Updated: Feb.8, 2005, 6:11pm
The California Lottery Commission today approved the California Lottery joining the multi-state lottery game Mega Millions.
The Commission voted 3-0 Tuesday to approve the move.
"We are excited to enter into this partnership and look forward to providing our players with what they have asked for, jackpots in the $200-$300 million range," says Chon Gutierrez, interim lottery director, in a written statement.
California has been considering joining a multi-state lottery game for more than a year in an effort to whet gamblers' interest in buying lottery tickets.
Officials say they picked Mega Millions because there will be more frequent big jackpots including a greater probability of jackpots greater than $200 million. Also, there will be a better chance of increasing Lottery sales because joining the game would double the number of days with a big jackpot game, they say. Mega Millions' drawings are on Tuesdays and Thursdays; the California Lottery will continue to hold its own drawings on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
In addition to California, states participating are New York, Texas, Ohio, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington.
Mega Millions' highest jackpot occurred in May 2002 when it reached $363 million. In comparison, the California Lottery's highest jackpot to date has been $193 million.
California Lottery Multi-State Game Recommendation
Joining a multi-state game is good for California, good for Lottery players and good for the California State Lottery.
The Lottery has been successful for the State of California we have seen the highest sales ever in the past 4 years.
- 2004 was the biggest year ever with $2.97 billion in total sales.
When compared with other states, however, California is only ranked fifth in the nation in total sales even though we have the largest population. We know we can do even better.
- NY is #1 with nearly $6 billion in sales.
- MA is #2 with more than $4 billion in sales.
Every business knows that to stay competitive you must create fresh and exciting products, especially in the entertainment business.
- Soft drinks do it there are any number of Pepsi products offered to the consumer no longer just Pepsi.
- In 1985, there were 370 new feature films released. In 2004, there were 459 24% increase.
- The same thing has happened in television. In 1990, we had the choice of 60 stations through cable or satellite and now you can get more than 250 stations through cable or satellite.
Now is the right time to review our product offering.
- The Lottery has not launched a new game since Daily Derby®, in 1998.
- There hasnt been any major change to the existing games since SuperLOTTO Plus®, in 2000.
- SuperLOTTO Plus is a mature product and the most popular Lottery game.
Multi-state lotteries have become a best practice in lottery states.
- Today only California and Florida are not participants in a multi-state game.
- More people play when jackpots are larger.
- Jackpots can reach more than $100 and $200 million several times each year.
The multi-state lottery game that best meets the needs of California will be recommended to the Lottery Commission.
Questions & Answers
What is a multi-state lottery game?
- Multi-state lottery games are a result of more than one state participating in the same lotto type game. There are currently two major multi-state games in the country: Powerball (27 member states, plus District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands) and Mega Millions (11 member states).
Why is California joining a multi-state game?
- Even though the Lottery just had its best sales year ever, it can still do better, and joining a multi-state game is one way to do this.
- The Lottery has not launched a new game since 1998. A multi-state game will give Lottery players more choices and create excitement by generating more large jackpots.
- California and Florida are the only two lottery states that have not joined a multi-state game.
- The Lottery anticipates that a multi-state game will increase total sales by around $500 million a year.
- Joining a multi-state game will offer a fresh and exciting new game to Lottery players.
How will I play the multi-state game?
- The multi-state game will be available at all current Lottery retailer locations and costs $1 per play. Both major multi-state games are similar to SuperLOTTO Plus (a player chooses 5 numbers from one field and one number from another with nine ways to win a cash prize.) Like SuperLOTTO Plus, there will be two draws per week.
- The winning numbers will be available at all Lottery retailer locations, on the Lotterys website, at the winning number hotline, and in major newspapers.
- Winning tickets will be cashed the same way as SuperLOTTO Plus. Players will have a choice of receiving the jackpot in one lump sum or in graduated annual payments.
What did the Lottery consider in recommending which multi-state game to join?
- One of the ways the Lottery weighed which game would be the best fit for California was by comparing the expected number of big jackpots from both major multi-state games.
- The Lottery also looked at which of the two major multi-state games would best allow SuperLOTTO Plus to continue to being a flag ship product.
Who makes the final decision on which multi-state game California joins?
- The California Lottery Commission is authorized to make this decision. The California Lottery Commission is comprised of 5 members who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.
Where does the money from the multi-state game go?
- All of the money wagered on a multi-state game stays in California. Players in other states cannot cash their winning tickets in California. Currently, 32-33 cents goes to funding the multi-state jackpot, from each of the membership states. As with other California Lottery games, at least 50% of revenues will be returned to prizes and 34% will to be transferred to our beneficiary.
Will SuperLOTTO Plus continue to be available? If so, what affect will joining a multi-state game have on it?
- Yes, we do not anticipate any changes to SuperLOTTO Plus at this time. All other Lottery draw games will also continue to be available, i.e., Fantasy 5, Daily 3, Hot Spot® and Daily Derby®.
When will a multi-state game be available in California?
- If the Lottery Commission approves joining a multi-state game, the Lottery will aggressively pursue the necessary system modifications to implement the game as quickly and efficiently as possible. The actual implementation date has yet to be determined.
What are the odds of winning a prize in a multi-state game?
- The overall odds of winning any prize in Mega Millions currently are 1 43 and the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 135 million. The overall odds of winning any prize in Powerball currently are 1 36 and the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 120 million.
Will the prize payouts in California be the same as they are in other states that participate in multi-state games?
- The payouts for all prizes except the Jackpot will differ for California than the other states. Other states may offer fixed prizes, but in California, all prizes must be pari-mutuel, meaning they will be based on sales and the number of winners, as with other Lottery draw games.
CA Lottery Fact Sheet
California State Lottery History
- On November 6, 1984, 58% of California's voters approved Proposition 37, the California State Lottery Act. The Act provides that at least 34% of the Lottery revenues go to public education. This supplemental funding provides schools with additional resources to meet their locally determined needs.
- The Lottery offers its players a choice of six different types of games: SuperLOTTO Plus®, Fantasy 5, Hot Spot®, Daily Derby®, Daily 3, and Scratchers® tickets.
19-Year Financial History
- Over $43 billion in sales earned.
- Over $21 billion in prizes won.
- $2.7 billion given to retailers in bonus.
- 1,776 players have won prizes of $1 million or more.
SuperLOTTO Plus Statistics
- Odds of winning the SuperLOTTO Plus jackpot are 1 in 41 million, with Jackpots starting at $7 million.
- The SuperLOTTO Plus draws occur Wednesdays and Saturdays at 7:58 pm.
- The largest California jackpot ever was $193 million on February 16, 2002, split by three winning tickets bought in Half Moon Bay, Montebello and Orange.
- The second largest jackpot was $141 million on June 23, 2001, won by a player in San Jose, California. At the same time he also became the largest individual prizewinner in California Lottery history.
- There are more than 18,000 Lottery retailers in California.
- Retailers receive a bonus of ½ of 1% for selling a winning SuperLOTTO Plus 6/6 ticket, a Fantasy 5 top prize winning ticket and anyone who spins The Big Spin prize wheel.