Friday, November 30, 2012

New feature in Illinois Lotto

I don't know how I missed this one for this long, but Illinois added a new feature to Lotto called "Extra Shot". Before I talk about this, take a look at the new logo for the game. Doesn't it kind of look like a logo for a downmarket supermarket that's trying to project a "fresh" image? But in reality, most of their meat and produce is either rotten or poor quality. I don't know, I look too much into graphic design.

Fortunately, this is not a supermarket, but a pretty decent addition to an already decent game. For an extra dollar for two plays, you get an extra number (always quick-picked) between 1 and 25 on each line. Match that number to the winning "extra shot" number, and you win. In essence, this changes the game into a Powerball-type game if you decide to play this extra feature.

So for example, if you match 0, 1, or 2 of the Lotto numbers, you wouldn't win as usual. But you would win if matched the "extra shot". So if you match no Lotto numbers and the "extra shot" you would win $5, you would win $2 if you matched 1 and the ES, and 2 and the ES wins $10. If you match 3, 4, or 5 of the Lotto numbers without the ES, you win the base Lotto prize for that match. But if you match 3, 4, or 5 and the ES, you win the base prize multiplied by 25. So a 3+ES match would win $75, for example.

You could technically also match all 6 numbers and the ES, but that would not win anything beyond the jackpot. And the odds of doing that would be 1 in 508,963,000; so I wouldn't call that a flaw. Nobody's going to do that.

What I would call a flaw is that fact that matching no numbers and the ES pays out more money than matching 1+ES. If I had to make a list of rules for lottery directors, one of those rules would be to "never pay out less for one prize if it's harder to win than a larger prize". The odds of winning $2 on a 1+ES match is one in 62 (on a single line). It's easier to match 0+ES at 1 in 54 odds, but that wins more money than a 0+ES match at $5.

In layman's terms, they pay out less money for matching more numbers. That kind of irks me, and is a flaw in an otherwise decent addition. I think they might have been better off going with some sort of multiplier (like the Megaplier or Florida Lotto with Xtra).


  1. Sure, 1+ES "could", if not "should", pay more than 0+ES. However, it's a great idea. Something like that could work in another "classic"-style six-number game (that does not have a "seventh" number drawn for non-jackpot prizes.) Maybe Connecticut "Classic Lotto" could use this idea; CT's lotto game will be 30 years old in 2013, although not as "Classic...".

  2. If something like that will work with lottery results UK ?