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 14 states.

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 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 Mega Millions or 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. 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. (Mega Millions is drawn in Georgia.)

The Sizzler option, which triples non-jackpot prizes, was added in 2008. The basic game, $1 per play, was unchanged until 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 instead of the long-term payout.


A player pays $1 (or $2 for the Sizzler option; 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" 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 a non-jackpot prize; for example, second prize (see below), usually $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]. The District of Columbia no longer offers Hot Lotto.)


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 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.

Participating lotteries[edit]

Charter member

Former members:

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 July 20, 2015, Eddie Raymond Tipton, MUSL's director of information security, was found guilty of two counts of fraud for rigging a Hot Lotto drawing in December 2010, and then fraudulently attempting to claim the prize anonymously.[4][5][6][7] Prosecutors believed that Tipton had used his privileged access to the secured room housing the Hot Lotto computer for servicing, in order to install a rootkit that rigged the $16.5 million drawing held on December 29, 2010. He then purchased a ticket containing the rigged numbers from a convenience store in Des Moines.[8] Nearly a year later, the "winning" ticket of the draw was routed through several accomplices, including a Belize-based investment trust that was said to represent its owner, in an attempt to claim it anonymously, but the prize claims were rejected per Iowa Lottery policy forbidding anonymous claims.[4]

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, with 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.[5][7][9] Allegations that Tipton had rigged the drawing were presented during Tipton's trial in April 2015.[4] Tipton has since been accused of rigging other lottery draws.[10]


  1. ^ [1] Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b [2] Archived January 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ [3][dead link]
  4. ^ a b c "Security chief guilty in Hot Lotto scam trial". Des Moines Register. Gannett Company. July 20, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Lottery vendor employee charged in Hot Lotto fraud case". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Prosecutors suspect man hacked lottery computers to score winning ticket". Ars Technica. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Prosecutors: Evidence indicates lottery vendor employee tampered with equipment". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Iowa Lottery Worker Arrested for Holding $16.5 Million Lottery Ticket". January 19, 2015. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  9. ^ Nestel, M.L. (July 7, 2015). "Inside the Biggest Lottery Scam Ever". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  10. ^ Rodgers, Grant (October 9, 2015). "Hot Lotto scammer accused of rigging other lotteries". Des Moines Register. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 

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