New York Lottery
The New York Lottery began in 1967 as the third modern U.S. lottery, after Puerto Rico's began in 1934, and New Hampshire's in 1964. It provides revenue for public education, and is based in Schenectady.
- 1 History
- 2 Current draw games
- 3 Drawings
- 4 External links
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Prior to the 20th century, lotteries were used in New York to raise revenue for non-educational needs. New York City Hall was built in part with lottery proceeds. Other lotteries helped build and repair canals, roads, ferries, and bridges. Lotteries also were held for non-public needs. They helped develop New York City's manufacturing industries. Churches were built, rebuilt, or improved, with lottery funds.
On November 8, 1966, New Yorkers voted to approve a constitutional amendment authorizing a government-run lottery. The referendum passed with over 60% in favor. The proceeds of the Lottery were to be "applied exclusively to, or in aid or support of, education." In 1967, the New York Legislature created a Division of the Lottery and a Lottery Commission within the Department of Taxation and Finance. The Lottery later became an autonomous unit within the Department of Taxation and Finance. Under the New York State Lottery for Education Law, the Director of the Division of the Lottery has full authority over the administration of the Lottery.
The Lottery began in 1967; its first slogan was "Your Chance of a Lifetime to Help Education". It has generated over $34 billion in aid to education revenue.
Sales were suspended for about nine months in 1975-76 due to a scandal.
An agreement between Mega Millions and Powerball was reached in October 2009. All lotteries then with either game were allowed to sell tickets for both games beginning January 31, 2010.
Lottery winnings are subject to state and Federal income taxes. New York City and Yonkers residents also are subject to local income taxes.
Despite it being the US lottery with the highest sales, the New York Lottery has been increasingly criticized for offering low payout percentages, and not allowing scratch-game winners of annuitized prizes to choose cash in lieu of periodic payments. New York Lotto, begun in 1978, which has the lowest payout (of each dollar wagered, no more than 40 cents are paid to players) of an American lottery game. (In the 2011-12 fiscal year, sales of New York Lotto were down almost 15% from the previous 12 months; its minimum rollovers are now only $300,000 annuity.) A claim on or after May 1, 2013 of an annuitized scratch-game prize (including "lifetime" prizes) allows the winner to choose lump sum in lieu of the periodic payments ; the New York Lottery had been phasing in scratch games with lump-sum prizes of at least $1,000,000.
On February 1, 2013, the New York Lottery's operations were merged with that of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to form the New York State Gaming Commission.
Current draw games
New York joined Powerball (now played in 44 jurisdictions) in 2010, after a cross-sell agreement allowed the game to be sold alongside Mega Millions. Powerball is the US drawing game with the highest prize potential. Each game is $2; with Power Play, $3. The minimum jackpot is $40,000,000. Players choose 5 numbers from a field of 59, and a Powerball from 1 to 35. Drawings are Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Drawn Tuesdays and Fridays, Mega Millions is played in a similar fashion as Powerball. Mega Millions players choose five numbers from 1 through 56, and the gold-colored Mega Ball, a number from 1 through 46. Mega Millions costs $1 per game; with Megaplier, $2. The Mega Millions minimum jackpot is $12,000,000.
New York joined what had been The Big Game in May 2002, when the name Mega Millions was adopted. The Megaplier (a multiplier of 2, 3, or 4) became available in New York in January 2011; simultaneously, the Lottery discontinued the requirement of choosing cash or annuity when playing Mega Millions. As with most other Mega Millions members, New York now gives jackpot winners a 60-day window, upon claiming, to make the choice.
In-house draw games
Three sets of balls, numbered 0 through 9, are drawn twice daily. Options and prizes vary.
Played as Numbers, but with four machines. As with Numbers, the minimum wager is 50 cents, except for combination wagers.
Take 5 (begun as a Friday-only game in 1992, as Take Five) is drawn nightly. Games are $1 each. Five numbers from 1 through 39 are drawn. First prize rolls down if there is no 5-of-5 winner. Matching 5, 4, or 3 numbers wins a parimutuel cash prize; matching 2 numbers wins a $1 Take 5 play. Overall odds of winning (including the free play) are 1 in 9; odds of winning cash, 1 in 100; odds of winning the top prize are 1 in 575,757. According to TV and radio ads, there is an average of about 100,000 winners daily.
The Lottery has, for promotional purposes, added a "bonus ball" to Take 5. In these drawings, there are eight prize levels; such drawings allow winning with just one number, plus the bonus ball.
Pick 10 is drawn nightly; 20 numbers from 1 through 80 are drawn. Players choose 10 numbers; games cost $1 each. Matching 10 of the 20 numbers wins $500,000 cash; the top prize has a $5,000,000 liability limit.
Unlike Quick Draw (which also picks 20 of 80 numbers; see below), Pick 10 is available wherever Lottery draw games are sold, including Quick Draw retailers.
Quick Draw is a keno-style game drawn every 4 minutes from 4:04 a.m. to 3:24 a.m. Players choose 1 to 10 numbers; a computer draws 20 numbers from 1 through 80. Minimum play is $1. Prizes and options vary; the 10-spot game has a top prize of $100,000. It is played at a limited number of Lottery retailers with a monitor showing the drawings; these establishments generally serve alcoholic beverages. The minimum age for playing Quick Draw is 21 where alcohol is served, while it is 18 elsewhere, including liquor stores.
Twice-weekly in-house games
Sweet Million is drawn Monday and Thursday nights. Players choose six numbers for each $1 game. Six numbers are drawn from a pool of 40 numbers for Sweet Million. Matching three numbers wins $3, four numbers, $40, five numbers, $500. Matching all six numbers wins $1,000,000, payable in a lump sum; in the unlikely event there are more than five top-prize winners, they split $5,000,000 (to date, the highest number of tickets winning in a given drawing is two.) The payout percentage in Sweet Million is 50%.
Lotto is drawn Wednesdays and Saturdays. A $1 play consists of 2 games. Six of 59 numbers are drawn, followed by a bonus ball. Matching three numbers wins $1; other winners share parimutuel prizes.
As the payout percentage in Lotto is a statuatory 40%, sales of the game have been in a years-long decline, especially since the addition of Mega Millions (in 2002) and Powerball (in 2010) to the Lottery's portfolio; Powerball is also drawn on the same nights as Lotto, an additional factor. The 2011–12 fiscal year saw Lotto sales decrease by nearly 8 percent, despite overall Lottery sales increasing. The starting Lotto jackpot was reduced from $3 million to $2 million (in 26 graduated payments) in April 2013, rollovers were reduced from $500,000 to $300,000 over Thanksgiving weekend in 2012; in the late 1990s, its jackpot was $10 million after only one rollover.
Available at nine parimutuel facilities:
- Batavia Downs, Batavia
- Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track, Farmington
- The Fairgrounds Gaming, Hamburg
- Monticello Raceway, Monticello
- Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Saratoga Springs (not to be confused with nearby Saratoga Race Course)
- Tioga Downs, Nichols
- Vernon Downs, Vernon
- Empire City at Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers
- Aqueduct Racetrack, Ozone Park, Queens
New York video lottery, by law, offers a 92% minimum payout percentage.
Numerous scratchcard games are available; formats, prices, and payouts vary, although most of the higher-priced games are in fact the same game, repackaged under different names.
Lottery drawings are syndicated to television stations. Pick 10 drawings air nightly on MSG Network and the Sabres Hockey Network at 11:00 p.m., or during the next commercial break. Other draw games, except for Sweet Million, air on these stations: WABC-TV New York (except Powerball, Take 5, and Lotto; the last two are aired on the station's website, 7online.com, while Powerball is not aired), WSYR-TV Syracuse, WBNG Binghamton, WETM-TV Elmira, WPTZ Plattsburgh, WHAM-TV Rochester (except Powerball), WWTI Watertown, and WUAM/YNN Capital Region. (WBNG and WETM newscasts are seen in the Binghamton area.) Mega Millions (drawings held in Atlanta) and Powerball (drawings in Florida) are drawn at 11:00 p.m., while Take 5 and Lotto are drawn at 11:21 p.m. The Numbers and Win 4 drawings are held at 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Powerball drawings can be seen in the New York and Rochester areas via the national cable/satellite feed of WGN America. The Utica-Rome region (which does not receive WGN on cable) does not see live lottery drawings; the local affiliate, WUTR, dropped lottery drawings when it closed its news division in 2003; and its rival WKTV also do not air drawings. Likewise, the Buffalo area does not view most Lottery drawings; in October 2013, the only area station, WGRZ-TV, gave up the rights.
Sweet Million drawings are viewable online only. Its drawings are held Mondays and Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.