A year after the IVU Loto twice-weekly sweepstakes launched, less than 15 percent of winners have claimed their prizes. Treasury Department data shows that so far, only 87 out of 580 winners have taken home their pay. Combined, winners have claimed $146,500, or a fraction of the $761,000 the agency has offered in cash prizes, News is my Business confirmed Wednesday.
IVU Loto began as a pilot program in Ponce in December 2010 and began expanding to the rest of the island the following month. IVU Loto is a two-pronged initiative through which the government seeks to crack down on sales tax evasion by requiring retailers to use a special point-of-sale device that reports the amount of a transaction, and the associated sales, tax back to the Treasury Department. This way, the agency knows exactly how much it should be collecting.
So far, a little more than 33,000 retailers have hooked up the POS devices to their cash register systems.
IVU Loto also involves consumers because the system prints a 10-digit alphanumeric code on the transaction receipt that is their automatic entry in twice-weekly sweepstakes that as of early November give away $30,000 per drawing.
So far, the agency has conducted 99 drawings for 580 prizes during giveaways on Saturdays and Wednesdays. That means that the 87 people who have pocketed their cash represent just 15 percent of the winners.
Part of the reason for the low claim rate could have to do with the fact that consumers may not be keeping their receipts, or checking them against the winning combinations, the agency has acknowledged.
In an attempt to increase the participation rate both by retailers and consumers, right before Black Friday, the Treasury Department upped the grand prize from $10,000 to $25,000 and introduced multiple ways for consumers to check their receipts, which includes newspapers and a website.
“We want citizens to understand the receipt verification process well and adopt it as part of their routine, as they may be winning a prize of up to $25,000,” said Treasury Secretary Jesús Méndez said, referring to the grand prize up for grabs twice a week.
The agency also launched a special second-chance weekly drawing — which requires registering losing IVU Loto combinations — to compete for five $1,000 prizes and larger items such as the Jeep Patriot to be given away Jan. 14, 2012.