Last Ever Hot Lotto Draw to Take Place This Weekend

Friday October 27th 2017

After more than 15 years of big wins and massive controversy, Hot Lotto will come to an end this weekend. The game’s final drawing will take place on Saturday October 28th, and the majority of the participating states will replace Hot Lotto with Lotto America in mid-November.

Hot Lotto History

Hot Lotto began in April 2002, giving smaller state lotteries the chance to offer mid-range jackpots, which ranked between the small prizes provided by their own local games and the gigantic rewards available on Powerball.

The original Hot Lotto states were Iowa, where the draws are made, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota and West Virginia. Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, New Mexico, North Dakota and Tennessee still play Hot Lotto, having joined since 2002, with Vermont and the District of Columbia having joined and left the game in recent years.

The unique selling point of Hot Lotto was its ‘taxes-paid’ prizes which, unlike Powerball and Mega Millions, meant that winners received the full advertised jackpot.

Why is Hot Lotto Ending?

Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich issued a statement on the closure of Hot Lotto, saying, “Any game has a lifespan. Lotteries are always looking for new ways to provide variety and choices for our players, and we do our best to update our game offerings over time.”

Many in the press have suggested that the game never fully recovered from the Eddie Tipton draw-fixing scandal, which saw the former Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) director of information security jailed in 2015.

Hot Lotto Fixing Scandal

There was one winning Hot Lotto ticket in the drawing on December 29th 2010, picking up a prize worth $16.5 million. However, no one came forward to claim the reward until just before the year-long claims period expired.

The Iowa Lottery turned down a telephone claim by a Canadian who provided the correct ticket number but could not answer questions that could prove he was the person who purchased the slip. The lottery also dismissed New York City attorney Crawford Shaw’s claim on behalf of a Belize-based trust. 

The prize expired, but police launched an investigation into the affair. In October 2014, footage from the store on the night of the ticket purchase was released to the public and MUSL employee Eddie Tipton, who was barred from playing lotteries due to his job, was identified as the customer. Tipton was brought to trial and found guilty of rigging the game’s random number generator. He was jailed in 2015 on two counts of fraud, and has since admitted to fixing draws in other states.

Lotto America

Ticket sales for Hot Lotto’s replacement Lotto America begin on Sunday November 12th, with the first drawing on Wednesday November 15th. From then on, draws will take place every Wednesday and Saturday.  

All of the current Hot Lotto states will take part in the first draw, apart from New Hampshire, which will join in January 2018 to avoid the launch clashing with the introduction of the state’s new Keno game.

The top prize begins at $2 million, but the first Lotto America jackpot will be boosted if Hot Lotto rolls again tonight. With $12.1 million in the outgoing game’s grand prize fund, Lotto America could begin with a near-$15 million bang.

More US Lottery Changes

In a busy period for American lotteries, Mega Millions also undergoes an overhaul this weekend, with a series of changes aimed at offering larger jackpots. Following tonight’s draw, the main numbers will reduce from 75 to 70, with the Mega Ball pool rising from 15 to 25. The price will increase from $1 to $2 per line.

Some of the game’s fixed prizes are set to increase and your odds of winning the Match 5 award of $1 million are improved. Starting jackpots will rise from $15 million to $40 million.

Take Part in a Piece of History

Tonight is your last ever chance to play Hot Lotto and, if you want to take part in a piece of history, you can buy tickets from authorized retailers in participating states.

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