History of Lotto America
Lotto America started way back in 1988, and was offered by a co-operative of seven US jurisdictions that wanted to award jackpot prizes in the tens of millions of dollars. The six states – Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island and West Virginia – formed the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) alongside the District of Columbia.
The First Drawing
The first Lotto America draw took place on Saturday, February 13th 1988. The game was priced at $1-per-play and required players to select seven numbers from a pool of 40. Any ticket holder able to beat odds of around 1 in 18 million and match all seven numbers would automatically win the jackpot, while prizes were also available for entrants who matched as few as four balls. Later, its rules were adjusted, and players instead picked six balls from a pool of 54, improving the odds of landing the jackpot.
The game opened its doors to additional members in 1989 as Wisconsin and Montana joined, before Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Indiana and South Dakota were admitted in 1990. Kentucky and Delaware were the final states to join in January 1991. These jurisdictions, with the exception of Maine, would become the founding members of Powerball.
Lotto America Comes to an End (Temporarily)
In 1992, MUSL brought Lotto America to an end, replacing it with Powerball, which has gone on to become one of the most popular lottery games in the US, and which holds the world record for the highest jackpot ever awarded: a staggering $1.5 billion.
MUSL has since expanded to include 34 members, and offers some of the biggest and best-known US lotteries, including Powerball and Mega Millions. In 2002, it also launched another multi-state lottery called Hot Lotto, which ran for 15 years, until falling ticket sales brought it to an end in October 2017. This left a gap for a new lottery game, and Lotto America was revived.
The New and Improved Game
All 14 states who participated in Hot Lotto agreed to revive Lotto America after its 25-year hiatus. The game was launched in October 2017 in all territories that previously offered Hot Lotto, with the exception of New Hampshire, which delayed the launch to focus on other new lottery games. The state expects to offer Lotto America from June 2018.
The new version of the game has some differences to the original version. Players now pick five balls from a pool of 52, as well as one Star Ball from a pool of 10. The All Star Bonus was also added, which, for an additional stake, gives players the opportunity to increase any non-jackpot prizes won by up to five times their original value.
Jackpots now start at $2 million, and if it’s not won in any given draw, it rolls over to the next one, with at least $50,000 added to it. The participating states used proceeds from the outgoing Hot Lotto game to boost the first Lotto America jackpot to $15 million, but it was not won until March 14th 2018, when it had rolled over to nearly $23 million. A lucky family from Minnesota landed the prize.