A tiny company based in Prince Edward Island is creating a big buzz at the world junior hockey championship in Saskatoon. Two-year-old 50/50 Central has developed innovative software and wireless technology that has given a modern, high-speed twist to a long-standing rinkside tradition: the 50-50 draw.
The system allows potential ticket buyers to watch the pot grow every time a ticket is purchased. This immediate incentive has translated into rapidly growing prize pools and added excitement in the stands.
On New Year’s Eve, when Canada played the United States, the 15,000 fans at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon purchased $187,050 worth of 50-50 tickets, creating a cash prize of more than $93,000 or $12.50 per fan.
Here’s how it works: At each game, fans purchase tickets from one of the vendors carrying a handheld, wireless terminal and a wireless printer. Everytime someone buys a ticket(s) the new total for the draw is immediately beamed to all of the closed-circuit televisions in the stadium. During games, as the jackpot displayed on the in-arena video display rises rapidly, the lineups grow longer for tickets and the banter in the stands often turns to the interactive lottery.
The host committee will use its share of the proceeds to pay for the tournament. The net profit will be funnelled into minor hockey programs.