Hot Lotto

Hot Lotto

Hot Lotto is administered by the United States' Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), which also operates the Powerball lottery game. As of May 16, 2008, Hot Lotto is available in 13 of the 31 MUSL jurisdictions (12 states and the District of Columbia; see list below). Its first drawing was on April 10, 2002 as part of MUSL celebrating the 10th anniversary of Powerball (the original six states offering Hot Lotto were: Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and West Virginia.) Hot Lotto also gives smaller lotteries an opportunity to create the "middle-sized" jackpots found in the larger, single-state games.

Hot Lotto drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday, the same drawing days as Powerball, including when either day falls on a December 25, (when some MUSL members do not hold in-state drawings) at MUSL's headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa. Normally, the Hot Lotto drawing is immediately following the 9:59 p.m. Central Time (10:59 p.m. Eastern; 8:59 p.m. Mountain; 7:59 p.m. (Pacific) drawing of Powerball. Unlike Powerball, the Hot Lotto drawings are not televised, and are drawn with a random number generator (RNG), using radioactive material, rather than actual computers, since "true" computerized drawings are very unpopular with lottery players) instead of a rubber ball/gravity mix or air mix and ping-pong ball machine. (Hot Lotto drawings had been televised until early 2006. While Powerball drawings will be moved to Florida in 2009 with the Florida Lottery joining that game, the Hot Lotto drawings will remain in Iowa.)

The record for the game's largest prize belongs to John Hall of Indianola, Iowa; he won almost $20 million in the January 13, 2007 drawing. He chose the cash option of about $11.9 million.

Hot Lotto is the fourth of a series of "secondary" multi-state games optional to jurisdictions that already offer Powerball; it is the longest-lasting such game. (The first was "Daily Millions"; Hot Lotto replaced "Rolldown", which had a different line-up of MUSL members then those that began Hot Lotto.)

Playing the game

To participate, a player pays $1 and picks five numbers from 1-39, plus one additional number (the “Hot Ball”) from 1-19 drawn from a second, separate pool, or asks for terminal-selected numbers, known in some US lotteries as "quick-picks", for the five white numbers, or the "Hot Ball", or all six. (The "Hot Ball" in any game, on a ticket and/or actually drawn, can be a duplicate of one of the five regular numbers.) Players also have the option of wagering $2 on any set of five numbers and the Hot Ball, winning three times the normal amount for any prize except the jackpot; this is called the "Sizzler" tripler. The Sizzler is now available in all 13 Hot Lotto jurisdictions.

The player wins as follows:

Overall odds of winning (rounded to the whole number) are 1:16.

The Hot Ball cannot "cross over" to be used to match any of the five regular numbers, and vice versa.

The payout percentage is 50 percent, which is the "usual" return to players for US lottery games in which they can choose numbers.

"Sizzler" option

"Main article: Sizzler (Hot Lotto)"

The Sizzler option for non-jackpot prizes began on January 3, 2008; the first such drawing was on January 5. The Sizzler is similar to Powerball's PowerPlay; however, the lower-tier prizes are automatically tripled (if the Sizzler option was chosen for that game) rather than using a special multiplier wheel. (In North Dakota, the option is known as Triple Sizzler.) Unlike Powerball's yearly (beginning in 2006) 10x PowerPlay promotion, there has never been a variation of the Sizzler's tripling of lower-tier prizes. All 13 Hot Lotto members now offer the "Sizzler" option (Idaho and the District of Columbia did not offer the tripler when it began, however.)

Prizes are determined by a modified parimutuel system; except under special circumstances, only the jackpot pool (among the prize categories) is shared among multiple winners.

The minimum jackpot prize is US$1 million annuity disbursed in 25 equal payments over 24 years. If there is no selection matching all five correct numbers and the "Hot Ball", the jackpot prize pool is rolled over into the following drawing, increasing by at least $50,000 each time. (When Hot Lotto began, the minimum rollover was $100,000; it was reduced later in 2002.) All jackpot estimates (annuity and cash) are rounded to the nearest $10,000.

Jackpot winners have the option of receiving the annuity prize (mentioned above), or the present-day cash value (see below.) The latter is the then-current value of the annuity, which is 55% to 65% of the annuity value depending on prevailing interest rates. In general, Hot Lotto members give jackpot winners time in which to choose either cash or the annuity; the usual choice is cash (a jackpot ticket defaults to annuity if the ticket holder(s) fail to make the choice within the 60 days, except in Idaho (30 days); furthermore, unlike other Hot Lotto Group members, Idaho "starts the clock" with the drawing, rather than when the ticket is claimed.) Depending on where a Hot Lotto ticket is purchased, winners (jackpot or otherwise) have from 90 days to one year in which to claim their prize (see below).

Hot Lotto participants

All six original Hot Lotto Group members, as well as four of the seven which later joined, have sold at least one Hot Lotto jackpot ticket. (North Dakota, whose lottery began in early 2004, has also yet to produce a Powerball jackpot winner.)

Except in Iowa (21), the minimum age to purchase a Hot Lotto ticket is 18. In many, if not all, cases, minors may receive a Hot Lotto ticket as a gift.

After Hot Lotto's beginning in 2002, no new members joined for two years; however, in even-numbered years since, two MUSL jurisdictions have been added in each such year, including 2008, in addition to one state in 2007.

Idaho had offered an unrelated in-state game called "Hot Lotto" in the 1990s. It was a pick-5-of-32 game whose "jackpot" rolled down if no top prize winner; this may explain why Idaho was reluctant to offer the multi-state Hot Lotto until 2007. The addition of Idaho means that Hot Lotto is now played in all four time zones of the contiguous United States. Also, no MUSL member (i.e. Connecticut, Missouri, Arizona) that offered a "classic"-style annuitized jackpot game when Hot Lotto began in 2002 has replaced such a game with Hot Lotto.

The District of Columbia was to be among the game's "charter" members; however, there were personnel problems at the D.C. Lottery. Approximately two years later, it was the first MUSL member to join Hot Lotto "in progress".

Subscription play for Hot Lotto is available only within North Dakota. However, all jurisdictions offering Hot Lotto allow advance play; the number of draws varies by member. Since Hot Lotto is a multi-state game, a jackpot winner selecting "cash option" does not necessarily collect their prize in lump sum. This is because each of the 13 jurisdictions holds on to the accumulating jackpot money until after the jackpot is won. A cash option winner first receives a check representing the cash in the jackpot pool accumulated from the winning MUSL member; then a second check for the remainder of the cash value, for the funds accumulated from the jackpot pools from each of the other lotteries selling Hot Lotto.

When Hot Lotto began, the lotteries in North Dakota (began in 2004) and Oklahoma (2005) had not yet been formed.

Hot Lotto continues to expand

Delaware is the latest state to join Hot Lotto, on January 28, 2008; it offers the Sizzler option. This gives Hot Lotto 13 members, one more than Mega Millions, although the latter is a super-jackpot game. (Mega Millions replaced The Big Game the month after Hot Lotto began.)

The District of Columbia added the Sizzler option on March 2, 2008; its first drawing with the multiplier was on March 5. Idaho also is planning to eventually allow it as well.

Due to heavy snow in New Hampshire in December 2007, some lottery retailers did not receive the new Hot Lotto bet slips in time for the beginning of the Sizzler option on January 3, 2008. Players who wanted to be eligible for the new prize levels, however, were able to ask for Sizzler "easy picks", and/or have the numbers typed in by lottery agents.

Despite the seven additions of MUSL members to Hot Lotto, there are no concrete plans to alter the 5/39 + 1/19 double matrix. The Sizzler option is the first rule change since Hot Lotto began, although the $1 "base game" is exactly the same as from Hot Lotto's 2002 inception.

None of its 13 participants have withdrawn from selling the game; this has happened with several previous MUSL games (i.e. Daily Millions, Rolldown, the original version of Wild Card) before each was discontinued.

Hot Lotto is expected to continue to add states; Kentucky is considering joining it in its 2009 fiscal year.

Restaurant chain taking action against MUSL over "Sizzler" name

The Sizzler International restaurant chain threatened to sue MUSL for using the word "Sizzler" for the optional tripler in the Hot Lotto game. [] The Idaho Lottery waited until after the issue was settled before offering the tripler (ironically, Idaho was home to six of the chain's steakhouses; Montana and New Mexico are the other states that have both the Hot Lotto game and Sizzler restaurants.) []

The District of Columbia did not offer the Sizzler option until March 2, 2008; likewise, Idaho (because of the restaurant's legal action) did not institute Sizzler until July 3. (Delaware did not join Hot Lotto until after Sizzler began, but the tripler was available there upon joining.)

External links

* [ Delaware Lottery]

* [ D.C. Lottery]

* [ Idaho Lottery]

* [ Iowa Lottery]

* [ Kansas Lottery]

* [ Minnesota Lottery]

* [ Montana Lottery]

* [ New Hampshire Lottery]

* [ New Mexico Lottery]

* [ North Dakota Lottery]

* [ Oklahoma Lottery]

* [ South Dakota Lottery]

* [ West Virginia Lottery]

* [ Hot Lotto (MUSL site)]

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