Fifty years of winners and a year-long celebration

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John Martin tells Nestor about the Maryland Lottery changing with the times as agency turns 50 in 2023


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Nestor Aparicio  00:01

Looking back at W n s t test the Baltimore and Baltimore positive still broadcasting high quality mono sound today and 1570. Throughout the holidays. We are going to be experiencing a little bit of best stuff. I’m getting the archives together as we look at the Cleveland game this week as we look at Atlanta through the holidays, but most importantly this week we’re celebrating it is my 31st anniversary on Baltimore Radio. I’m wearing my Costas gear today I will be giving away these holiday cash trop scratch offs in the Maryland lottery gifted to me by Rosalyn last week on the Maryland crab cake toward families. We’re encouraging everyone to ship your crabcakes get the orders in early. We’re going to be in Dundalk, Costas, with the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer the queen of Dundalk. Jean Jacques is going to be joining us on Thursday as well as John Allen and a whole bunch folks from my hammer Jack’s. This guy is excited he comes on every week, but I did sort of upstage him last week. We’re having Rosalind for a while talking about her husband, Greg and she got the crabcakes out of fate lease by the way, John Martin, but you’re this is this is a big announcement. I know for mobile wagering for sports wagering, we’ve seen all the ads on all the social media and the games and whatnot. This is when we get a little bit of a timpani. Right like a little bit of an Ed McMahon moment for you. Right.

John Martin  01:13

You know what you talked about going to the archives. I’m going to tell you right now, Nestor, that today’s show right now is going to automatically be an instant classic.

Nestor Aparicio  01:22

Really? Why what happened? A million dollars today my day?

John Martin  01:27

No, you know what, and we joke about it, and I’m sure we will over the next few minutes about the Cleveland Baltimore tie in. I mean, here your Rock and Roll Hall of Famer happens to be located in Cleveland, Ohio. I’ve

Nestor Aparicio  01:38

been Cleveland. Yeah, I’ve been I’ve been to the hotspots wonderful. It’s the best part of Cleveland. Maybe not, but it’s a pretty good part of clean, careful, careful, careful, what is your best part of Cleveland, then?

John Martin  01:47

I even know what I don’t know. I don’t know. There are so many. There are so many times number one. But you know what? That’s that’s secondary. Today’s big news. And we have we’re talking about sports wagering in a minute. We, you know, next month, Joe Buck, and congratulations on your 31 years, incidentally, every single

Nestor Aparicio  02:05

one of them was a pill

John Martin  02:08

as an editor, but next month, in January, Maryland lottery will be getting its 50th anniversary year, 50 years as Maryland lottery. And many of those years, we use the traditional numbered lottery ball.

Nestor Aparicio  02:27

I see it all right, there you go. There it is. I remember that my wife thought when I got this gig, that I would be the one that could go on TV and suck the balls up remember, you know, like,

John Martin  02:37

but you know what, you better hurry because the traditional balls and the lottery machines as of next week.

Nestor Aparicio  02:46

gone gone? How do we do it then how are these being faked? A computer

John Martin  02:50

based system called a random number, generator, R and G will be used by the folks here at Maryland lottery. And what that means to players is several things. First off, the games don’t change. Pick three, pick four, pick five bonus Match five multi match. These are the five games that will no longer be selected with numbered lottery balls and mechanical machines. We’re using a computer based system that will randomly generate the numbers now there are over 30 lotteries in the US and Canada that today use this technology. It is a modernization in the industry has been going on for several years. Matter of fact, every time people buy a quick pick ticket in the state of Maryland for a draw game, or they play Keno or they play racetracks, they’re using an RNG system. So we’ve been using it for years. But now we’re officially going to roll over these these next five games that starts next week. The biggest change is the drawings will no longer be televised. And so the RNG system creates an animated video that will be on our website people can go to the watch the drawings page, much like

Nestor Aparicio  03:54

when the balls come out when I’m sitting in Costas right it Keno the numbers just generate right I understand.

John Martin  04:02

Exactly, exactly. That’s a great analogy. So if you’re already familiar with quinoa and how that’s displayed, it’ll be the same type animations will be a little different, obviously. But the same premise. And that starts next week. And it will be a an interesting time as we turn the page, you know, we were always looking to modernize the business you have to Nestor you do it in your business, we do it in our business.

Nestor Aparicio  04:22

I’ve modernized this week, this conversation will be transcribed now by otter, and I’m putting transcriptions up on the website. So we have Google crawl for words, and that people can actually read and it’s not always perfect. It’s not it’s not the q&a, you know, like completely but what we’re always trying to do things tell me this, who’s who’s the person that’s going to pick the last ball? I need to know this? Because my wife is going to you I mean, I hear you’re in charge. They’re like, who’s the last person who gets a standard because I was always jealous of Sarah Fleischer, and Kurt McEwan. I even add a huge conversation when Mickey could show up as the other. He ever did it because it was always a nice da rock, always the WPA was always on TV. I mean, back when I was a kid, it wasn’t what that always look like the highest honor at all to stand there and oversee the balls as they came up and right. And the sixes and nines always had to turn on. Right?

John Martin  05:13

Well, yeah, and there’s a little underscore so you know, for the six or nine, but you know what, no one physically touches those those number of balls anymore. That is they the to displace it, and they’re just suddenly turned for the camera. And you know what, I don’t know who’s going to have that honor, probably our existing staff. But that would have been a great promo, too bad. We missed that. Well do that maybe later for some

Nestor Aparicio  05:34

of your office to pick up the scratch off that I still have a handful of ravens to give away as well. This is our final crabcake tour stop of the year overcast, this was 31 years, I just got to stop for Christmas, and get myself together here for the Browns game and the Falcons game. But you know, I would say this in in all 50 years, I come to your offices. And every time I’m there, I see all the old posters and the old wishbone and the old logo in the Maryland lottery from when I was a kid, give me a little preview of this 50 year anniversary. And I mean, I would think that you guys are really rolling out doing some special things next year. Right? Well, absolutely.

John Martin  06:10

It’s interesting. You went back to some of the nostalgia and I can’t teach it too much. We’ll have plenty of time to tease it over the next several months. But don’t be surprised that some of that old look comes back again. How’s that for TC? I

Nestor Aparicio  06:22

would recognize it because I’m one old and I’ve lived here my whole life. Right? So I mean, I’m 54 years on the planet now. So the lottery, I guess came around when I was four or five years old, I didn’t really know where I would have the lottery, but but pick three. And then after that, pick four, it was like a, it was a staple of seven o’clock hour television, right? Like all of my life, they have picked the numbers in the middle of pick your TV show Jeopardy, whatever was on at seven o’clock at night over the last 50 years. Sometimes it was in the news as well that they would pull the lottery ball. So I mean, I’m familiar with that. I’m familiar with all the logos. So I will be looking out for the whip. The wishbone was my favorite, you know that late 70s, early 80s.

John Martin  07:00

What you should expect a little bit of nostalgia should also expect something new, some new games, some new promotions, and then we as we go through the year, there’ll be slowly revealed month after month. So when we talk after the first of the year, we’ll have some things already in the hopper for January. And we’ll talk about those things there. But you know, what we always have regardless are winners. And we have some great winner stories at MD This week, and let me just share a couple of them with you. Because these are the ones that are just that make this job true. You win

Nestor Aparicio  07:29

money and not during the holidays even better, right like literally dead a winter it’s cold out first thing I’m thinking is I’m getting somewhere while I’m hitting st somewhere.

John Martin  07:40

And you know what’s fun about it too, is that some of these stories and when you actually hear what’s behind that just got his grip, you have to laugh, you have to laugh. Here’s a young man from buoy who actually made a mistake at the vending machine. And you know, the vending machines are fairly intuitive, but sometimes you can get caught. And the the poor young man got a little frustrated. Netivot is he ends up winning $50,000 Because after making a mistake from a mistake, he was you can get the details at NBA But he was you know, trying to play tickets, but he ended up cashing out so he put another 20 in and now he had 40 in and now he was confused. So he just said well give me four Powerball tickets. And one of those ends up being a $50,000 winner great story from from him. Another great story is and we have people who are just traveling, just passing along on the highways of life and they are BAM winners, a young lady who was a traveling nurse from Atlanta, Georgia. happen to be working in Elton during the pandemic ends up buying a I believe is our skeeball ticket. $30,000 Winner, a guy from Pennsylvania an iron worker working in DC driving through Hagerstown on his way home stops $50,000 Powerball winner so you know unfortunately the storyline here is we we have Marylanders investing in in the Chamber of Commerce or tourism. People are leaving with the money thankfully they’re coming back and they’re, they’re winning some more. But fun stories like that, that are all part of our winter stories. nd Read all about it.

Nestor Aparicio  09:18

I stopped in Hagerstown Sunday night after the Ravens game I went to the Ravens game Mike Tomlin gave me a credential so I worked at my thing, and I stopped that Hagerstown, but I didn’t get 50 Grand i got doughnuts. I stopped at grumpies and gotten nighttime 9pm Doughnuts on the way home fresh at the little holes, no red velvet. It was delicious. John Martin is here he is the director of all things at Maryland lottery gaming. I’m going to be giving away these holiday cash drops on Thursday at Costas as part of my 31st anniversary. It’s also brought to you by our friends at Goodwill and when donation 8669 donation as well. I do want to say this on on anniversaries and getting the I feel bad that you’re not getting this crab cake. I mean Ross got all these crab cakes and I thought like this was a big week for you Right, because the numbers come in this used to just be a lottery gig for you, right used to be pick three before the lotto, right. Now all of a sudden, we’ve got $200, free for $5, covering your back set and all this stuff that you were talking about here for a year and a half is all now real. It’s live. It’s football season. Obviously, we got games on Saturday, this week, all day long, right, next week, all day Saturday. For this, give me a little bit of a report as to how this is going. And I don’t wanna say nervousness on your part or the agency getting the thing open. But it was a lot of heavy lifting to get mobile open. And one that long ago. You’re sitting, you’re saying it’s coming, it’s coming. Now we actually have reports from the month of November, correct?

John Martin  10:41

Yeah, exactly. This this last week, we had our first report that included mobile wagering and, and let me just kind of step back a little bit because it’s beginning of November. The first three weeks of the month of November were very strong for the nine retail locations. Matter of fact, it was probably trending to be potentially their best month in in the retail side. And then the last week of the month hit. And we opened up mobile wagering and as we knew the pendulum swung all the way hard to the other side. So away from from retail, towards the mobile, and we had seven sportsbooks. That opened up initially on the 21st of November, which was the Control demo day. And then for real on the 23rd. And what that meant is that and I’ve told it told other people here within the building was really the perfect storm. On the mobile side, you had an incredibly pent up demand from players. Marylanders had been waiting two years since the referendum, and easily a year since the retail open. So you had people really chomping at the bit to get at it. You had then seven sports books, some of the top names in the sports book industry, fighting for market share. It was like a shotgun start, they were all the starting line. And bam, it was fast and furious. And we’ve seen it right you’ve seen advertising, you’ve seen these free promotional offers, they invested heavily in advertising and promotion, so much so that six of the seven sports books actually didn’t make a dime. They lost money. In the first month. Only one only the folks at bingo world actually were in the black in November. That’s not sustainable. That’s not a way to run a business. So but we expected that we expected them to overspend to cede the market with promo play to fight for for for market share and look at for the player standpoint. You may even know people, maybe even someone close to you, that probably got all seven apps, because they were getting 200 bucks here they were in 500 bucks there that why wouldn’t they? I understand the mentality, I don’t necessarily feel comfortable about it. I hope they’re playing responsibly. But I understand the mentality from both sides of the equation. You’ve got players just you know, gimme, gimme, gimme. And, and most of the time, they’re, you know, they’re winning, they’re losing, it’s back and forth. But that’s what you saw the net effect of it by the end of November, we had over $200 million wagered combined on retail, and mobile, the vast majority 186 million of that on mobile, but the ultimate net was $704,000 to the retail or to the education fund the the blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund. So that continual investment on the sports book side of putting out promotional offers is not sustainable, they know that we know that. And we’ve put some guardrails in place. So in the second year of operation, they have unlimited promo play the first year.

Nestor Aparicio  13:50

So that’s still another 10 months that I if I’m and I haven’t downloaded any of them, but any of them, they will be continuing these kinds of first time offer that that’ll be going on for a while probably going on to beginning of football season next year. Right? Well,

John Martin  14:05

let’s look at that. And that’s why I love this list longer formats. I mean, I have more than 10 seconds to explain it to an audience. Here. Here’s what’s going to happen. And let’s let’s make it easy for all of 2023 the entire calendar year, January to December 2023. They will be in this unlimited free promo play if they continue to invest like they did in November, and they end up with a net loss for the year. That impacts their 2024 capability because we’re putting a 20% cap on promo in 24 and beyond. So if they choose unwisely, if they choose to keep this level of investment and have $0 to show on the on the net gain side, meaning they’ve lost money every month, they will have zero promotion dollars in 2024. Well, they don’t want do that. So they’re at some point, the business decision they need to make is okay, at what point do we start pumping the brakes? Because we want to make sure that we show a positive number in 23. Whether it’s 1,000,010 million, 100 million, whatever it is, because 20% of that number. Let’s make it simple. Let’s say they show a $10 million positive return in 2023 20%. Of that $2 million becomes their promotional budget for 2024. So how they manage their 2023 promotion throughout the year will determine what they can drive in promo play in 2024. Did that make sense?

Nestor Aparicio  15:43

It did. It did. And it does. I just think about the consumer, right. So regular, to your point, you could download a handful apps get 200 bucks here. It really is about the first better to write like, if you get ahead, you then pat enough, you don’t really cash out because you want to continue to play. And somewhere in there. You’re literally playing with house money, right, like and the house money is their money. And that really affects the state’s draw on this for the blueprint. Right?

John Martin  16:13

Exactly. And that’s exactly what happened in November, there were 63, nearly $64 million invested by the sportsbook operators in promo play. A total handle of 186 million was played. It’s not simple math, you just can’t take the 64 subtract it from the 186 and say, Well, gee, if we had no promo play, we would have had over $120 million that was taxed. No. Yeah, no promo play, people wouldn’t play. Exactly. And to your point. They’ve paid the promo play. They got $200. Once they they won 500. Well, they’re playing that 500 then

Nestor Aparicio  16:52

treated like my Venmo. Like my Venmo or whatever does is I guess it just there’s a but there’s a couple grand and my Venmo I don’t even know how it got there. I sold a ticket here. I did this, I bought that. And my friend sent me some money, and I never use it. I don’t know what to use it for.

John Martin  17:08

Wait, you’re right. And that’s and that’s the I don’t want say is the danger. But that’s the reality of what these numbers mean. So So December, I don’t know you about you. But I haven’t seen much of a pullback on on TV advertising and promotional play offers, maybe a little bit. But you know, my sense is

Nestor Aparicio  17:25

Superbowl would also be a big part of that. And obviously locally, the better the Ravens do, the more just general interest they’re in if they’re playing two or three playoff games next month. Right?

John Martin  17:34

Right. And then you got a Super Bowl in the in the second week of February, you know, you catch your breath a little bit, but then you’ve got March Madness. So the challenge and it is a challenge. Remember, we’re the regulator, we don’t necessarily have a dog in this fight. And it’s not for me to dictate how are the promotional spend of our sports books, which, incidentally, there’ll be more participants, I’ll get to that in a minute. But at some point, they’re gonna have to say, Well, wait a minute. If I really want to continue offering promotional play beyond this first free year, I need to start to ratchet this back a little bit. And then you’ll see the air come out of the balloon a little because now you don’t have as much promotional play. That’s a

Nestor Aparicio  18:13

bonanza for everybody right now, right like this. How could it not be fine to gamble on sports at this point where they’re giving you free money in the beginning, that that I sort of unprecedented in the history of local gambling, right? People that have been gambling to get free money as as a Come on, there’s never been such a thing ever.

John Martin  18:30

Literally. It’s a bonanza for everybody but the state of Maryland, right, unfortunately, and that was the intent was to and that’s why we put the 20% cap we need to as an agency, we need to protect the interests of the state of Maryland, which is making sure that the money earmarked for the Education Fund, specifically the blueprint for Maryland Future Fund

Nestor Aparicio  18:49

gets there. I want to do a segment on the blue because people always ask me, where’s the money go when you know gambling and people have an aversion and I want to do a whole segment on the blooper just just to learn more about a teacher audience a little bit where all this all this revenue will go and why we went to Annapolis and fought for 30 years to make all this legal that the money is going to come in where’s it going to go? I think that that’s a that’s a segment for the future though, John, I think

John Martin  19:13

Oh, absolutely. And again, where we are today is that squark this week also approved awarded licenses to other mobile entities and one other facility license. So that means Bally’s with a belly bet product and win with their win bet product are now involved in they will soon be involved in the control demonstration and final requirements. And I would expect both of them to be up and running before the Super Bowl.

Nestor Aparicio  19:43

were mentioned in all the places I went to Vegas, you know, I mean, I lost a win but I want it Bally’s you know like and I’ve stayed at both of them for various points. It’s been Vegas so these are familiar names.

John Martin  19:54

And we’re so what that means again, overall for for 2023 is we have seven sports books today. We had three that were already approved in November that are still waiting their final marching orders. Now we’ve added two more. So we’ll have five, that’ll get us to 12. And there were 21 applicants. So we still have nine mobile applicants to process in the first part of 2023. So that by this time next year, by football season next year, we could have 21 Mobile entities as well as anywhere from 15 to 20. Retail, to me, that’s a very mature market. Maybe too mature, but this is, you know, that’s that’s, that’s for a conversation at a later date. But that’s the way the dynamics are going to play out. And as I said, you know, we hope people are playing responsibly, that they’re there, they have a plan, they’re sticking to it. And they’re having some fun along the way. But at some point, I think this whole thing normalizes it stabilizes it has to

Nestor Aparicio  20:53

Alright, well this is your last chance to give the finger wagging the warning. And my wife’s not even here, her sister’s not listening about these tickets. And these are great holiday cash wrap. I’ll be giving these away on our 31st anniversary at cost this on Thursday as part of the Maryland lottery and our crabcake tour that we’re going to be doing and shipping crabcakes and doing all that. But this is once a year you you give the granddad’s speech and say don’t give these to kids don’t put these in stock. They look like they’re stocking too but they’re not stocking stuffers for kids.

John Martin  21:23

You know what, when did I graduate from the dad speech to the granddad speech? I mean, that was I caught that I caught out. Don’t think that was wasted on me. Absolutely. Thank you. And I know Ross did a good job of this. Last week it fails with the same message. Please gift responsibly. We asked you to play responsibly all year. But please gift responsibly. lottery tickets are not child’s play. You know, get a nice little toy for them. That’s age appropriate. But lottery tickets are meant to be shared with 18 years of age and older. So please, again, we can we can all take that as a cautionary tale. and have some fun over the holidays.

Nestor Aparicio  22:02

So Ross came down last week I had Dan Rodricks there I had Dave Atlin who was my old news editor at the papers were telling all newspaper stories dance telling all his Baltimore’s by the way his show you’re getting from Baltimore you with any anybody would love dance show. So Ross comes up and we’re giving tickets out and a lot of people get to kind of open around 1010 30 And I’m giving these ravens scratch offs when the Ross comes in with a with a new holiday a cash crops as well. And I was given them out to people and everybody there’s obviously 18 years of age, but I want to give it to somebody they’re like, they hold their hands back, like alligator arms are like, I don’t live in Maryland. And now I hear your speech about people driving through and I said no, no, no, you’re you know, you’re the right agent. You’re You’re while you’re part of the promotion, you can have this, but people were a little bit like it’s just Maryland I can’t take the ticket. So I’m learning what the rules are and what I can do and not do when we did have a big winner. We had a we had a $50 winner fails the other day, I had a screamer in the middle of fate, Lee’s 11 o’clock in the morning. So that’s always the most fun hope we have the same situation and $100 Winner Costas this time last year as I remember oh, I want to scratch all flash and 100 all winter. So John, I hope you’re a big winner here in this holiday season. Hope you have a beautiful holiday if we do not chat next week. I’m going in a little bit of a holiday cocoon. The man that saved my wife’s life. Nine years ago in the bone marrow registry is visiting us he’s coming over for the holidays. He’s bringing his wife we’re taking them in New York we’re having chestnuts roasting on an open fire. We’re doing the American Christmas for the German folks so it’s gonna be a special weekend next week. That is great

John Martin  23:27

news. Well Happy Holidays to you and yours as well. And maybe you could have made you could have him picked a Maryland lottery ticket of his choice because again, it looks like we’re catering to the tourism crowd. Is he German Is he allowed to win? I think he can I think we can I’m not sure if he’s allowed to win or not. But his his his currency conversion is on him but I think we will pay him and US Dollars

Nestor Aparicio  23:52

any trash talk on on the browser. And this is your opportunity.

John Martin  23:55


None needed. We are hardly in a position to trash talk. I am I am frustrated beyond all get out. And I just hope that no one gets to horribly hurt on Saturday.

Nestor Aparicio  24:06

It’s almost baseball season.

John Martin  24:08

Yes. Now there’s a positive spin.

Nestor Aparicio  24:10

There’s a good story. I knew you’d like that. I can’t call them the T word or the I word the mighty Guardians of the tongue but it’s getting there. John Martin is the director of all things Maryland lottery gaming. He has gifted me these fantastic holiday cash drop tickets. The gift to you at Doug Costas come on out celebrate 31 years of this crazy program here. We’re gonna be over constituting the rock and roll thing which is shock from the gogos. And there’s also going to be a bunch of musicians getting together as part of the show talking about her big show with the Hard Rock two weeks from now. So we’re having fun around here I am Nestor we are W nsda and 1570, Towson Baltimore. Drinking eggnog and Mike royal farms coffee this morning. I must say feeling a little seasonal. We are Baltimore Stay with us.

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