OKLAHOMA CITY (Sep. 5, 2014) - In the lottery world, it’s the one that keeps getting away. The all-cash jackpot in the Hot Lotto game has been quietly growing for nearly a year now, topping $11.7 million for Saturday’s drawing.
The jackpot in the game, sold by 15 U.S. lotteries, was last won in the drawing on Oct. 12, 2013. Two Tennessee co-workers who’d purchased their winning ticket at a convenience store in Dyersburg, Tenn., claimed the $2.2 million jackpot from that night’s drawing. Hot Lotto’s big prize return to its $1 million starting amount for the drawing on Oct. 16 and has been growing ever since.
“This definitely qualifies as a long jackpot run,” said Rollo Redburn, Oklahoma Lottery Executive Director. “The unique feature in Hot Lotto that sets it apart from our other draw games is that its jackpot is all cash, with withholding taxes paid. That means you get the full amount of the advertised jackpot. If the game’s jackpot were an annuity prize, it would be approaching the $30 million mark by now,” Redburn said. “But our players said they preferred the all-cash design we debuted last year.”
Hot Lotto got its start in April 2002 as a game that offers Powerball-style play, but with easier odds and jackpots starting at $1 million. In May 2013 the game’s jackpot became an all-cash prize paid in a lump-sum amount with all state and federal withholding taxes paid for the winner. Prior to that, players had the choice of annuitized payments over 25 years or a one-time cash payment with state and federal withholding applied in either instance.
Charlie McIntyre, Hot Lotto Game Group Chair and Executive Director of the New Hampshire Lottery, said even lottery officials are wondering how long the jackpot will keep rolling. “Whoever ends up winning this prize will have huge bragging rights for finally ending the run,” McIntyre said.
Players in Hot Lotto choose five balls from a pool of 47 and another number, called the Hot Ball, from a separate pool of 19. Plays cost $1, and the Sizzler option, which triples non-jackpot prizes, can be added for an extra $1 per play. Hot Lotto drawings are held at 9:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Players can choose their own numbers or let the computer randomly select them. In addition to the jackpot, there are eight other prize levels in the game, ranging from $2 for matching the Hot Ball alone up to $30,000 for matching the first five numbers but missing the Hot Ball. All non-jackpot prizes triple with the Sizzler option, meaning a player would win $90,000 for matching the first five numbers with the Sizzler option added.
Hot Lotto is played in 14 states and D.C.: Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Net proceeds of all Lottery games are used to support improvements and enhancements for Oklahoma education. More than $629 million has been contributed to education since November 2005 with funds appropriated by the State Legislature to pay debt service on a higher education capital bond issue; to pay support salaries for public schools and for equipment, scholarships and other purposes at our career and technology education institutions.