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Hot Lotto began sales on April 7, 2002; its first drawing was on April 10. Hot Lotto gave 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 were held Wednesday and Saturday at MUSL's headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa. Normally, the Hot Lotto drawing was immediately following the 9:59 p.m. Central Time Powerball drawing. Unlike Mega Millions or Powerball, the Hot Lotto drawings were not televised; its drawings used a random number generator (RNG), instead of ball-drawing machines.
The Sizzler option, which tripled 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.
In 2017, it was announced that Hot Lotto would be discontinued due to falling sales; its final drawing was on October 28, 2017. It was replaced by a new version of Lotto America, which launched on November 12, 2017, and held its first drawing three days later.
A player paid $1 (or $2 for the Sizzler option) and picked five numbers from 1 through 47, plus one additional number (the “Hot Ball”) from 1 through 19 drawn from a second, separate pool, or asked 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" could duplicate one of the five "white" numbers.)
Hot Lotto had an option called Sizzler (in North Dakota, Triple Sizzler), where players could win triple the normal amount of a non-jackpot prize. The $30,000 second prize became $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..
|Matches||Prize†||with Sizzler†||Odds of winning†|
|Hot Ball only (0+1)||$2||$6||1:34|
|1 white ball number plus HB (1+1)||$3||$9||1:52|
|2 WB numbers plus HB (2+1)||$6||$18||1:254|
|3 WB numbers (3+0)||$6||$18||1:188|
|3 WB numbers plus HB (3+1)||$50||$150||1:3,385|
|4 WB numbers (4+0)||$100||$300||1:7,710|
|4 WB numbers plus HB (4+1)||$3,000||$9,000||1:138,785|
|All 5 WB numbers without HB (5+0)||$30,000||$90,000||1:1,619,158|
|All 5 WB numbers plus HB (5+1)||Net cash jackpot||N/A||1:29,144,841|
†May 12, 2013-October 28, 2017. Overall odds were 1:17.
The Hot Ball could not be used to match any of the five regular numbers or vice versa.
Prizes were determined by a modified parimutuel system; except under special circumstances, only the jackpot was 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 was $1,000,000; rollovers were 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 was purchased, winners (jackpot or otherwise) have from 90 days to 1 year in which to claim their prize.
The final Hot Lotto drawing did not produce a jackpot winner; its 13 members agreed to use the funds to augment the initial jackpot for Lotto America. The first jackpot for the game will be $15 million (annuity with cash option); Lotto America's regular starting jackpot will be $2 million.
Hot Lotto members when game ended
|New Hampshire †§|
|New Mexico||November 2006|
|North Dakota||June 2004|
|South Dakota †|
|West Virginia †|
† Charter member
§ All Hot Lotto members (when game ended in October 2017) offered Lotto America when it began in November 2017, with the exception of New Hampshire which plans to join in June 2018.
Lotteries pulled out of game
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. 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. 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.
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. Allegations that Tipton had rigged the drawing were presented during Tipton's trial in April 2015. Tipton has since been accused of rigging other lottery draws.
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- "Lotto America coming to South Dakota in November". Watertown Public Opinion. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
- Mercer, Bob. "Lotto commission adds new game, increases ticket prices". Rapid City Journal. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
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- Nestel, M.L. (July 7, 2015). "Inside the Biggest Lottery Scam Ever". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
- Rodgers, Grant (October 9, 2015). "Hot Lotto scammer accused of rigging other lotteries". Des Moines Register. Retrieved November 21, 2015.