Hot Lotto

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Hot Lotto is a multi-state lottery game administered by the Iowa-based Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), which is best known for operating the Mega Millions and Powerball games. Hot Lotto is available in 15 jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia.

Hot Lotto began sales on April 7, 2002; its first drawing was on April 10. Hot Lotto gives smaller lotteries the opportunity to create the "middle-sized" jackpots that are commonplace in single-state games which serve a sizable population base, such as Florida Lotto and California Super Lotto Plus.

Hot Lotto drawings are held Wednesday and Saturday (the same nights as Powerball) at MUSL's headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa. Normally, the Hot Lotto drawing is immediately following the 9:59 p.m. Central Time Powerball drawing. Unlike Powerball, the Hot Lotto drawings are not televised; its drawings use a random number generator (RNG), instead of ball-drawing machines.

Hot Lotto drawings have been recorded and shown online since early 2006; originally, Hot Lotto's drawings were televised. While Powerball drawings moved to Florida in 2009 with the Florida Lottery joining that game, the Hot Lotto drawings (and MUSL headquarters) remained in Iowa.

The Sizzler option, which triples non-jackpot prizes, was added in 2008. The basic game, $1 per play, was unchanged until May 12, 2013, when the advertised jackpot changed from the annuity value (25 equal yearly payments) to cash, and "taxes-paid"; the annuity option was eliminated, as winners almost always chose cash/lump sum instead of the long-term payout.

Playing Hot Lotto[edit]

A player pays $1 (or $2 if the Sizzler option is desired; see below) and picks five numbers from 1 through 47, plus one additional number (the “Hot Ball”) from 1 through 19 drawn from a second, separate pool, or asks for terminal-selected numbers, known by various lotteries as "easy pick", "quick-pick", etc., for the five white numbers, the "Hot Ball", or all six. (The "Hot Ball" in any game can be a duplicate of one of the five "white" numbers.)

Sizzler option[edit]

Hot Lotto has an option, called Sizzler (in North Dakota, Triple Sizzler), where players can win triple the normal amount of any prize except the jackpot; for example, second prize (see below), which normally wins $30,000, is tripled to $90,000 if the player activated the Sizzler option.

The Sizzler option began in January 2008, although Idaho and the District of Columbia did not immediately offer it. (Idaho waited because of legal action by the Sizzler steakhouse chain.[citation needed])


A player wins as follows:

Matches Current prize amount† with Sizzler Odds of winning†
Hot Ball only (0+1) $2 $6 1:34
1 white ball number plus Hot Ball (1+1) $3 $9 1:52
2 white ball numbers plus Hot Ball (2+1) $6 $18 1:254
3 white ball numbers without Hot Ball (3+0) $6 $18 1:188
3 white ball numbers plus Hot Ball (3+1) $100 $300 1:3,385
4 white ball numbers without Hot Ball (4+0) $100 $300 1:7,710
4 white ball numbers plus Hot Ball (4+1) $3,000 $9,000 1:138,785
All 5 white ball numbers without Hot Ball (5+0) $30,000 $90,000 1:1,619,158
All 5 white ball numbers plus Hot Ball (5+1) Net cash jackpot N/A 1:29,144,841

†Effective May 12, 2013. Current overall odds are 1:17.

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

Prize payouts[edit]

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

A jackpot won on or before May 11, 2013 entitled a winner of the choice of cash or receiving 25 equal yearly payments. These winners had 25 percent withheld towards Federal taxes (and additional withholding in most cases.)

The minimum jackpot is $1,000,000; rollovers are at least $50,000 per drawing. A jackpot winner receives cash (although not necessarily in one payment); however, the "pre-withholding" amount must be declared for income tax purposes.

Depending on where a Hot Lotto ticket is purchased, winners (jackpot or otherwise) have from 90 days to 1 year in which to claim their prize.

Hot Lotto participants[edit]

Charter member

Former member:

The 15 Hot Lotto participants are spread out over most regions of the contiguous United States. Tennessee, with a population of approximately 6.3 million as of the 2010 Census, is Hot Lotto′s most-populous member.

The minimum age to purchase a Hot Lotto ticket is 18, except in Iowa, where it is 21.

Subscription play for Hot Lotto is available in North Dakota,[1] New Hampshire,[2] and Minnesota;[3] however, all jurisdictions that offer Hot Lotto allow advance play; the number of draws varies by member. Subscription play is restricted to adults with an address in one of these three states. In New Hampshire, players may buy subscriptions via the New Hampshire Lottery, even if their residence is elsewhere.[2]

Since Hot Lotto is a multi-jurisdictional game, a jackpot winner does not necessarily collect their prize in lump sum. This is because each of the game's members hold on to the accumulating jackpot money until after the jackpot is won. A winner, initially, receives a payment representing the cash in the jackpot pool accumulated from the winning Hot Lotto member; then a second payment for the remainder of the cash value, for the funds accumulated from the jackpot pool from each of the other lotteries.

Fraud scandal[edit]

On January 15, 2015, Eddie Raymond Tipton, MUSL's director of information security, was arrested on two counts of fraud in relation to allegations that he had tampered with the Hot Lotto random number generator in order to win a jackpot. Court proceedings on the matter began on April 13, 2015; prosecutors believed that Tipton had used his privileged access to the secured room housing the Hot Lotto computer, "ostensibly to change the time on the computers", and then used a flash drive to install a rootkit on the computer on November 20, 2010. It was additionally believed that he had changed the settings on the security cameras in the room to record only one frame per second in order to prevent detection. Surveillance footage from a QuikTrip convenience store near MUSL's Des Moines headquarters, filmed on December 23, 2010, showed a man identified as Tipton purchasing the ticket for the drawing that he had rigged, using a betslip.[4][5][6]

The winning ticket was left unclaimed until hours before its expiry one year later, when New York attorney Crawford Shaw attempted to claim the ticket on behalf of a Belize-based company, Hexham Investments Trust. The Iowa Lottery refused to release the winnings to the trust because it did not allow anonymous prize claims, and the representatives of the trust had not identified themselves. Although Shaw withdrew the trust's claim on the ticket in February 2012, the suspicious nature of the trust prompted an investigation by Iowa's Division of Criminal Investigation. By means of a person from Quebec City identified as the trust's president, the trust was found to be connected to two people from Sugar Land, Texas, including Robert Rhodes, whom Tipton has professional relations and had contact with and was in Des Moines during the period that Tipton had purchased the ticket. Rhodes would also be arrested in Texas on two counts of fraud.[6][4]


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