The Coeur d’Alene Indians’ six-week-old Internet gambling site isn’t making money yet.
That’s less of a concern to tribal officials than the possibility that US Lottery will become popular too quickly.
Gaming chief executive officer David Matheson doesn’t want to end up with frustrated customers unable to get through.
“We don’t want to be like America Online,” Matheson said Wednesday, referring to the Internet service provider whose promotions exceeded its capacity.
About 1,000 people have already registered at the site, most of them from Eastern states. Half of those have yet to receive the necessary computer disk that will allow them to play the on-line games.
Another 500 registrations were being processed Wednesday, Matheson said.
The gambling operation is still in its infancy, Matheson said.
“We can only handle 1,000 to 2,000 people playing at any one time,” he said. “By October, we can handle as many as 10,000.”
Meanwhile, the tribe plans to limit its advertising so the response doesn’t get out of hand. It has, however, placed ads on three of the most popular “search en gines,” which people use to find information on the World Wide Web. They are Yahoo, Web-crawler and Excite.
People who register for US Lottery provide their names, addresses and social security numbers. They choose a password, which allows them to play various games.
Right now, there are three games: Lotto 6/49, an instant $1 million lottery in which players pick six numbers at once; Super Lotto, in which players pick up to 10 numbers from a total of 80, has prizes of $10,000 and a $100,000 jackpot; and Lucky 21, a “scratch-off” variation of Blackjack.
Future offerings will include Bingo and three variations of casino games: Blackjack Lottery, Video Poker lottery and The Big Spin lottery, which promises “fast paced, slot machine-line fun.”
Perhaps in a jab at the state governments that are opposing the Internet operation, visitors to the US Lottery site (http://www.uslottery.com) are told that state lotteries have smaller pay-offs.
On average, the tribe contends, the states return 50 to 65 cents to players in prizes for every dollar spent. In contrast, the tribe says that it will return 75 to 85 cents for each dollar.