Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Where have all the Lottos gone?

Courtesy: U.S. News & World Report
It's something I've wondered lately, especially as we have our second half-billion jackpot in less than a year. What does the common man or woman think they're going to do with all that money? I could definitely understand why a entrepreneur or an armchair philanthropist would look at that sum with glee. But most people don't think that way. So what make a prize like this such a draw, and why is it such a draw that it has made games with mere seven-figure prizes largely obsolete? I didn't know any kind of cash prize could go obsolete.

A few states have gotten rid of their traditional in-state lotto games (Georgia and Maryland come to mind) because, presumably, nobody wants a $5 million jackpot anymore. They've replaced these games either with new games that have some kind of wrinkle to them (like PA's Match 6, or Ohio's old Lot-O-Play), or a traditional pick-6 with a set, non-traditional prize (i.e. Decades of Dollars). And states that have kept their traditional games have seen their sales plummet. Even if Powerball and Mega Millions have much longer odds, they have bigger jackpots and thus bigger sales. There have even been some rare instances in the past few years where the in-state game had a bigger jackpot, and the multi-state game was still the bigger draw.

Is this a bad development for players? Or are lotteries evolving into an ultimately better product? I personally wish that the traditional, in-state games could co-exist in harmony with the big multi-state games. But most players, they've made their decision with their dollars: they want hundreds of thousands, or hundreds of millions, and nothing in between.

1 comment:

  1. Some of these "smaller" games deserve respect: my choices are "Hot Lotto" (new format May 2013), "Decades of Dollars", Connecticut "Classic Lotto", Florida Lotto, California "Super Lotto Plus", and "Lotto Texas".