While we normally welcome improvements to the various lottery games, we do not believe that the new 2013 Hot Lotto changes will assist in attracting more players. Overall, the odds of winning any prize increase from 1 in 16.09 to 1 in 17.22, while the amount of money returned to the players decreases from 32.9% to 27.4%. This means it will be harder to win less money!
Hot Lotto used to be a small niche game offering a chance to win a minimum of $1 million at odds less than a Pick 6 game. Now, a player can win a little more than a million dollars at twice the odds of Pick 6.
First, the number of white balls will increase from 39 to 47 numbers. This means that the chance of winning the jackpot prize will increase from approximately 1 in 11 million to 1 in 29 million. Thus, it will be almost 3 times more difficult to win the top prize.
To offset this increased risk of losing, the guaranteed jackpot minimum will be increased by 1.4 to 1.5 times, depending in which state which the jackpot winners lives. This is achieved because the federal and state taxes on the jackpot prize will be paid directly by the lottery association. This means the minimum jackpot increase is only a quarter of the increase in the odds. So, when the jackpot value is low, we are not very keen on this new game format.
No longer will the jackpot winner have the choice to taking a single discounted cash prize, or a 25 payment annuity. Instead, all prizes will be paid straight out, as cash.
In the game, players must still choose a Hot Ball number in the range of 1 to 19. This has not changed.
To help make the game more attractive to players, payouts for several prizes will be increased. But, as shown below, only 2 prize levels have increase more than the odds have increased.
Lastly, players will still have the option to purchase the Sizzler option at a cost of $1 more per ticket. The prize payouts to winners with this option will have their prize value multiplied by 3. This does not apply to jackpot winners however.
The tables below summarize and compare 4 aspects of the new Hot Lotto game format to that of the existing game.
Chances of Winning 2013 Hot Lotto
First we will examine the odds of winning and the the number of winning combinations in the new Hot Lotto Game.
From the above two tables, we can make two observations:
- Although the odds of winning either the jackpot or second tier prize increased substantially, the absolute possible of winners in those categories did not change at all.
- The chance of holding a losing ticket combination has increased proportionately more than the increase in total overall odds (205.7% increase in losers verses 166.4% increase in odds).
Now let's examine the change to the payout structure.
Here we see that the prizes that increased the most in value are for those who: match 5 white balls and not the Hot Ball; and match 4 white balls and the Hot Ball.
Wow, these to prizes go from $10,000 to $30,000 and $500 to $3,000 respectively!
But, remember, that there are very few people who will win these prizes. There will still be only 18 possible winners of the $30,000 prize, and only 210 of the $3,000 prize.
What this means is that the MUSL is relying on a players dream to win a larger amount, and hoping that they do not understand that the dream is fruitless.
Think of it this way. The odds of winning the $3,000 Hot Lotto prize is 1 in 138,784.96. But, a person who plays the Pick 4 game has a 1 in 10,000 chance to win between $2,500 to $3,000. Meaning it is 13 time easier to win the same amount of money.
We find it difficult to rationalize the changes made to the 2013 Hot Lotto Game. We do not believe the minimum jackpot level of $1 million will attract more players. Instead, we find that there will be less winners, 5.81% compared to 6.21%, and there will be many more losers.
Players hoping to win equivalent prize payouts will have better opportunities playing their state's Pick 4 and Pick 6 games.
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