Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lotto Max: Why Only 49 Maxmillions Drawings?

The most attractive aspect of the Lotto Max game is the MAXMILLIONS feature which is triggered when the Jackpot pool exceeds the C$50 million cap. For each million above that level, a separate Maxmillions number is drawn, thus giving multiple players the opportunity to win (or share) additional C$1M prizes as well. Therefore, it is no wonder that Canadian lottery players flocked to the game the past few weeks. With the advertised prizes of:

C$50 Million + 55 Maxmillions

for the June 25, 2010 drawing, tickets were selling at an unprecedented pace.

However, you can imagine the disappointment players experienced when only 49 MAXMILLIONS results were posted.

What happened to the remaining 6 
advertised Maxmillions numbers?

This post examines this question and attempts to provide answers to the bewildered population.

Why Disappointment?
When a product is advertised, the purchasing public expects the seller to truthful in the product description and trusts that the product will be delivered as described. The advertised June 25th Lotto Max prize offerings were C$50M + 55 Maxmillions. However, only 49 Maxmillions were delivered. That's a difference of C$6 million and represents a large amount of money.

Additionally, the missing 6 Maxmillions numbers represented the opportunity for 6 more players to win a million dollars. By not delivering as advertised, opportunities were lost and dreams denied.

Money Was Available for 55 Maxmillions on June 25th
The table below summarizes the Lotto Max money raised and paid out during the previous cycle. As shown, the advertised jackpot began at C$10M on April 30th and continued to grow until the C$50M cap was reached on June 4th. Thereafter, the jackpot remained constant and estimated Maxmillions offerings appeared from June 11th onward. Below that are: the 7/7 jackpot prize carry over amounts; the current drawing 7/7 prize pool; and the 6/7+bonus prize pools. These three rows are added together to determine the actual amount of money available to be paid out in that drawing. From the cash available, jackpot and the net Maxmillions payouts are deducted, thus determining the 7/7 money pool to be carried forward to the next drawing.

Table LM-1: Lotto Max Cash Raised and Paid
Drawing 4/30 5/7 5/14 5/21 5/28 6/4 6/11 6/18 6/25 7/2
Advertised Jackpot 10.0 15.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 50.0 50.0 50.0 30.0

Maxmillions 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 20.0 45.0 55.0 0.0
Carry Over Jackpot 10.0 15.7 21.3 27.9 36.0 46.0 62.8 72.0 75.9 31.1
7/7 Pool 5.7 5.6 6.3 8.1 10.0 17.8 24.3 33.9 34.2 n/a
6/7+Bonus 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 n/a
Cash Available 15.7 21.3 27.9 36.0 46.0 63.8 87.0 105.9 110.1 n/a
Paid Jackpot 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 50.0 n/a
Offered MaxMillions 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 5.0 27.0 45.0 49.0 0.0
Not Paid MaxMillions 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.0 12.0 15.0 20.0 0.0
Carry Over to Next Dwg 15.7 21.3 27.9 36.0 46.0 62.8 72.0 75.9 31.1 n/a

As shown, there was C$110.1 million available for Jackpot and Maxmillions winnings in the June 25th drawing. This amount exceeded the advertised C$50M+55 Maximillions by over C$5 million.

However, the Lotto Max organization reduced the Maxmillions drawings by C$6 million, even though money was available. This does not seem like a rational decision since it had previously increased the Maxmillions offerings in the June 4th and 11th (shown in red).

Why was the Maxmillions Reduced?
Realizing that Lotto Max had money to payout the additional C$6 Maxmillions, we have theorized 4 possible reasons:
  1. Computer Error: The Lotto Max Game Conditions state: "and ILC will cause, immediately after the Main Draw, at least as many series of seven numbers (being seven different numbers) to be drawn at random from among all numbers from 1 to 49 (each such series of seven numbers is a "Special Series") as there are tranches of $1,000,000 in ..."  Perhaps this statement was misunderstood and the program that selects the Maxmillions drawings was erroneously written to stop at 49 drawings.
  2. Duplicate Numbers Selected: Continuing on the above quote, perhaps 55 Maxmillions drawings were generated, but 6 of those resulted in duplicate numbers, and were therefore rejected.
  3. Inflate Jackpot for Next Drawing: Lotto Max tickets sell when the jackpot is higher. By reducing the number of Maxmillions offerings, the additional C$6 million was intentionally used to help begin the next drawing sequence at C$30 million.
  4. Estimation Error: The Lotto Max organization has tried to explain that all jackpot offerings are estimates. When revenue does not perform as projected, the estimates need to be revised upward or downward. After a review the Table above, it seems unlikely that irrational estimates were forecast.

Having summarized the past 9 jackpot drawings, and understanding the results, we remain convinced that Lotto Max should have delivered the full 55 MAXMILLIONS drawings as advertised throughout the week prior to the June 25th drawing. Not delivering as advertised, players may become reluctant to spend C$5 for a ticket because they have lost confidence in the Lotto Max organization.

However, we do not believe that Lotto Max acted maliciously, nor did it attempt to retain income as a hidden profit. All money collected has been allocated back to the players, but not in the sequence as expected.

All information derived in this article were obtained from the Canadian Lottery sites:


  1. Thanks John for the excellent analysis. I concur with your summary. I've already sent inquiries to OLG as well as to a Toronto news radio station and a national TV news station asking why the public has not been given an explanation to this "6 million dollar question". If I hear back (unlikely) I'll let you know!

  2. Anonymous,

    The "6 million dollar question" - What a great way to phrase it.
    I appreciate your comment, the follow up with the various organizations, and especially the speed at which you followed my post. Hopefully we will be able to generate enough interest and receive an honest explanation.



  3. There is plenty of interest but until it hits the media, people will not know. I'm a retailer and I tell my customers to keep their LottoMax tickets until a solution is found.

  4. Update - Here's how OLG responded to my concern (disappointing, as expected - ignore the math, blame it on sales):

    Thank you for contacting OLG concerning MAXMILLIONS.

    For the June 25, 2010 LOTTO MAX draw, although we estimated there would be 55 MAXMILLIONS draws, sales supported 49 MAXMILLIONS draws. The actual number of MAXMILLIONS prizes is determined by sales and the number of MAXMILLIONS not won on the previous draw, if any.

    It is important to note in our jackpot advertising for all our games, the advertised number of MAXMILLIONS prizes prior to a draw being held is always an estimate. In some cases, the number of MAXMILLIONS will be lower than estimated, and sometimes it will be higher. For example, with the June 11, 2010 LOTTO MAX draw, we estimated there would be 20 MAXMILLIONS; however, sales leading up to the draw were strong enough that we offered 27 MAXMILLIONS draws.

    I hope you find this information helpful, and I wish you best of luck on future tickets. If you have any further questions, please e-mail us again, or contact our OLG Customer Support Centre toll-free at 1-800-387-0098.


    OLG Support Centre
    Email: olgcontactus@olg.ca


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