining us. The Arizona lottery broke sales records for its fifth year in 2012. Arizona received nearly $165 million in net profits. The money supports a wide range of programs in our state. We'll talk to the Arizona lottery executive director about where lottery sales go, but first here's a video that shows some of the programs that benefit from the money.

Announcer: What can we do to make our communities better? How can we solve some of the problems we face? What does it mean to change a life? Since 1981, the Arizona lottery has been offering answers to these very questioning. This support falls into four specific categories. The first is health and public welfare.

Jay: My name is Jay, and I'm a casa volunteer here in the state of Arizona.

Boy: Jay has helped me in every part of my life.

Jay: Casa is a court-appointed special advocate who advocates for children who have no one else to speak for them in court.

Boy: He's one of my top friends. In the world.

Jay: He wants a family, he wants a mom and a dad, normality.

Announcer: Another important area of focus is education.

Wife: My husband was deployed in October of 2009. After he left everything just felt like it sank the hardest thing was trying to figure out a new routine.

Daughter: After he left it just felt like… everything sinked.

Son: I just didn’t really like life at the time.

Wife: The hardest thing was just trying to figure out a new routine.

Woman: When you're a military family, things like the arts really are extra. The Arizona lottery enables 200 military dependents to come to the theater three times a year. This is our way of saying thank you. And we can never say thank you enough.

Announcer: The Arizona lottery is also making an impact on the environment. Here at the Audubon center we connect inner city children with nature.

Girl: Before I came to Audubon I didn't think about the environment.

Woman: I see children discovering a universe that wasn't available to them if this center wasn't here.

Teen: This place teaches you so much. If there wasn't a place like this a lot of people would be missing out.

Announcer: The fourth area of focus is the economy. Or how the Arizona lottery supports business development programs as well as lottery retailers.

Sandy: My name is Sandy Merrill, I'm the agent owner of mosaic insurance in Prescott Valley. We offer all brands of insurance, just about anything any consumer would need. Without this program, I would not have been able to have been an employer right now. They're my assistance I need.

Woman: Because of the funds that came to us from commerce and the lottery, we were able to expand opportunities to 3800 businesses in the Yavapai county area.

Sandy: That was the make or break of my business. And we have been very successful because of it.

Announcer: Thanks to your support, the Arizona lottery has been able to return billions of dollars to state beneficiary and programs. And an average of 3 million more is generated every week to keep vital programs like these in place. So the next time you purchase your favorite ticket, take some time to dream about the cash prize or jackpot. Then think about the countless other winning stories you're bringing to life. The Arizona lottery. With your help, we're changing lives statewide.

Jose Cardenas: Joining me to talk more about where proceeds go is Jeff Hatch-Miller, Arizona lottery executive director. Welcome back. The video gave us a pretty good idea of where the dollars go, and -- But I know there's more to say, and we're going to come back to that. Before we get there, give us an overview of the history of the lottery and how it's organized.

Jeff Hatch-Miller: That's a great question. And it's great to be here with you, thank you for having me here. The lottery was started over 30 years ago by a citizen initiative. There are people in the Arizona that wanted to have a lottery, they liked playing lottery games, and they wanted to find a funding source for a lot of the programs you just heard about. And they started the lottery. So it was started by the vote of the people over 30 years ago.

Jose Cardenas: And there have been a number of occasions when the people have reaffirmed their commitment to lottery. The first time the vote was pretty narrow.

Jeff Hatch-Miller: The first time was narrow, but towards the end 70% or more of the voting public were in support of the lottery.

Jose Cardenas: You're good until 2035 right now?

Jeff Hatch-Miller: Yes. The legislature decided they'd like to keep us around for a while.

Jose Cardenas: You and I were talking a little bit off camera about the impact of the economic recession, and I mentioned I was born and raised in Las Vegas and everybody used to think gambling was recession proof. It's not, but you seem to do fairly well.

Jeff Hatch-Miller: We've done very well. We've been very fortunate. The lottery industry across the country and the gaming industry in Laughlin, Las Vegas, and Atlantic city, all showed a decrease in revenue during that same period of time. So we're very fortunate. Basically I attribute it to the intensity of our mission. It's programs like this that people that work at the lottery have been dedicated to raising money for.

Jose Cardenas: What I think people may not understand is how much effort goes into designing the games, deciding what will sell, what won't sell. Give us an overview of that process.

Jeff Hatch-Miller: You gotta listen to players, meet with them, talk to them, find out what they want out of these games. And once you know that, there's this whole process where we have a small team that works with vendors around the country that specializes in these products, and we find out what are the best tickets, the ones with the most interesting play style, and lately in the last few years have been adding more prizes, a lot more bigger prizes.

Jose Cardenas: Scratch tickets tend to be the most popular, right?

Jeff Hatch-Miller: They're about two-thirds of our business.

Jose Cardenas: The phenomenon that we witnessed over the last particular years in particular with the big lotto jackpots and the Powerball and stuff, whereas the fever grow, people start spending more money.

Jeff Hatch-Miller: When we got up to $587 million just a few weeks ago, really, it was amazing. Almost everybody I know was talking about it. And most of the people were playing except myself and my team because we're barred from playing.

Jose Cardenas: Certainly barred from winning. It wouldn't do any good to play. Let's talk a little bit about the benefits to the state and one in particular, we talked about the economic downturn. The lottery helped bail Arizona out of that big huge deficit we were facing a couple years ago.

Jeff Hatch-Miller: Yes. The state had a shortfall in the state budget, they just didn't have the money to pay all the bills. And they turned to the lottery because we had a creditworthiness to borrow money on the state's behalf. We borrowed $450 million, which we're paying off over 20 years with lottery proceeds.

Jose Cardenas: Now, we talked in the introduction about 165 million dollars in profits. But for the lottery, profits means that's the amount of money that goes to these programs, some of which we saw in the video.

Jeff Hatch-Miller: 100% of the monies the lottery has left over after expenses go to the programs you heard about. So it's really not profit, it's just a generation of revenue for those programs; it's always been part of the lottery operation.

Jose Cardenas: Those expenses we're talking about include, what, 62% that goes back to the people who buy -- Play the games.

Jeff Hatch-Miller: On the average about 62, 64% of the money goes back to players. And then another amount goes to the people that sell the tickets and provide all the equipment you see in retail stores. Then a very, very small amount, about 3% goes to the people that run the lottery, the -- My staff, our equipment, our cars, things like that.

Jose Cardenas: The -- By statute the monies are distributed in a particular fashion to the beneficiaries. But you and your people kind of keep track of how the dollars are being used.

Jeff Hatch-Miller: Well, we're really motivated by who these beneficiaries are. When we see Michael, the young man in the video with the red hair, and Jay, who is an ex-FBI agent who works with him, a voice for him, really, this is a young kid who got caught up in foster care system for a number of years, he's still in it, and his family was gone, and he needed a voice for him. And here's this man, an ex-FBI agent, is volunteering with a court-appointed special advocate program to help this young man out and provide a voice for him in court, at school, in the community, and also play football with him and have some fun with him.

Jose Cardenas: One of the segments we also saw was Gammage and the director there, how does the lottery benefit the arts and culture?

Jeff Hatch-Miller: Well, we support Gammage in terms of that program that you heard about for military personnel and their families. We find that military personnel are struggling sometimes financially, and they don't have money left over for the extras by going to Gammage that you and I might be able to enjoy. So we provide a sponsorship for 200 people, the military personnel and their families to go to programs, they're very special programs backstage tours, meeting with the talent and the people that are putting on the show. And a real special seat at the event.

Jose Cardenas: So I know that the Hispanics probably participate in the lottery about the same rate as most other groups, but there are some special efforts that the lottery is making with regard to that community. Tell us about that.

Jeff Hatch-Miller: We try to communicate with everybody in the state. Obviously the Hispanic population has been and is an important part of that. And we try to shape our messaging to communicate effectively and appropriately with Hispanics and with others as well.

Jose Cardenas: Jeff, we're almost out of time. Where do you see the lottery going in the future? You're constantly coming up with new games, experimenting with what would sell better, but is there kind of an overarching vision that you see coming about?

Jeff Hatch-Miller: Well, people like to play these games where something becomes exposed and you have to guess what that would be, or guess a number, and the number comes up. They've been doing that for thousands of years. We're going to stay in that business, we're going to provide similar products that we have now, but you'll find they can become more high-tech, more exciting, to a new audience. On your mobile phone, won't be able to buy the tickets on the mobile phone, but it will be an enhanced experience through that or your computer.

Jose Cardenas: And just give me a sense for how that would work.

Jeff Hatch-Miller: People right now get all the winning numbers pretty much on their computers or over their mobile phones. They also come and learn a lot about the lottery. Everything that you heard in the video today, that's on our website, and someone could go to AZlottery.com and find out about who the beneficiaries are, and how much money we made last year and what the odds are on any of the games. It's a way to augment the experience for the player to know more about us. And we have a big following on Facebook and on twitter, and we interact with players all the time, put on special contests for them, and make it more fun. It adds that extra dimension.

Jose Cardenas: It sounds like a lot of exciting things coming. We're grateful for you for joining us on "Horizonte."

Jeff Hatch-Miller: My great honor. Thank you so much.

NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series Race

  |   Video
  • Phoenix International Raceway will host the first NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series race in the United States. The race is part of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 NASCAR Sprint series weekend at PIR. David Alvarez, multicultural marketing and communications manager for Phoenix International Raceway, and Pepe Machin, NASCAR multicultural marketing director for Phoenix International Raceway, discuss details about this landmark international event.
  • David Alvarez - Multicultural Marketing and Communications Manager, Phoenix International Raceway
  • Pepe Machin - NASCAR Multicultural Marketing Director, Phoenix International Raceway
Category: Sports   |   Keywords: NASCAR, sports, toyota, ,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: Phoenix international raceway will host the first Nascar Mexico Toyota series in the United States. It will happen as part of the subway fresh fit 500 Nascar sprint series at PIR. Here to talk about this event is David Alvarez, the multicultural marketing and communications manager for Phoenix international raceway. And Joseph Machin, Nascar multicultural marketing director. Thank you both for joining us on "Horizonte." David, let's start with you and your involvement with PIR.

David Alvarez: Sure. We really are excited to bring the first Nascar Mexico race ever here to the United States, and what we're doing is really increasing awareness at a local level. This is the very first time that obviously this race has come to the United States, and I think it's a great opportunity to reach out to our Hispanic community.

Jose Cardenas: Joseph, why does Nascar need to bring Nascar Mexico here to generate interest in the United States when you have Nascar USA?

Joseph Machin: One of the challenges we have as a sport is that we don't yet have enough Hispanic drivers and fan base, so we want to expand our fan base, and one way to do that is to -- So bringing Nascar Mexico into the United States and having their equivalent of the Daytona 500 in Phoenix is a big opportunity, and helps us do that.

Jose Cardenas: The Nascar Mexico initiative itself is relatively new. Five years?

Joseph Machin: Actually it's closer to three years.

Jose Cardenas: We have at least one picture of one of the raceways, but how has Nascar been received in Mexico?

Joseph Machin: For us it's a surprising success because the notion of stock car is not very well known south of the border except for Brazil and Argentina. The fact Nascar has been able to grow a fan base around 30% year over year, we're very impressed with that.

Jose Cardenas: And this is the raceway in Mexico city we're seeing on screen?

Joseph Machin: Correct.

Jose Cardenas: So it looks like a pretty packed crowd. Is that typical now in Mexico?

Joseph Machin: It sure is. Actually our races in Mexico tend to be a lot more lively than the ones in the U.S.

Jose Cardenas: It's hard to imagine races being livelier than those in the U.S. How is that so?

Joseph Machin: When the race concludes, literally all of the fans come out to the track and the drivers come out of the cars and they start signing autographs, and people just -- There's an engagement level with the drivers that is a lot stronger than here in the U.S. So we're hoping that some of that fanfare and some of that emotion and passion that we're seeing in Mexico will start to ignite consumers here in the U.S. as well to become engaged with our sport.

Jose Cardenas: David, part of the effort is built around Mexican and Hispanic drivers from the United States as well, and we've got a few pictures of some of the current stars that we're going to put on the screen. I want to talk a little bit about them. But what efforts is the Nascar making to bring them along and this picture here, tell us about this gentleman.

David Alvarez: He is actually an aspiring driver out of Mexico, and he owns the team in Mexico and he has three total drivers he oversees. So he's one of the guys we're very excited about, and we are doing a number of things with him here in the United States.

Jose Cardenas: Will he be racing at PIR?

David Alvarez: Yes, he will. And he along with two other from the Nascar Mexico series are active in the Hispanic community here in Phoenix, Arizona. So he along with everybody one else will be up here for the March race.

Jose Cardenas: We've got a couple more pictures on the screen as we're talking. But there's a special program that Nascar has to bring along Hispanic drivers.

David Alvarez: That is correct. Nascar has implemented the next line program, as well as the diversity program geared for that exact purpose. To bring them along, teach them the ins and outs of what it takes to become a successful race car driver. Not just on the track but also off the track with community service, and being in front of the camera. And interacting with fans.

Joseph Machin: The nice thing about D for D as we call it, drive for diversity program, is that it prepares young diverse drivers as well as mechanics, we are opening it up to pretty much every single discipline we have within the Nascar ecosystem to bring in diverse not just pilots, but also people who will participate actively in our sport at all levels.

Jose Cardenas: When you say pilots you're using the Spanish equivalent for race car driver.

Joseph Machin: Yes.

Jose Cardenas: So we have a couple of other pictures we want to show of some drivers. But how are -- How are you doing this? Are you going out into the community, recruiting these folks?

Joseph Machin: Yes, we are. We actually have alliances with several schools through the national STEM program, and we identify students who excel in math and science, and who apply to become part of the program. Once they go through a vetting process, they get accepted into the training, and then they just choose the discipline they want to learn, and they grow up the ranks. One of the pictures we currently have, we're going to be showing you is from Danny. And he's part of the next line program.

Jose Cardenas: What is the next line program? Is this Danny?

David Alvarez: That is Danny. The next line program is a program geared towards growing these young aspiring drivers, and you have folks from Nascar Mexico, have you drivers that are part of the leagues here in Nascar, the series that we have in the United States, for instance, Danny is racing a series west. It's equal to the single A in baseball or double A in baseball and he also race as full season in Mexico.

Jose Cardenas: And where is Danny from?

David Alvarez: Danny is from Monterey, Mexico.

Jose Cardenas: And do you have some U.S. born Hispanics who are also part of this next line program?

David Alvarez: We do. We actually have three drivers, I know one of them is from Virginia, we have another from California, and a third from I believe Las Vegas.

Jose Cardenas: And why the title next line?

David Alvarez: Those have been -- The guys have been designated as the next line up and coming drivers. The sport feels great about them because they've been able to go through the process of sort of mastering these different disciplines if you will. Being able to excel in the community, excel on the track, and excel off the track.

Jose Cardenas: Just -- We've got another picture, but while we're waiting for that, what's the point of starting the Mexico Nascar series here in Arizona?

Joseph Machin: Well, first it's going to be the equivalent of their Daytona 500. We wanted to celebrate it in Phoenix in order to use it with a two-pronged purpose. One, we want to contextualize the sport, bring the sport this side of the border, and we wanted to use this as an opportunity to bridge cultures, to create awareness of how important it is to connect both cultures south and north of the border.

Jose Cardenas: But at this particular time, when we know that fairly or not, Arizona's image in Mexico itself is not the highest, concerns about SB 1070 and other -- What many perceive as anti-immigrant activities, why come to Arizona?

Joseph Machin: It is precisely the reason why we chose this area. We believe by attacking the social problems or the social perceptions full frontal gives us an opportunity to actually bridge cultural gaps and gives us an opportunity to connect cultures and gives us an opportunity to just show the similarities that there are rather than the differences and start creating awareness of the importance that both countries have and the importance that it is for both countries to actually work together and grow together because the potential as partners is so much greater than when we're divided.

Jose Cardenas: David, let's talk a little bit about the March 1st event. And the things that are being built around it. What kinds of activities?

David Alvarez: We will have really exciting race on March 1st, it will kick off at 6:30 with the driver introductions, the national anthem, we will have bobby POLiTO in town, he's a big Tex Mex artist out of Texas to sing the national anthem in English and we'll have a Spanish performer to do the Mexican anthem and they'll also perform post-race. Have a big concert after the race for all of our fans. And of course the big event, the Nascar Mexico race, which will feature a very unique format. It lab 75-lap race, and we will have a 10-minute intermission. We'll do an initial 50 laps, 10-minute intermission and a race to the finish during the final 25 laps.

Jose Cardenas: How many cars will be participating?

David Alvarez: We are going to have roughly 40 cars.

Jose Cardenas: And between now and March 1st, what kinds of things are you doing to get the Spanish-speaking community out there to participate?

David Alvarez: We've done a number of things. For one, we've launched an advertising campaign as of this past weekend through all the different mediums, TV, radio, and print. And we've also got into the community. Joseph talked about our STEM program we've launched in the west valley where 85% of the student base is of a Hispanic dissent and we're helping those kids with as inspirational issues and whatnot, and I think program is great for them. Because we will bring them out to the race, get to meet the drivers, they'll get a behind the scenes tour of the garages and the pits and whatnot, so we're very excited to kind of have this multifaceted attack toward the marketplace.

Jose Cardenas: For those of us who are not young but maybe young at heart and would like to experience a Nascar feeling, there's some opportunities there?

David Alvarez: Sure. As a matter of fact, we will have a very neat opportunity this Friday, where we will select 50 lucky winners to come out to the track and experience that. An actual ride in a stock car. A couple lap with a professional driver, and so that's pretty neat. We'll also have our media members out to experience that. A lot of opportunity for people to come out and experience the speed.

Jose Cardenas: Joseph, I understand we're going to have a number of VIPs here for this event.

Joseph Machin: Yeah. We are. We are fortunate enough that Toyota motors has actually become the title sponsor for the Nascar series. And the president of Toyota USA, the president of Toyota Mexico, we're also hearing that Mr. Carlos Slim will be visiting us, obviously all of the top leaders at Nascar --

Jose Cardenas: The richest man in the world on many lists.

Joseph Machin: The same Carlos Slim. I want to expand on what David was talking, beyond what we're doing at a local level, we've actually implemented the first ever national campaign targeting the Hispanic audience. We just completed the production of seven television spots, we made a significant investment in local stations here,N Phoenix, we're implementing a research program that's going to be a 12-month research program that will end in December, so that we can get more consumer insights and nuggets of information that will help us target our consumers better from 2014 forward.

Jose Cardenas: This is a pretty wide ranging effort.

Joseph Machin: It is. We're actually -- We've implemented this effort under an industry wide program that we have that is called industry action plan. And it's a five-year commitment --

Jose Cardenas: I'm afraid we're out of time. Some other time we'll have you back to talk about that.

Both: Thank you.

Jose Cardenas: Thank you both for joining us on "Horizonte." That is our show for tonight. From all of us here at "Horizonte," I'm Jose Cardenas. Have a good night.