Thirty-five years ago this summer, the newly created Ohio Lottery held its first-ever drawing, a public spectacle at Parmatown Mall that drew more than 1,000 people.
Comedian Don Rickles had originally been invited to emcee the drawing of the new Buckeye 300 weekly game, but the public had to settle for Miss Ohio World 1974 and local TV stars Big Chuck and Hoolihan.
Since then, the Ohio Lottery has turned hundreds of people into millionaires and transferred about $16 billion to Ohio's public schools — $672.2 million alone during fiscal 2008.
Here are some interesting facts, figures and trivia as the lottery heads into middle age:
Pick 4 trends
From Jan. 1, 2000 to May 5, 2009, the most often drawn Pick 4 combination was 5-8-4-2, which was selected six times.
The numbers 2-0-2-8, 4-5-7-0, and 5-0-4-4 have come up five times each.
More than half of the 10,000 Pick 4 combinations — 5,433 to be exact (as of May 5, 2009) — have not been selected at all since Jan. 1, 2000. Another 3,366 combinations have hit only once.
Pick 3 trends
From Jan. 1, 2000 to May 5, 2009, the most often drawn Pick 3 combination was 6-1-0, which hit 20 times! (The next closest numbers, 4-1-8 and 8-9-2, hit 15 times each.)
Fifteen three-number combos hit only once.
The coldest Pick 3 number — or perhaps the most overdue — is 0-9-0, which has not been selected at all since Jan. 1, 2000.
Mega Millions trends
Since the Mega Millions went to 56 regular balls and 46 gold balls on June 24, 2005, here are the hottest numbers (through the June 9, 2009, drawing):
- 14 (picked 48 times)
- 36 (48 times)
- 48 (47 times)
- 46 (47 times)
- 5 (46 times)
- 53 (46 times)
Hottest gold balls: 7, 35 and 36, each picked 14 times.
And the coldest numbers . . .
- 47 (picked 23 times)
- 6 (picked 25 times)
- 49 (picked 26 times)
- 37 (picked 29 times)
- 23 (picked 30 times)
- 11 (picked 30 times)
Coldest gold ball: 23, picked just four times.
Where does a dollar spent on the lottery go?
- 60 cents – prizes
- 29 cents – education
- 6 cents – retailers
- 5 cents – lottery operations
Where are we spending our lottery dollars?
- 58.7 percent – instant games
- 16.7 percent – Pick 3
- 8.6 percent – Mega Millions
- 8.6 percent – Pick 4
- 3.0 percent – Rolling Cash 5
- 1.8 percent – Classic Lotto
- 2.6 percent – other games (Kicker, EZ Play, Ten-OH, etc.)
Total Ohio Lottery ticket sales
- 2008 – $2.325 billion
- 2007 – $2.259 billion
- 2006 – $2.220 billion
- 2005 – $2.159 billion
- 2004 – $2.155 billion
In Ohio, per-capita spending on the lottery was $197 in 2007. In Massachusetts, home of the most popular state lottery in terms of per-person spending, the average person wagered $689 on the lottery in 2007.
One of the reasons for its popularity might be that Massachusetts is one of the most generous states when it comes to using revenue for prize money. While Ohio paid back about 59 cents in prizes for every dollar of sales in 2007, Massachusetts paid back about 73 cents for every dollar.
- 8,005 – Number of Ohio Lottery retailers in fiscal 2008.
- 9,331 – Number of Ohio Lottery retailers in fiscal 1999.
While that might seem like a lot, consider this: Of the $323.2 million in total state funding the Cleveland School District received, about $34 million, or about 10.5 percent, came from lottery funds. When you weigh that against the district's total funding, including local and federal taxes, the amount received from the lottery is less than a nickel per dollar of funding.
In fiscal 2008, the average public school student in Ohio received $373 in funding from the lottery.
The hunt for bigger prizes?
In the last 10 years, sales in the . . .
- Pick 3 game have dropped 3.1 percent
- Pick 4 game have increased 58.9 percent
The ever-increasing jackpot
Since its inception on Jan. 21, 2007, Classic Lotto (which replaced the unpopular Lot O' Play game) has only been won four times. The jackpot, which starts at $1 million, continues to build each drawing there is no winner.
In the past year, the jackpot has been won twice — on July 2, 2008 ($24.6 million) and on Aug 20, 2008 ($3 million) — but other than those two drawings, players of the game have only seen the jackpot increase each time. (http://www.lotterypost.com/game/313/jackpot)
Just a coincidence?
Just moments after No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 2 Michigan 42-39 in a classic football showdown on November 18, 2006, the lottery machines selected 4-2-3-9 as the winning Pick 4 number. (http://www.lotterypost.com/news/145183)
A few weeks later, after Ohio State fell to Florida 41-14 in the national championship, lottery players, hoping for a repeat, bet the number 4-1-1-4 so much the lottery had to halt wagering on the number. (http://www.lotterypost.com/news/148547)
The Pick 4 combo selected after that game? 9-1-0-4.
Ohio gets more than its fair share?
Since Ohio joined the Mega Millions game in 2002, 99 jackpots have been awarded in the twelve states that participate. Fourteen of those jackpots — or shares of them — have been won in Ohio.
If the jackpots were divided evenly between the states, each Mega Millions state would win eight or nine of them.