Thursday, July 25, 2013

What is the deal with All Or Nothing?

Sounds a bit like a Jerry Seinfeld routine, doesn't it? But still, what's up with that? It was here for a while and then it went away. Not cancelled like so many other games, just suspended; the game had a rather nasty flaw in it, or so they said. Some people on Lottery Post immediately assumed it was a flaw that benefited players, hence the reason behind the suspension.

Actually, this isn't altogether untrue; players could have benefited from this, but only in rare circumstances. You see the All or Nothing rules as originally written placed no limits on how much could be paid out in a particular draw. This is common practice in games with fixed payouts; for example in Virginia, if more than 20 people match all the numbers in Cash 5 they all split $2,000,000 (the $100K top prize times 20). This way the lottery won't be on the hook for too much if a popular combo comes up (say, 1-2-3-4-5).

However there was nothing protecting Texas from such an event in All or Nothing. If a popular combo came up like all odds or all evens (which can be bought with just one tick on a play slip), then Texas would owe all of those players $250,000. And that could really be troubling if, say, a thousand people had all the winning numbers (that's $250 million cash they'd owe, if you're counting at home).

The proposed rule change would cap the number of top prizes in a single All or Nothing draw to twenty. That would mean up to 20 people could win the full $250 grand, and if more than 20 won, they'd all split $5,000,000. That's a pretty generous payout for a niche game like this. One question remains, what's taking so long? It's been almost two months, and still no word on when it's coming back. How long does it take to get an emergency rule change done? I guess we'll find out, someday.

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