Lotto 6/49

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Lotto 6/49 is one of three national lottery games in Canada. Launched on June 12, 1982, Lotto 6/49 was the first nationwide Canadian lottery game to allow players to choose their own numbers. Previous national games, such as the Olympic Lottery, Loto Canada and Superloto used pre-printed numbers on tickets. Lotto 6/49 led to the gradual phase-out of that type of lottery game in Canada.

Winning numbers are drawn by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation (ILC) every Wednesday and Saturday, executed with a random number generator.

Gameplay[edit]

As the name implies, six numbers are drawn from a set of 49. If a ticket matches all six numbers, the jackpot prize of at least $5,000,000 is won. A bonus number is also drawn, and if a player's ticket matches five numbers and the bonus number, the player wins the "second prize" which is usually between $100,000 and $500,000. Should more than one player win the top or second prize, it is split amongst them. Lesser prizes are also awarded if one matches at least two numbers. If the top prize is not won, the jackpot prize increases for the next draw.

As many as ten separate "lines" (sets of numbers) can be printed on one individual ticket, but the maximum number allowed varies between jurisdictions. For example, in the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) area — Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut — no more than six lines are allowed.

The price of Lotto 6/49 tickets was raised in June 2004 from the original $1 per line to $2 per line in order to offer larger jackpots. The minimum jackpot amount was also raised from $2 million to $3 million.

Beginning with the September 18, 2013 draw, further changes were made to the game: ticket prices were raised to $3 per line, a free ticket for the next draw is awarded for matching two numbers, the minimum jackpot was raised to $5 million, and a new "guaranteed prize draw" —in which a $1 million raffle prize is awarded during each drawing.[1] Occasionally, a drawing is designated and promoted as a "Superdraw", which offers additional raffle prizes.[2]

Until May 2019, Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max used a lottery machine to draw winning numbers. Since May 14, 2019, both games have switched to using a random number generator.[3]

2022 reformat[edit]

In March 2022, it was announced that Lotto 6/49 would undergo a major change in format beginning with the September 14, 2022 draw, to celebrate the game's 40th anniversary.[4]

Under the new format, each drawing will consist of a "Gold Ball Draw" and "Classic Draw".[5] The jackpot will only be attainable via the guaranteed prize draw, now known as the "Gold Ball Draw"; the prize for the Gold Ball Draw will be determined by a random selection from a pool that initially contains 30 possibilities, one of which being the "Gold Ball". If the Gold Ball is not selected, the raffle winner will receive a $1 million prize, and the selection will be removed from the pool—thus increasing the chance that the Gold Ball will be selected on the next drawing.[5]

If the Gold Ball is selected, the jackpot will be awarded to the raffle winner, and the pool will be reset to a 1 in 30 chance for the next draw. The jackpot will increase at the discretion of the ILC, rather than being directly determined by the game rules. As before, there will be the option for drawings to have additional raffle prizes.[5] These changes ensure a jackpot win at least once every 30 drawings, preventing the main jackpot from increasing without limit for an arbitrarily long time, or being won by multiple tickets.[5]

The Classic Draw is the traditional lottery draw of six numbers from 1 to 49: its prize table will be unchanged, but its jackpot will be fixed at $5 million.[5]

Largest jackpots[edit]

Before the June 2004 increase in ticket prices, the largest Lotto 6/49 jackpot was $26.4 million, on September 2, 1995.[6]

The largest Lotto 6/49 jackpot, was drawn on October 17, 2015 for a jackpot of $64 million. The jackpot was won by one ticket purchased in Mississauga, Ontario.[7]

The second largest Lotto 6/49 jackpot, was $63.4 million on the draw for April 13, 2013. These were the two largest jackpots in Canadian history, until the jackpot of the Lotto Max was increased to a maximum of $70 million. This $70 million jackpot has been won numerous times in Ontario since it was introduced in May of 2019.

The third largest Lotto 6/49 jackpot was drawn on October 26, 2005. The single winning ticket, worth $54.3 million, was purchased in Camrose, Alberta by a group of 17 oil and gas plant workers.[8] This was the largest Canadian lottery jackpot up to that time, and a significant increase from the previous record of $37.8 million on a Super 7 lottery draw in 2002—rapid sales created by lottery fever across the country pushed this 2005 Lotto 6/49 jackpot far beyond the originally estimated $40 million.[6]

By comparison, while the Canadian Lotto Max lottery has had a main prize pool as high as $128 million. That lottery sets a cap of $70 million for its main jackpot, with excess "main prize pool" money being applied to a series $1 million MaxMillions prizes on the same draw.

Organization[edit]

The Lotto 6/49 game is administered by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation, an alliance of the five regional lottery corporations in Canada.

Each of these corporations operate a regional add-on games that, for an extra $1 each, can be added to a 6/49 ticket. This "spiel" game (named "Tag", "Encore" or "Extra" depending on the region), adds a 6- or 7-digit number to the ticket with a top prize of $100,000 if all six digits are matched or $250,000 to $1,000,000 depending on the region for a seven-number match ($1,000,000 in Ontario and Quebec; $250,000 in the Western Canada region of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the territories).

Alongside the main Lotto 6/49 drawing, the regional corporations also run local versions of the game; Atlantic 49, Quebec 49, Ontario 49, Western 6/49, and BC 49. These draws are held on the same night as each Lotto 6/49 drawing and have similar payouts (although only Ontario 49 and Western 6/49 offer a free play on matching two numbers, as with the current format for the national game), but with fixed jackpots of $2,000,000 ($1,000,000 on Atlantic 49). Lotto 6/49 selection slips offer the ability for players to choose between Lotto 6/49, the regional game, or to play both games using the same numbers.

Prizes and chance of winning[edit]

Number of matches Win Probability of winning on one play
6/6 Jackpot win or Share of 79.5% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 13,983,816
5/6 + Bonus Share of 6% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 2,330,636
5/6 Share of 5% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 55,492
4/6 Share of 4% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 1,033
3/6 $10 prize 1 in 56.7
2/6 + Bonus $5 prize 1 in 81.2
2/6 Free Play 1 in 8.3
Guaranteed Prize Draw (10 of 10) (exact match only) $1,000,000 Variable

Overall odds of winning a prize are about 1 in 6.6, though the great majority of prizes consist of a free ticket for the next draw (a break-even scenario at best, not a win in the strictest sense).

From the 2004 price change until September 18, 2013, this table was distributed thus:

Number of matches Win Probability of winning on one play
6/6 Jackpot win or Share of 80.5% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 13,983,816
5/6 + Bonus Share of 5.75% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 2,330,636
5/6 Share of 4.75% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 55,492
4/6 Share of 9% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 1,033
3/6 $10 prize 1 in 56.7
2/6 + Bonus $5 prize 1 in 81.2

Before July 2010, if there was no winning ticket for a jackpot of $30 million or higher, the following prize structure was applied to all subsequent draws until the jackpot was won.[9] This did not apply to bonus jackpots.

Number of matches Win Probability of winning on one play
6/6 Jackpot win or Share of 40% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 13,983,816
5/6 + Bonus Share of 16% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 2,330,636
5/6 Share of 15% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 55,492
4/6 Share of 29% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 1,033
3/6 $10 prize 1 in 56.7
2/6 + Bonus $5 prize 1 in 81.2

The probability of winning some prize in one play is 1 in 32.3.

From the game's inception until the 2004 price change, the prize pool consisted of 45% of sales, and was distributed thus:

Number of matches Win Probability of winning on one play
6/6 Jackpot win or Share of 50% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 13,983,816
5/6 + Bonus Share of 15% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 2,330,636
5/6 Share of 12% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 55,492
4/6 Share of 23% of the Pool's Fund 1 in 1,033
3/6 $10 prize 1 in 56.7

The overall odds of winning were 1 in 54.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lotto 6/49 hikes price to $3, adds new prizes". CBC News. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Winning lottery ticket was purchased in Sooke". Sooke News Mirror. 2019-01-14. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  3. ^ "Atlantic Lottery is retiring its balls that pick the winners". CBC News. 2019-04-23. Retrieved 2020-03-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Changes to Lotto 6/49 are coming this fall". Atlantic Lottery Corporation. 2022-03-07. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Lotto 6/49 Game Conditions" (PDF). Ontario Lottery and Gaming. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  6. ^ a b NewsStaff (2008-10-02). "Sole $35.3 Million Lottery Winner Almost Didn't Buy His Ticket". CityNews. Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  7. ^ "Mississauga ticket holder wins record $64M Lotto 6/49 jackpot". CBC News. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  8. ^ "4 winning tickets sold for $63.4M lotto jackpot". CBC News. The Canadian Press. 13 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  9. ^ "Lotto 6/49". Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2011-01-28.

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