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Archive for Thursday, March 16, 2006

New lottery game debuts in Kansas

March 16, 2006

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— A lottery game similar to Powerball made its debut in Kansas this week, offering smaller jackpots but better odds.

Hot Lotto sales began Sunday at 1,900 outlets for Wednesday night's drawing, as Kansas became the ninth state to offer the game.

Kansas lottery officials had resisted offering the $1-per-ticket Hot Lotto since its inception four years ago, fearing it would compete with Powerball sales and the in-state Kansas Super Cash game, which offers a minimum jackpot of $100,000.

"Market analysis showed that wasn't the case," said Kansas Lottery Director Ed Van Petten, noting that sales for those two games may drop as much as 10 percent but will be "way offset" by Hot Lotto sales.

Lottery officials are planning to give away hundreds of free tickets statewide to promote the game.

In Hot Lotto, winners must match five numbers from a field of 39, plus the "hot ball" number from a field of 19. In Powerball, players must match numbers from a field of 55 and the "Powerball" from 42.

Odds of winning the Hot Lotto jackpot are about 1 in 11 million, as opposed to about 1 in 146 million for Powerball. The minimum top prize is $1 million, but like Powerball, it grows each time the jackpot goes unclaimed.

Average jackpots have been about $3.7 million, with drawings on Wednesday and Saturday nights. The jackpot for Wednesday's drawing is $8.29 million.

Powerball is played in 30 states and offers a minimum jackpot of $15 million. Last month, eight Nebraska meat plant workers shared a record $365 million jackpot.

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