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Lotto America is an American multi-state lottery game that began in 2017. It is operated by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). It takes its name from the original Lotto America, offered from 1988 to 1992. Lotto America was re-launched by 13 state lotteries on November 12, 2017, as a replacement for the scandal-tarred Hot Lotto game; each of the 13 members of Lotto America offered Hot Lotto when it ended on October 28, 2017.
Original Lotto America (1988–1992)
The original version of Lotto America held its first drawing on February 13, 1988. The game was a $1-per-play, 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 longest odds of a U.S. lottery game. The top prize was a 20-year annuity; there was never a cash option, even though a few games did offer one when Lotto America ended.
During the middle of its four-year run, Lotto America 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 tier. This version was entirely parimutuel.
Several states joined the Multi-State Lottery Association during the era of Lotto America. One of them, Maine, decided to leave the Multi-State Lottery Association when Lotto America ended; Maine did not rejoin the Multi-State Lottery Association until 2004.
The Multi-State Lottery Associations' rapidly growing population base resulted in the replacement of Lotto America in April 1992 with Powerball.
Original members (1988–1992)
|District of Columbia §||February 1988|
|Iowa §||February 1988|
|Kansas §||February 1988|
|Maine||July 1990||Was the only original member not to continue with the game when it became Powerball in April 1992.|
|Missouri §||February 1988|
|Oregon §||February 1988|
|Rhode Island §||February 1988|
|South Dakota||November 1990|
|West Virginia §||February 1988|
§ One of the founding members of the Multi-State Lottery Association composed the original lineup for Lotto America.
Due to falling sales of Hot Lotto in the wake of the Hot Lotto fraud scandal, the game was discontinued and the final drawing was held on October 28, 2017. As a replacement, a new version of Lotto America became available on November 12, 2017; its first drawing was November 15, 2017. Lotto America is available wherever Hot Lotto was offered at the time of its final drawing, except New Hampshire. Lotto America is drawn on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday nights after 11 p.m. ET/10 p.m. CT. For each $1 play, bettors choose five numbers from 1 through 52, and a "star ball" numbered from 1 through 10, or ask for terminal-generated numbers. For an additional $1 per play, the bettor can add the "All-Star Bonus" option, which multiplies non-jackpot prizes by 2, 3, 4, or 5. The minimum Lotto America jackpot is $2 million; however, the game's initial jackpot was $15 million; the 13 members chose to augment the jackpot with funds from Hot Lotto, whose final jackpot was not won.
While Hot Lotto used a random number generator during most of its run (including the December 2010 drawing whose jackpot was "won" by Eddie Tipton, a MUSL employee), Lotto America is believed to be drawn in Tallahassee, Florida (even though the Florida Lottery does not offer the game), using physical ball machines and numbered balls; one machine draws the five main numbers while another is used to draw the "Star Ball". As of December 2018, none of the actual drawings have been made available to the viewing public; a computer-generated display of the drawings is shown on an unofficial website.
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- Note: these 13 members were among Hot Lotto's membership when it ended on October 28, 2017. New Hampshire, the other Hot Lotto member when the game ended, has put off plans to join Lotto America.
- "Lotto America History".
- "Hot Lotto to stop selling tickets, North Dakota Lottery says". Grand Forks Herald. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
- "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.
- "Lotto.net - Lotto America Draw Schedule". Lotto.net. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- "Lottery.net How to Play Lotto America". Lottery.net. Retrieved 27 October 2017.