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Bonus ball bounced by Lotto Texas

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Bonus ball bounced by Lotto Texas

Come Sunday, Lotto Texas players won't have the "bonus ball" to kick around anymore.

When Saturday night's drawing for Lotto's $32 million jackpot is over, the Texas Lottery Commission will reintroduce the version of the game it abandoned in October 2003. The move came after players sent a clear signal that they do not like having to match the number on that extra ball for a chance to win the grand prize.

How clear was the signal?

Lotto ticket sales plummeted by 30 percent after the bonus ball was introduced.

Lottery Commission Chairman C. Thomas Clowe said the agency, which generates about $1 billion annually for the state, needs to be responsive to players' wishes because so many more opportunities have surfaced in recent years for those who enjoy risking a little money for the prospect of winning a whole lot more.

"Our games have to be fresh, they have to be attractive because players vote with their pocketbooks," Clowe said. "And there is a lot more competition for that gaming dollar now than there was when Lotto was first introduced here back in the early 1990s. There's Internet gaming, there are casinos all along our borders and there are all of these eight-liners out there."

Eight-liners refer to game-of-chance terminals in truck stops and convenience stores where prizes are sometimes illegally converted to cash.

Under the back-to-the-future configuration of Lotto that will appear Sunday, players will attempt to match six numbers from a field of 54 to win the jackpot. Lotto jackpots start at $4 million and are designed to increase when no one matches all six numbers in the twice-weekly drawings. Prizes are also awarded to players who match three, four or five of the numbers drawn.

Lottery officials are promoting the change with television ads featuring retired Dallas Cowboys Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith talking furtively of a comeback. But the comeback refers to the returning Lotto configuration.

The odds of winning a Lotto jackpot will go from 1 in about 48 million to about 1 in 25.8 million when the game is changed.

The higher odds under the bonus ball setup were designed to limit winners and drive the jackpots into the $100 million range, which was supposed to boost ticket sales. But the sluggish pace of sales during the low jackpot periods made the climb toward those jackpots slow.

Lottery officials are still hoping for high jackpots, so they plan to devote a higher percentage of the ticket sales to the grand prize, meaning that the nonjackpot winnings will be much smaller than in the past. Lottery critic Dawn Nettles, publisher of the Lotto Report newsletter, criticized the strategy and predicted that it would backfire with loyal players.

"The game they're fixing to start on Sunday is not the game we had before," Nettles said, referring to the reduced lower-level prizes and to the fact that the game was originally designed with 50 numbers, not 54. "This is deceptive advertising."

Fort Worth Star Telegram

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23 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by CASH Only.
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dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

United States
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September 17, 2003
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Posted: April 21, 2006, 9:38 am - IP Logged

Getting rid of bonus balls is always a double edged sword. WA state had a $47 million pot with lotto plus. Now it's a rarity to see it at $4 million. The drasictic prize reduction has driven sales down since almost no one buys tickets for it any more escept those who were buying tickets at the $1 million level.


    United States
    Member #379
    June 5, 2002
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    Posted: April 21, 2006, 9:43 am - IP Logged

    The bonus ball itself was not the problem, as Mega Millions has the Mega Ball. Texas Two-Step is a 4+1 game. Matching the bonus ball alone won nothing, unlike in Mega Millions.

      Avatar

      United States
      Member #33085
      February 18, 2006
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      Posted: April 21, 2006, 9:50 am - IP Logged

      dvdiva: Great point.  All state-run lotteries will always get theirs.  But you have to be able to see thru hype.  That's precisely why I play quick picks $2-$5 at a time.  Going for the big one.

        Bradly_60's avatar - disney37
        Atlantic Mine, Michigan
        United States
        Member #416
        June 23, 2002
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        Posted: April 21, 2006, 10:15 am - IP Logged

        Once you bring in a multi state game sales always plummet.  This is pretty much what happened.  State's need to find a new game to get players back on those games.  The pick 6 out of whatever isn't what people want anymore.  People get bored with those games.  It will be nice when the states actually come to their senses and create games that are actually exciting again.

        Brad

          Avatar
          Northern California
          United States
          Member #19948
          August 9, 2005
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          Posted: April 21, 2006, 11:53 am - IP Logged

          Survey after survey, respondents report "I want to win more money more often - jackpots are nice but I want to win". California had a great result when they went to a two-field format.But in my experience, people really play for the big win. If you wnt to win more, smaller prizes, why would you ever play lotto games when you can buy scratch tickets?

          Brad is right - the norm is to lose netween 30 and 35% of in-state lotto sales when you bring in a multi-state game. 

          Low annuity factors, the addition of multi-state and the ongoing pummeling of the lottery have all led to where Lotto Texas is today.

           The Lottery is trying to give "the players" what they've asked for - we'll see if they respond.  Odds of 1:28,500,000 in a state the size of TX will not lead to very many big jackpots though - and it will take a very long time to roll to any big amounts (which makes the odds of getting there all the more unlikely).

            Avatar

            United States
            Member #24439
            October 22, 2005
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            Posted: April 21, 2006, 11:58 am - IP Logged

            Bonus balls are good if the actually pay like with MM and PB. It depends is the bonus ball helps you win more or else throw it out.

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              Amarillo/Austin
              United States
              Member #1424
              April 25, 2003
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              Posted: April 21, 2006, 12:59 pm - IP Logged

              I assume that if no one wins the $32 million on Saturday, the first drawing for the 6 ball format will be for $35 million or more.  It would only pay to go with a Quick Pick.  No back data to go on for at least 5 to 10 drawings.

              Orangeman                                    Hurray!

                LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                Tennessee
                United States
                Member #7853
                October 15, 2004
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                Posted: April 21, 2006, 1:01 pm - IP Logged

                if these states have mega millions or powerball that right there is like having an exxon sitting next to a mom and pop store.how are the little games going to compete with the big?? the answer is they can't....

                  LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
                  Tx
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                  Member #4570
                  May 4, 2004
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                  Posted: April 21, 2006, 1:02 pm - IP Logged

                  I would not waste any of my money playing the Texas lotto, maybe if it was a 6/49 or 6/50 game with no bonus ball and only if the lower prizes were high enough, since winning the jackpot prize is not very likely to happen no matter what, lower prizes are all that really counts, if the lower prizes are very low then the game is no good, those who dream of winning the jackpot prize are doing just that "Dreaming", I would not play any games of chance in which there is no profit to be made and without good lower prizes there is no profit to be made playing the Texas Lotto and other such jackpot games.
                  Is your money, use it as you want to, the Texas Lottery already makes way too much money as it is.

                    LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
                    Tx
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                    Posted: April 21, 2006, 1:05 pm - IP Logged

                    I assume that if no one wins the $32 million on Saturday, the first drawing for the 6 ball format will be for $35 million or more.  It would only pay to go with a Quick Pick.  No back data to go on for at least 5 to 10 drawings.

                    Orangeman                                    Hurray!

                    The old back data of when the game was 6/54 with no bonus ball, would perhaps be just as good as anything maybe even including the new game's data to yet come.

                      LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                      Tennessee
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                      October 15, 2004
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                      Posted: April 21, 2006, 1:07 pm - IP Logged

                      texas needs a pick 4.................

                        LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
                        Tx
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                        May 4, 2004
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                        Posted: April 21, 2006, 1:10 pm - IP Logged

                        texas needs a pick 4.................

                        That is right, but maybe Texas is either afraid of the competition to other lottery games and or of people winning big money on a pick 4 game.

                          MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
                          Beautiful Florida
                          United States
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                          July 18, 2004
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                          Posted: April 21, 2006, 3:15 pm - IP Logged

                          taking the "bonus ball" away and than lowering the lower teir prize level, is like the "Robinhood" effect, take from the bottom and give to the top. Why even drop the bonus ball if that is what they're going to do? Doesn't make sense to me.

                          The good people of "Texas" need to boycott the lottery for a couple of weeks and then see if the commission is listening...!  What a shame. 

                                                                       

                                                                         "  When Injustice Becomes Law, Resistance Becomes Duty "


                            United States
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                            Posted: April 21, 2006, 4:28 pm - IP Logged

                            Sales were so bad in Lotto Texas sales (with bonus ball) that even their Pick 3 outsaled Lotto Texas. I hope sales in new matrix helps Texas outsale Pick 3. However, I don't expect Lotto Texas to have big sales in the past.