An ad promoting Kwikies (Maine Lottery)
Convenience-store owners in Maine are concerned that the state lottery wants to rebrand its scratch-off lottery tickets as "Kwikies."
“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, added. “[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.”
The newspaper provided some helpful context: "In slang terms, a quickie is a short sexual encounter."
But state lottery officials say 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. “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.
The newspaper interviewed a cashier who said he tested the new name by asking customers if they would like a Kwikie.
“I tried that on a couple of women," Tom Borden, a cashier at Fox Brook Variety in Dover-Foxcroft, said. "It didn’t go over very well."
UPDATE, March 19: The Bangor Daily News reports that state lottery officials have abandoned plans to rebrand its scratch-off tickets as "Kwikies":
“The Maine State Lottery is sensitive to the concerns of retailers and consumers alike,” said Gerry Reid, director of Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and 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.