Lucky Shots: New York and Maryland Push COVID-19 Vaccines With Multimillion-Dollar Lottery Promos

  • Governors Cuomo and Hogan both announced their statewide shots incentives on Thursday
  • New York’s Vax & Scratch scheme has $20 scratch-off tickets up for grabs with a $5m top prize
  • Both New York and Maryland’s fully vaccinated rate stands at 44% of their populations
  • Maryland’s VaxCash promotion offers $40,000 daily wins and a grand prize of $400,000
  • Ohio’s gamified shots push has led to “a 53% week-to-week increase in vaccines” for the state
Man in surgical mask holds up American hundred-dollar bills
New York and Maryland have jumped on Kentucky and Ohio’s vaccines gamification train by offering millions of dollars in prizes through state lottery draws. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Top prize for New Yorkers is $5m

New York and Maryland have followed Kentucky and Ohio by announcing multimillion-dollar lottery promotions where the prime entry criterion is a COVID-19 shot in the arm.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his Maryland counterpart Larry Hogan both announced their vaccination drives on Thursday. Cuomo took to Twitter to announce the New York State Vax & Scratch incentive, with a top scratch-off lottery ticket prize of $5m:

Vax & Scratch rolls out on May 24 across an initial ten statewide shots sites, where each person getting vaccinated will receive a free New York State Lottery ticket worth $20.

In an official news release, Cuomo said: “The more New Yorkers we can get vaccinated, the better our situation and the faster we can return to a new normal.”

Hopes lottery will attract the shot-shy

In the news release from the NY Governor’s press office, Cuomo stressed the need to “get creative” with encouraging more people to take the needle, “as vaccination rates slow across the state.”

Cuomo stressed the need to “get creative” with encouraging more people to take the needle

It’s a similar story over in Maryland. According to data published May 20 in The New York Times, both Maryland and New York have exactly the same percentage of the population that is totally vaccinated: 44%. To get Maryland vaccination rates up, Governor Larry Hogan announced a $2m VaxCash promotion that kicks off on May 25. Until July 3, each Marylander getting a shot receives free entry into a Maryland Lottery-run promotion.

Governor Hogan highlighted the need for Marylanders to get vaccinated in order to “protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your fellow Marylanders.”

The Maryland Lottery shared the mechanics of the promotion via Twitter:

A winner drawn daily takes home $40,000, while a final Fourth of July draw will award one lucky participant a grand prize of $400,000.

fun-filled summer where the pandemic is a distant memory”

Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica said: “Putting COVID-19 in the rearview mirror is great for Maryland’s businesses.” Medenica then painted a Utopian picture of a “fun-filled summer where the pandemic is a distant memory.”

So far, so good for gamification

Adding a gamified angle to state vaccination drives is trending fast in the US. Kentucky drew first blood with its $225,000 winner-takes-all Cash Ball lottery promotion, launched on May 11.

Not to be outdone and upping the prize ante a day later was Ohio. Governor Mike DeWine’s brainchild Vax-a-Million offers five Ohioans the chance to win $1m on five consecutive Wednesdays, starting May 26, via the state lottery.

a 53% week-to-week increase in vaccines”

While the draws are yet to begin, CBS reported that, so far, Ohio’s Vax-a-Million appears to be working. According to the news network, the state reported a rise in shots since it announced its lottery scheme. Preliminary data points to “a 53% week-to-week increase in vaccines from May 13 to 18 compared with the week prior.”