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In 1987, six states and the District of Columbia banded together, since, on their own, they could not create jackpots into the tens of millions of dollars that had become commonplace in the most populous lottery states. MUSL's first game was called "Lotto*America" even though only those six states and Washington, D.C. took part, although technically it could be played on both the East Coast and West Coast.
L*A's first version was a pick-7-of-40 game, rather than the pick-6 games that had become wildly popular in U.S. lotteries. Matching four numbers won a fixed prize of $5; matching at least five won a parimutuel prize. Matching all seven won the jackpot, whose odds were roughly 1 in 18 million, at the time the toughest odds in the country. The top prize was a 20-year annuity; there was never a cash option, even though a few games did offer one when L*A ended.
During the middle of its four-year run, L*A became a more traditional pick-6-of-54 game; unlike the first version, players got two games for $1. The jackpot odds actually became more favorable at 1 in 13 million per dollar; however, overall odds were much tougher, since four numbers were still needed to win the lowest prize level. This version was entirely parimutuel.
Several states joined MUSL during the era of L*A. One of them, Maine, decided to leave MUSL when L*A ended; Maine did not rejoin MUSL until 2004.
MUSL's rapidly growing population base resulted in another change, in 1992, to the original version of Powerball, which had then-unheard of jackpot odds of 1 in 55 million. However, the unique structure of the new game allowed players to win by matching just one number.
Original jurisdictions (game began February 1988):
Joined in progress:
- Wisconsin (August 1989)
- Montana (November 1989)
- Idaho (February 1990)
- Maine (July 1990)
- Minnesota (August 1990)
- Indiana (October 1990)
- South Dakota (November 1990)
- Kentucky (January 1991)
- Delaware (four days later)
Except for Maine, the above lotteries were the original lineup for Powerball when it began in April 1992.