Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
You last visited December 10, 2016, 5:39 am
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

Texas lottery players want to get rid of 'bonus ball'

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Texas lottery players want to get rid of 'bonus ball'

Players are letting the Texas Lottery Commission know in sometimes blunt and colorful language that they want the "bonus ball" to be bounced out of the Lotto game.

The panel that oversees lottery operations is expected to vote next week on a proposal to return the game to a format resembling the one that was thrown out a little more than three years ago because officials were concerned about its profitability. But they ran into a problem when the new game proved to be about 30 percent less profitable than the old.

The commission has received more than 1,400 e-mails on the back-to-the-future plan for Lotto, many endorsing the proposed changes in large part because it would kill the bonus ball.

"The idiot who made the present system ... should be fired for his/her arrogant stupidity," wrote Paul Ferreira of Grand Prairie.

Larry Powell of Dallas came at the issue from an opposite point of view, but arrived at pretty much the same conclusion.
"I don't know who came up with dropping the bonus ball, but I say let's run 'em for governor," Powell wrote. "It's the best idea for the state since paving the roads."

State law requires that any changes to such lottery games as Lotto, Pick 3 and Cash 5 must be published for public review and comment. The comments were made available to the Star-Telegram after an open records request was filed.

Lottery officials have been grappling with sluggish sales in the 13-year-old Lotto game since the late 1990s. The game is fairly simple: Players select a set of numbers, or allow a computer to do so for them, and hope that they match numbers that are drawn twice weekly. Players can win a jackpot that starts at $4 million and usually rises each time no one wins it. Players who match three or more numbers win smaller prizes.

When Lotto debuted in late 1992, players selected six numbers from 1 through 50, and the game caught on quickly as jackpots soared into the tens of millions of dollars. When the novelty died down, ticket sales cooled and the jackpots climbed at a slower pace. That prompted the lottery commission in 2000 to boost the numbers in play to 54, which increased the odds against winning but increased the jackpot.

It worked for a time, but by 2002, the renewed Lotto fever was again replaced by Lotto lethargy. That's when the bonus ball surfaced.

In February 2003, Lotto players were required to match five numbers from one field of 44, and match the bonus ball number from a second field of 44 to win the jackpot.

With the odds climbing from about 1 in 25 million to about 1 in 48 million, officials were expecting stratospheric jackpots and astronomic ticket sales.

Alas, the new Lotto rocket sputtered like a dud.

Now competing with the high-jackpot multi-state game, Mega Millions, Lotto ticket sales cratered by 30 percent. Lottery Commission Chairman C. Thomas Clowe, once an enthusiastic booster of the bonus ball, foreshadowed its expected demise.

"If I had known we were going to lose 30 percent of our player base, I never would have voted to make that change," Clowe said at a lottery commission meeting late last year. "To just give away 30 percent of our market was a mistake."
Or as Dennis Kochanski of San Antonio wrote: "You should have just left it alone. Stop [messing] with the lottery."

Under the rule up for consideration at the lottery commission meeting Monday, Lotto would be reconfigured back to the original six of 54 matrix.

Dawn Nettles, a frequent critic of the Texas Lottery, has been warning officials since 1999 that changes to the game would only anger loyal players without spicing up sales.

"This sounds like an 'I told you so,' but I did tell them so," Nettles said. "The players were never going to like the way they changed the game."

Nettles said that she heard from players who made clear that even though they might despise the bonus ball; they do not necessarily endorse all aspects of the plan to replace it.

She said that under the original configuration, 5.07 percent of every dollar taken in ticket sales went to the prize pool for second-place winners. That meant all of the players who hit five of six numbers shared equally in that prize pool and the payoff was often more than $2,500.

Under the proposed new rule, 2.23 percent of ticket sales would be earmarked for the second-place winners. Therefore, if ticket sales were sufficient to pay $2,500 to the five-of-six winners under the old rule, there would be only enough money to pay about $1,900 under the proposed rule.

The prize amounts for those who match four of six would be cut by about half. Matching three numbers under the old method guaranteed a player $5; that would be cut to $3 under the latest proposal.

Star Telegram

We'd love to see your comments here!  Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.

15 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 2
konane's avatar - wallace
Atlanta, GA
United States
Member #1265
March 13, 2003
3333 Posts
Offline
Posted: February 24, 2006, 10:57 am - IP Logged

"The idiot who made the present system ... should be fired for his/her arrogant stupidity," wrote Paul Ferreira of Grand Prairie.

Larry Powell of Dallas came at the issue from an opposite point of view, but arrived at pretty much the same conclusion.
"I don't know who came up with dropping the bonus ball, but I say let's run 'em for governor," Powell wrote. "It's the best idea for the state since paving the roads."

 When Lotto debuted in late 1992, players selected six numbers from 1 through 50, and the game caught on quickly as jackpots soared into the tens of millions of dollars. When the novelty died down, ticket sales cooled and the jackpots climbed at a slower pace.

That prompted the lottery commission in 2000 to boost the numbers in play to 54, which increased the odds against winning but increased the jackpot. Dead

 

Now if they'd wake up smell the coffee and return Lotto Texas to its orignal issue format 6/50 ... Texas players just might forgive their greed and arrogance, and resume playing to the degree they did originally.  No way Lotto Texas is ever going to compete with Mega Millions so why not bite the bullet by returning to something players liked.

Good luck to everyone!


    United States
    Member #16612
    June 2, 2005
    3493 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: February 24, 2006, 1:29 pm - IP Logged

    It was until May 2002 when Lotto Texas introduced the bonus ball because they think more people would play and get big jackpots. Lotto Texas with a bonus ball had 37 rolls at one time and had a $145 million jackpot one time. I wish that Lotto Texas goes back to a 6 number format, but increase the odds of winning the jackpot only. I think Lotto Texas should either had kept the 6 number format when they had joined Mega Millions. When will Lotto Texas take out the bonus ball and go back to 6 number format?


      United States
      Member #379
      June 5, 2002
      11296 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: February 24, 2006, 2:28 pm - IP Logged

      I agree with going back to the 6/54 (the original 6/50 is too small IMHO). Texas is also correct in dropping the bonus ball (there is no 0+1 prize in the current game, unlike MM).

        liberal47's avatar - Rowlf
        Holt MI
        United States
        Member #2244
        September 4, 2003
        69 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: February 24, 2006, 9:24 pm - IP Logged

        LOL! They tried that game here in Michigan and called it Bonus Lotto. It lost money for the state, big time. It was hated so much that the players took to calling it BONE-US Lotto! Thank God they reverted to the regular lotto 6 47 format.

          Avatar

          United States
          Member #1826
          July 11, 2003
          2645 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: February 24, 2006, 10:43 pm - IP Logged

          LOL! They tried that game here in Michigan and called it Bonus Lotto. It lost money for the state, big time. It was hated so much that the players took to calling it BONE-US Lotto! Thank God they reverted to the regular lotto 6 47 format.

          Explain how Bonus Lotto worked. From what I heard and seen on the MI Lottery website, it was just a 6/47 game. What was different about it?

          (insert signature here)

            Avatar

            United States
            Member #10720
            January 23, 2005
            933 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: February 24, 2006, 10:51 pm - IP Logged

            It seems in states that joined Mega Millions or Powerball, their state lotto lost sales and jackpots rarely reach $10 million. Most people don't care if the odds are a factor of 10 worse, as long as the jackpots are a factor of 10 bigger. States with Mega Millions or Powerball should drop their local Lotto games completely and that would put even more $ into MM/PB jackpots.

              whitmansm2's avatar - Lottery-029.jpg
              Right here...can't you see me?
              United States
              Member #21521
              September 10, 2005
              131 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: February 24, 2006, 11:34 pm - IP Logged

              In Ks, we have a 1/32 and a bonus ball 1/25. Of course the minimum is $100K, but the odds are better and they play it 3 times a week. Why get rid of it? We have PB, and I play it, but the odds are WAY higher.

              I like having a local game.

              No No

              Don't cry over spilled milk.  Go milk another cow!!

              Stephanie

                whitmansm2's avatar - Lottery-029.jpg
                Right here...can't you see me?
                United States
                Member #21521
                September 10, 2005
                131 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: February 24, 2006, 11:35 pm - IP Logged

                Oh BTW Cashonly.....You have to take the win in a lump sum!
                LOL

                No No

                Don't cry over spilled milk.  Go milk another cow!!

                Stephanie

                  Avatar

                  United States
                  Member #1826
                  July 11, 2003
                  2645 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: February 24, 2006, 11:48 pm - IP Logged

                  In Ks, we have a 1/32 and a bonus ball 1/25. Of course the minimum is $100K, but the odds are better and they play it 3 times a week. Why get rid of it? We have PB, and I play it, but the odds are WAY higher.

                  I like having a local game.

                  If they could only draw Super Kansas Cash with balls, then it would definately be high up there on America's best game list.

                  (insert signature here)

                    Avatar
                    Louisville, KY
                    United States
                    Member #15734
                    May 20, 2005
                    203 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: February 25, 2006, 12:45 am - IP Logged

                    LOL! They tried that game here in Michigan and called it Bonus Lotto. It lost money for the state, big time. It was hated so much that the players took to calling it BONE-US Lotto! Thank God they reverted to the regular lotto 6 47 format.

                    Explain how Bonus Lotto worked. From what I heard and seen on the MI Lottery website, it was just a 6/47 game. What was different about it?

                    Bonus Lotto worked like this:

                    In most respects, it was like any other normal 6/47 game... match the first 6 and win the jackpot. The reasons why it flopped:

                    1. The seventh number, or bonus ball, was not allowed to be chosen - only 6 numbers showed up on your ticket. People did not like this at all.

                    2. In previous formats, Match 5 of 6 was a set $2500. With BL, 5/6/0 was changed to a pari-mutuel prize, hovering around $250. The 5/6/1 (in other words, 6 of 7) paid out a pari-mutuel prize of no more than $3000, when it was advertised that pots would normally be over $10,000. Too many people thought that they had won the jackpot when they matched the 7th number, only to find out they didn't and got the 6/7 prize.  The 4/6 in previous formats paid out a set $100. With this, 4/6/0 paid a P-M prize of about $5. 4/6/1 was also pari-mutuel, and paid around $60-$70 when advertisements said $500-$600. People also confused this with the 5/6/0 match, since on the tickets there was no separation of numbers.

                    3. People had been used to regular Lotto 47 (and Lotto 6/40 & Super Lotto 6/44) for 10 years... The lottery then, as often as is now, just decided to change the game on a whim and suffered the consequences.

                    4. The jackpot rolled forever... but it did produce the highest jackpot in state history at the time - $36.5 million in August of 1994.

                    5. The game didn't even last 6 months before it was replaced. The game began in March of '94 and was replaced in early December of that same year. Complaints were extremely noisy to Lansing, and the lottery did something never thought of before that time - listen to its players.

                    No one liked the pari-mutuel prize structure, or the overall appeal of the game. When the drawing appeared on TV, a giant blazing red ping-pong ball appeared on the screen and then bounced off somewhat quickly. About the same how the game came & went... bounced in & bounced right out.

                    The format was tweaked a few years later for Michigan Millions (6/51), the replacement to the replacement of Bonus Lotto (Michigan Lotto). All prizes were now pari-mutuel, and the dreaded bonus ball, or "Wild Ball", as it was known, also returned. As you might expect, the game was dropped in favor of WinFall about 18 months after its intro.

                    Michiganians do not take to bonus balls very well for the in-state drawings. It hasn't worked before, and it probably never will.

                      Avatar

                      United States
                      Member #1826
                      July 11, 2003
                      2645 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: February 25, 2006, 2:08 am - IP Logged

                      I appreciate the insight, but I never remember seeing any bonus balls on the old results page.

                      (insert signature here)

                        LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                        Tennessee
                        United States
                        Member #7853
                        October 15, 2004
                        11338 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: February 25, 2006, 4:09 am - IP Logged

                        states are getting too greedy.

                          sirbrad's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
                          PA
                          United States
                          Member #22983
                          October 6, 2005
                          2226 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: February 27, 2006, 5:28 am - IP Logged

                          Great, not get rid of the powerball bonus ball while you are at it, and go back to 53 balls. That way everyone still has a 0000000.1% of winning.

                            konane's avatar - wallace
                            Atlanta, GA
                            United States
                            Member #1265
                            March 13, 2003
                            3333 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: February 27, 2006, 8:23 am - IP Logged

                            states are getting too greedy.

                              I Agree!  That's the problem in a nutshell. 

                            For any new game concepts lotteries need to have focus groups, input from a wide demographic base, or even simple questionnaires on site like Powerball did in order to find out what grassroots players really want. 

                            If players get what they want, they will play more which makes it a win/win for everyone.  Big Grin Angel

                            Good luck to everyone!