Lottery ticket printer grants rare peek at new press
A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
Interested in this topic? You may also want to view these photo galleries:
Pollard, one of three biggest instant lottery ticket printers in the world, celebrated with speeches — and a rare peek at its production facility.
Donna Mathis cuts a stack of instant lottery tickets at Pollard Banknote in Ypsilanti Mich., after Pollards ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate their new 20 million dollar state-of-the-art instant lottery ticket press on Monday, September 21, 2015. Pollard is one of three companies in the world that print instant tickets all around the world. (Photo: Jessica J. Trevino, Detroit Free Press)
For about 30 minutes this afternoon, Pollard Banknote took the unusual step of stopping its new, instant-lottery ticket press so it could show it off.
“We’re halting production for a few minutes, not withstanding the fact we’ve got to get tickets out the door still to pay for this sucker,” Doug Pollard, the company’s co-CEO with his brother John, said as the din of the press in Ypsilanti was quieted. “But we’ll fire it back up after.”
A mostly family-owned company based in Winnipeg, Canada, Pollard is one of the three biggest instant lottery ticket companies in the world that prints instant lottery tickets. It celebrated the new press with speeches, visits from representatives from more than a half-dozen state lotteries — and a rare peek at its production facility.
DETROIT FREE PRESS
Shirts for short guys: the next big startup?
The new, state-of-the-art press — which is about as long as a football field, and three stories high — allows the company to print tickets faster and more efficiently than the previous press. The speed helps the company stay competitive in the industry. The press runs nearly 24 hours a day, six —sometimes seven days a week and prints about 20 million scratch-off tickets a day.
“It’s much more complex than people realize,” Pollard said. “It’s very specialized.”
It’s also highly focused on security.
Pollard said the new press puts up to 22 layers on each ticket, so the printing can’t be seen through the ticket before it’s scratched off. It also bar codes each ticket so it can be tracked from the printing plant to the store where it’s sold and then when it’s redeemed and ultimately destroyed.
The $200-million a year company started as a newspaper printer more than 100 years ago. It’s now three-fourths family owned by the Pollard family, which is in it’s fourth generation of ownership. It employs about 1,200 people worldwide, including about 150 in Ypsilanti.
In the 1970s, the company wanted out of newspaper printing business and began printing stocks, bonds and official documents that required a specialized process.
Later it aimed to print currency — thus the word ‘banknote’ in its name — for the Canadian government. But after Canada began minting a $1 coin, the demand for paper notes diminished, Pollard said. In the 1980s, the company shifted to printing instant lottery tickets.
The company now contracts with state lottery commissions and other games worldwide.
Despite having never printed banknotes, the company kept its name.
Instant lottery tickets printed at Pollard Banknote in Ypsilanti Mich., Pollard unveiled their 20 million dollar state-of-the-art instant lottery ticket press on Monday, September 21, 2015. Pollard is one of three companies in the world that print instant tickets all around the world. (Photo: Jessica J. Trevino, Detroit Free Press)
Michigan U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, who was on hand for the event and gently ribbed Pollard for his Canadian pronunciation of the word process, touted the company as a benefit to the state. She said the company not only prints instant tickets for the state but also creates union jobs, she pointed out.
Pollard said he expects to continue to hire, adding another 50 jobs within the next couple of years.
In recent years, instant lottery tickets have increased in popularity, industry watchers said, because players do not need to pick numbers or fill out forms — and they don’t have to wait for a drawing to find out whether they’ve won. In addition, some lottery players have what the industry calls jackpot fatigue — a lack of interest in playing for smaller pots.
In Michigan, more than one-third of the state’s lottery $1 billion in revenues comes from scratch-off tickets, said Scott Bowen, Michigan’s lottery commissioner.
“The jackpots get so high people only want to play for the big amounts,” said Bill Hanson, the director of the lottery in Washington, who attended the ribbon-cutting, and to see where some of this state’s scratch-off tickets are printed. “If we didn’t have the instant games, we’d be history.”
Representatives from other state lotteries, including Iowa, Missouri, Virginia, Vermont, Texas and Maryland were on hand.
“We’re excited to see what this press can do, and how Pollard is going to step up its game,” said Kate Airey, from the Maryland Lottery. “It’s huge. It’s automated. And the lower cost to print tickets will cut down the cost for everybody.”
In addition to printing, Pollard said, the company also has a hand in designing the games — and picking colors and graphics.
“We wouldn’t be making this investment if we didn’t have the confidence in that category and our industry,” he said. “We look forward to, on the strength of this press, continuing to help lotteries around the world keep generating revenue sales and continue to generating record amounts for good causes.”
L-R, Ypsilanti Twp. supervisor Brenda Strumbo, Co- CEO’s John and Doug Pollard and Terry Rich Lottery director of the state of Iowa cut the ribbon at Pollard Banknote in Ypsilanti Mich., to celebrate their 20 million dollar state-of-the-art instant lottery ticket press on Monday, September 21, 2015. Pollard is one of three companies in the world that print instant tickets all around the world. (Photo: Jessica J. Trevino, Detroit Free Press)
Pollard Banknote’s new press
The Canadian-based, family owned company showcased its press — which it called one of the most advanced in the industry for printing instant tickets — in Ypailanti.
Location: 775 James L Hart Parkway
Cost: $20 million
State lotteries: More than 20
Total lotteries worldwide: 50
Facility size: 90,000 square feet
Employees: 150 in Ypsilanti, expected to increase
Pollard, one of three biggest instant lottery ticket printers in the world, celebrated with a rare peek at its production facility.