Maine Lottery Quits 'Kwikie'

Drops suggestive game name after it draws snickers, criticism

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Although the change may have come too late to stop the late-night comedians from making hay, Maine's instant lottery tickets will not be branded as "Kwikies."

Convenience store owners, other lottery retailers and consumers in the Pine Tree State were concerned that the name "Kwikies" was too sexually suggestive.

"The Maine State Lottery is sensitive to the concerns of retailers and consumers alike," said Gerry Reid, director of the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations. "We recently tested a new brand name for our instant ticket games, and the initial response was encouraging. But after a larger sampling of retailers and consumers, the negative concerns were clear. As a result, the Lottery has decided to abandon further pursuit of the Kwikies name."

He added, "Kwikies was never officially implemented by the Maine State Lottery, and its assessment could have been handled better and faster. On behalf of the Lottery, I regret any inconvenience or confusion this may have created."

The lottery ran a contest (see embedded video) in February for consumers to guess the game's name.

"That's going to be real uncomfortable for my girls behind the register to have guys come in and say, 'Hey, give me a Kwikie'," David Welch, owner of Village Market in Fairfield, Me., told The Bangor Daily News after receiving a letter from the Maine State Lottery informing him of the plan.

"It's highly inappropriate," Kaylee Constable, one of Welch's employees, told the newspaper. "[Customers] come in and joke around with me and say, 'Can I get a Kwikie?' I'm only 19 years old, and I have 40- and 50-year-old men saying sexual remarks to me."

State lottery officials had said the origin of the new name has nothing to do with sex. "The benefit of buying this ticket is that it's quick, easy and fun," Gerry Reid, director of the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations, told the paper last week. "That's what an instant ticket is."

The state lottery sells the instant tickets--priced between $1 and $20--at about 1,300 retail stores, generating about $30 million a year for the state's general fund, said the report.