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The Illinois Lottery has hired a hitman.

Bret "Hitman" Hart, along with fellow WCW wrestlers "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Fred Goldberg, will be among those featured in the lottery's new Wrestling Match instant-win game, the lottery's first tie-in with the sport. Fifteen of the WCW's finest will have their faces splashed across the $2 tickets, and Mr. Goldberg will be featured in a TV, radio and in-store campaign breaking today from Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago.

In the spot, produced by the WCW, Mr. Goldberg threatens and blusters at the viewer in typical macho style-under the misunderstanding that in order to win the viewer must take on the wrestler. The unseen announcer is too timid to correct Mr. Goldberg's mistake.

The commercial also promotes a new twist to the promotion, offering players the opportunity to turn in non-winning tickets for a free WCW T-shirt.


"The WCW is a big property, and a lot of marketers are tying in with them," said Cathy Beres, deputy director of marketing at the Illinois Lottery. "We're doing it in a non-violent way."

The WCW linkup is only one means the lottery has employed to spice up the appeal of its instant-win games. Other pop culture icons have appeared on tickets within the past few years. Among them: "Baywatch" characters, Lucy and Desi, and the Three Stooges.

Its Marilyn Monroe instant game proved so popular it's been adopted by other states, Ms. Beres said.

"From my experience, Illinois has been a leader in pursuing this kind of thing," she said.

The most recent innovation for the Illinois Lottery has been instant game tickets promoting upcoming feature films. Last year's game with TriStar Pictures' "The Mask of Zorro" has led to a current instant-win game featuring MGM's "The Mod Squad," and Ms. Beres said the Lottery is planning another game this summer with a new Universal Studios movie she declined to discuss.


According to the lottery's most recent full-year annual report, Illinois introduced 51 new instant-win games in 1997, which generated $636.2 million in sales. That made instant games the biggest portion by far of the lottery's total $1.5 billion in sales in '97.

Although instant-win sales were down 2% from 1996, the report pegged 1997 as the lottery's second-best year ever for those games. And years like that, the

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