Idaho Lottery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Idaho Lottery
Idaho Lottery logo, without slogan.jpg
Formation July 19, 1989

The Idaho Lottery, which began on July 19, 1989, is run by the government of Idaho. It is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). Fifty percent of all net funds is given to public schools, while the remainder is pledged to the Permanent Building Fund, which is used as a financial resource for Idaho's colleges and universities.

The Idaho Lottery offers the multi-state drawing games Mega Millions, Powerball, Hot Lotto, and Wild Card (all but Mega Millions are directly run by MUSL); and a daily game, Idaho Pick 3. Drawings for Pick 3 are nightly, including Sundays; Hot Lotto, Wild Card, and Powerball are Wednesdays and Saturdays, while Mega Millions is drawn Tuesday and Fridays. The minimum age to play the Idaho Lottery is 18.

The Lottery also offers approximately 50 instant Scratch GamesTM yearly. Price points range from $1 to $20. PullTabs are offered in social settings, such as restaurants, bars, and bowling centers; its price points are 25 cents to $1.00


Idaho citizens approved a lottery in a constitutional amendment vote in November 1988. A mere 200 days later, a lottery industry record at the time,[citation needed] the Idaho Lottery began on July 19, 1989. Since its beginning, the Lottery has sold more than $1.8 billion in tickets and returned more than $437.3 million to Idaho public schools and buildings.

Current draw games[edit]

In-house draw games[edit]


Idaho Bingo is drawn Wednesdays and Saturdays at 7:59pm Mountain Time. Games are $5 each. Each drawing consists of 30 numbers 01 through 75. Top prize is $100,000; it is won by matching a "diamond pattern" (the 12 numbers on a card surrounding the center "free space".)

Pick 3[edit]

Idaho Pick 3 is drawn twice a day, seven days a week. Play styles and prizes vary.

Weekly Grand[edit]

Weekly Grand is drawn twice a week. Games are $2 each; the top prize is $1000 a week for a year, taxes paid; however, there is no cash option. (On May 12, 2013, the MUSL Hot Lotto game was changed to a "taxes-paid" format; its jackpot prize, originally annuitized with a cash option, became all-cash, as the format change reflected the overwhelming choice of cash/lump sum versus annuity payments in games where winners are offered the choice.)

Non-winning tickets can be entered in a monthly draw for $100 a week, also without the cash option. The "second chance" drawings have become controversial; if a potential winner is disqualified, the $100-per-week prize is not paid.

Idaho Weekly Grand is a rare example of a pick-5 game with an annuitized prize, as well as an increasingly rare example of a fixed-annuity lottery game without a cash option. (A game with a similar top prize became available in Arizona in 2012; Weekly Winnings, however, has a cash option of $52,000 "taxes paid" in lieu of the weekly payments.)

Multi-jurisdictional games[edit]

Hot Lotto[edit]

Hot Lotto is available through 16 of the original 33 MUSL lotteries, including Idaho's. Hot Lotto also is drawn Wednesdays and Saturdays. The game draws five "white numbers" from 1 through 47, and an orange "Hot Ball", numbered 1 through 19. Hot Lotto 's minimum jackpot is $1 million (all-cash, and "taxes paid"), increasing by at least $50,000 for each rollover.

Hot Lotto 's regular plays are $1 each; a game with the Sizzler option costs $2. The Sizzler, if activated, triples all prizes except for the jackpot.

Hot Lotto began as an annuitized jackpot game (with a cash option) in April 2002; Idaho joined in 2007. The only change to the "original" game was in 2008 when the Sizzler option was added. Idaho, however, did not immediately offer the option, due to litigation involving the Sizzler steakhouse chain over the name. Through May 11, 2013, Hot Lotto players chose among 39 "white balls" instead of the current 47.

The multi-jurisdictional Hot Lotto, played in 15 states and the District of Columbia, is not related to an Idaho-only draw game, also called "Hot Lotto", available in the 1990s.

Lucky for Life[edit]

Lucky for Life, which began as a Connecticut-only game in 2009 called Lucky4Life, became a regional game three years later. A later version, which began in 2013, added a cash option for its top prize ($1000-per-day-for-life) and a second-prize "lifetime" tier of $25,000-per-year. Both "lifetime" prizes offer a cash option (Weekly Grand, see below, does not offer a cash option for its top prize.)

On January 27, 2015, Lucky for Life added eight states, including Idaho. The game was modified to its current double matrix (5 of 48 white balls, and 1 of 18 green "Lucky Balls"); second prize became $1,000 per year for life. Seven states plus the District of Columbia have joined in addition (22 lotteries as of November 15, 2016) with two more states expected to join in December 2016.

Mega Millions[edit]

On January 31, 2010, Mega Millions and Powerball became available to lotteries which previously offered either game. Idaho joined Mega Millions on the above date, as part of the games' cross-sell expansion. Mega Millions is drawn Tuesdays and Fridays; its games are $1 each, or $2 with the Megaplier option. Mega Millions' minimum jackpot is $15 million, paid in 30 graduated yearly installments unless the cash option is chosen.

Mega Millions is played in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Wyoming will begin selling lottery tickets on August 24, 2014; it becomes the 46th member of Mega Millions.)


Idaho has been a member of MUSL since 1990. Powerball began in 1992; its cash option began in 1997, and Power Play was added in 2001.

The current version of Powerball began on January 15, 2012. Games are $2 each, or $3 with Power Play. The game is drawn Wednesdays and Saturdays; Powerball jackpots begin at $40 million.

Wild Card[edit]

Wild Card is played in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Wild Card is drawn Wednesdays and Saturdays. Players get two games for each $1 wagered. Wild Card is among MUSL's games. Wild Card is played in the same manner as Hot Lotto, Mega Millions, and Powerball (see below for those games); in each drawing, five numbers from 1 through 31 are selected. The sixth "number" is among the 16 "face cards" from a standard deck of playing cards; either a Jack, Queen, King, or the Ace of any of the four suits (Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts (suit), or Spades. The Wild Card jackpot, won by matching the five numbers and the "playing card", is paid in cash.

The original Wild Card, which began in 1998, was replaced by the current version in May 1999.

2009 fiscal year[edit]

In FY 2009, the Idaho Lottery set a sales record on the way to grossing nearly $140 million. It also set a dividend record by returning a profit of $35 million to the people of Idaho, the sixth consecutive year for returning a record dividend. Players won a record $84.9 million in prizes, and retailers received a record $8.3 million in commissions.[1]

FY 2009 sales by product for the Idaho Lottery are as follows:

Game Revenues
Powerball $36,787,378
Hot Lotto§ $4,132,812
Wild Card $3,152,691
Idaho Pick 3 $1,883,839
Double Play Daily $360,806
Idaho $1,000,000 Raffle $2,500,000
Instant Scratch Tickets $88,425,049
Pulltabs $2,406,606
Total Sales $139,649,181

Where the money goes[edit]

The largest share of Idaho Lottery dollars is returned to players in the form of prizes. This amount in FY 2009 was approximately 60%. The next largest share of revenue is the annual dividend, which by statute is split equally between Idaho’s public schools and permanent buildings, including college campuses. Approximately 25% of all Idaho Lottery revenue was returned to the people of Idaho in FY 2009. The approximately 900 Idaho Lottery retailers received 6% of all revenue while game support utilizes 4%, administration costs were 3% and the smallest portion, 2%, was used for advertising.


The Idaho Lottery changed the on-line provider to INTRALOT, USA in February 2007. This required the installation of satellites and terminals across Idaho. The new terminals and software capabilities allow the Lottery to perform specialized and unique game promotions.

The Lottery also changed its instant ticket vendor to Scientific Games, Inc. in July 2007. This combination of companies has allowed the Lottery to offer unique game promotions where players have the opportunity to enter second-chance draws through either the internet or via tele-entry using a regular touch-tone telephone.

In July 2007, the Lottery debuted a North American industry first when it offered their VIP Club members the opportunity to earn rewards for making game purchases (excluding instant tickets.) For each $1 spent on Powerball, Mega Millions, Double Play Daily, Hot Lotto, Wild Card, Pick 3, and/or Raffle tickets, players receive one point. Points may be redeemed through the Lottery’s VIP Club website for merchandise, including iPods, DVD players, bicycles, and watches.

In August 2008, the Lottery offered another North American first – the ability for players to donate part of their winnings from scratch tickets to an international non-profit organization. The Lottery offered a $1 ScratchTM game to help financially support the 2009 Special Olympic World Winter Games to be held in Idaho that February. Using creative game technology, winning players were asked to donate 25%, 50% or 100% of their win to support the international event.


The unofficial mascot of the Idaho Lottery is “BALL”, a large, life-sized symbol of the red Powerball. “BALL” boasts a circumference of 132 inches and made its debut in television commercials in 2006. The Powerball commercials featuring “BALL” won critical acclaim from the Northwest Addy Awards with a Best of Show Award. The commercial campaign depicted “BALL” being so huge it could not fit through revolving doors, into elevators, or up escalators. More recently, “BALL” made appearances at special events and community venues such as collegiate and professional sporting events.


  1. ^ "Where the money goes". Idaho Lottery. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 

External links[edit]