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

Topic closed. 15 replies. Last post 11 years ago by CASH Only.

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United States
Member #379
June 5, 2002
11296 Posts
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Posted: February 27, 2006, 1:35 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?

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.

Wasn't Bonus Lotto a $2 game? I also had read that if you did not win the jackpot, you had to match the Bonus Ball to win (eg 5/6 plus BB won $50,000; match 5/6 but not BB won _nothing_!)