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# Illinois Lottery adds new feature to numbers games

Topic closed. 69 replies. Last post 4 years ago by jamella724.

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Happyland
United States
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September 1, 2013
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 12:20 pm - IP Logged

Harsh but a reality. The lottery never implements changes unless they would benefit the lottery itself, not the player.

I think your calculations are off. When playing straight with Fireball if a player wins they do not win \$500 on a \$1 wager. They win the 50 cent wager which returns \$250. Only if one of their balls matches the Fireball do they win again

That's why I said they carefully worded it. All you have to do is multiply the odds by the winnings to get the expected return. 3/2000 times \$250 is definitely worse than 1/1000 times \$500. So 95% of the time they lose 12.5 cents more. Boxes and everything else has worse returns anyway so I only calculated for straight.

If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

2017: 0% (0 tickets)
P&L % = Total Win(\$)/Total Wager(\$) - 1

Los Angeles, California
United States
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January 5, 2011
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 1:47 pm - IP Logged

Harsh but a reality. The lottery never implements changes unless they would benefit the lottery itself, not the player.

I think your calculations are off. When playing straight with Fireball if a player wins they do not win \$500 on a \$1 wager. They win the 50 cent wager which returns \$250. Only if one of their balls matches the Fireball do they win again

That's why I said they carefully worded it. All you have to do is multiply the odds by the winnings to get the expected return. 3/2000 times \$250 is definitely worse than 1/1000 times \$500. So 95% of the time they lose 12.5 cents more. Boxes and everything else has worse returns anyway so I only calculated for straight.

No, you don't understand the lottery industry. You're a new member so you should read up on some other articles some more.

Over the years the lotteries have introduced games with successively higher payouts above the standard 50% return of daily and jackpot games.(particularly scratch games) The reasoning being higher payouts brings in new players, or entices existing players to play more. A lot of people complain about lotteries trying to boost profits, but they can't really do that. Their profit margin is largely fixed in the legislation. What they can do is increase revenue, thereby increasing funds for public benefit. But they can't line their pockets with extra profits.

TX recently introduced a new All or Nothing game with a 56% return. But they launched it with a fatal flaw of not having a liability cap, so they had to suspend it, but it was brought back after a rules revision

SC recently created a new type of Cash 6 game with a 74% return. But it is being cancelled due to poor sales. You wonder why they come up with these new games and don't advertise the increased payout, and the prize structure is somewhat confusing, and they are surprized when sales are lackluster.

As for this new IL Pick 3 plus Fireball, my initial numbers were a little off. The return is actually higher at 62.5% return for Straight play. Read the rules and watch the video on the IL lottery website. Playing Fireball does not diminish your straight bet, it gives you chances to win up to 3 more times with an extra matching side bet, up to \$2,000 for Pick 3.(and \$25,000 for Pick 4) Hit ratio for basic Pick 3 straight is 0.1%, but with plus Fireball it is 0.25% hits with all the other ways to win.

South Carolina
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November 4, 2001
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 2:08 pm - IP Logged

Only a sample of how I would approach the fireball game taking the chance on a red ball being drawn.

Run some combos like this example in an exact order of your choice and take your chance on a fireball number being drawn.
Only four ways a pick 3 can fall using low pairs or high pairs.
all low
all high
one low two high
two low one high

An example of combinations without duplicating low pairs or high pairs
01234
combo_ pairs
012__ 01 02 12
034__ 03 04 34
135__ 13 15 35
146__ 14 16 46
237__ 23 27 37
248__ 24 28 48

low pair 01 02 03 04 12 13 14 23 24 34
low high 15 16 27 28 35 37 46 48

____________________________
56789
combo_ pairs
567__ 56 57 67
589__ 58 59 89
680__ 06 08 68
693__ 36 39 69
781__ 17 18 78
790__ 07 09 79

high pair 56 57 58 59 67 68 69 78 79 89
low high  06 07 08 09 17 18 36 39

If you think a double is going to drop with a fireball number dropping. You have all the trips to play.

Playing trips with a fireball number dropping would be an exact order bet. But the fireball number has got to drop to win unless the trip selected drops.

Oo'Ka

Happyland
United States
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 3:53 pm - IP Logged

Well I am neither new to this forum nor the "lottery industry;" however, I am calculating payouts using "with Fireball" odds. I do not see other payoffs listed anywhere in the rules. I can't really comment on it further without other information

If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

2017: 0% (0 tickets)
P&L % = Total Win(\$)/Total Wager(\$) - 1

Los Angeles, California
United States
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January 5, 2011
1530 Posts
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 4:00 pm - IP Logged

Well I am neither new to this forum nor the "lottery industry;" however, I am calculating payouts using "with Fireball" odds. I do not see other payoffs listed anywhere in the rules. I can't really comment on it further without other information

Oh really, my mistake. Your account ID says new member, Sept 1, 2013. In general, you aren't supposed to make more than one account on LP. What was your old ID?

As for AoN, you say my 56% number is incorrect and should be 51%, so could you then show me your math, and compare that to the graph in the link in my post above?

For the IL Pick3 plus Fireball, the basic odds should look something like this:

 IL Pick 3 plus Fireball (Str) \$2 Total Return Prizes Odds 1 in Match 62.50% \$500 2,000 Fireball 3 50.03% \$500 2,000 Fireball 2 37.54% \$500 2,000 Fireball 1 25.04% \$500 1,000 Straight _ Overall: 400.00 _ IL Pick 3 plus Fireball (Box3) \$2 Total Return Prizes Odds 1 in Match 60.00% \$160 667 Fireball 3 48.07% \$160 667 Fireball 2 36.11% \$160 667 Fireball 1 24.11% \$160 333 3-Way Box _ Overall: 133.33 _ IL Pick 3 plus Fireball (Box6) \$2 Total Return Prizes Odds 1 in Match 60.00% \$80 333 Fireball 3 48.14% \$80 333 Fireball 2 36.22% \$80 333 Fireball 1 24.22% \$80 167 6-Way Box _ Overall: 66.67 _
Happyland
United States
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 4:04 pm - IP Logged

You do not have to have an account to browse the forums or read articles.

Yes, I corrected my post by removing that claim. It was I in fact who was wrong in my math (not counting jackpot AoN twice). Anyway, AoN is a native game with no add-on wagers so I don't think it is accurate to compare it to a game that features side bets.

You are comparing returns for \$1 plus \$1; I was calculating 50 cent plus 50 cent.

If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

2017: 0% (0 tickets)
P&L % = Total Win(\$)/Total Wager(\$) - 1

Happyland
United States
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September 1, 2013
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 4:30 pm - IP Logged

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-3 but the Fireball is blank (happens 50% of the time). You lose \$1.

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-3 but the Fireball is 5 or any number not drawn or blank (happens 95% of the time). You lose \$1.

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-3 and the Fireball is 3 (happens 5% of the time)! You win \$250, because it replaces your number (50 cent wager payoff is \$250).

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-4 and the Fireball is 6 or blank or any number not drawn (again 95% of the time). You win \$250 on a bet you would have won \$500 for the same cost.

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-4 and the Fireball is 4 (happens 5% of the time)! I am pretty sure you only win \$500 but maybe it is \$250 x 3 since there are 3 digits. Okay let's say it multiplies, so you win \$750.

Now read all of those outcomes and tell me how paying twice your bet is better. You will only either match or use the Fireball to replace a number 5% of the time. The payoff would have to be MUCH bigger than what I'm seeing to make it worth doubling your cost.

If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

2017: 0% (0 tickets)
P&L % = Total Win(\$)/Total Wager(\$) - 1

Happyland
United States
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September 1, 2013
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 4:52 pm - IP Logged

Gah, editing time limits!  I think this illustrates it better.....using "Straight" since naturally it has highest EV.

 My Numbers Fireball Fireball Occurences Drawn With Fireball (NET @ \$1.00) Without Fireball (NET @ \$1.00) 123 Blank 50% 124 -\$1.00 -\$1.00 123 0 5% 124 -\$1.00 -\$1.00 123 1 5% 124 -\$1.00 -\$1.00 123 2 5% 124 -\$1.00 -\$1.00 123 3 5% 124 -\$1.00 -\$1.00 123 4 5% 124 \$249.00 -\$1.00 123 5 5% 124 -\$1.00 -\$1.00 123 6 5% 124 -\$1.00 -\$1.00 123 7 5% 124 -\$1.00 -\$1.00 123 8 5% 124 -\$1.00 -\$1.00 123 9 5% 124 -\$1.00 -\$1.00 124 Blank 50% 124 \$249.00 \$499.00 124 0 5% 124 \$249.00 \$499.00 124 1 5% 124 \$499.00 (?) \$499.00 124 2 5% 124 \$499.00 (?) \$499.00 124 3 5% 124 \$249.00 \$499.00 124 4 5% 124 \$499.00 (?) \$499.00 124 5 5% 124 \$249.00 \$499.00 124 6 5% 124 \$249.00 \$499.00 124 7 5% 124 \$249.00 \$499.00 124 8 5% 124 \$249.00 \$499.00 124 9 5% 124 \$249.00 \$499.00

It helps you win an additional 5% of the time, but when you do win it helps you lose half your winnings most of the time! Even if they pay \$750 for Fireball, the average gain is \$117.42 vs. \$249.00 without. Yeah, sounds like a real bargain!

If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

2017: 0% (0 tickets)
P&L % = Total Win(\$)/Total Wager(\$) - 1

Kentucky
United States
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February 14, 2006
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 5:12 pm - IP Logged

Stack,

This tells any aware player all they have to know:

The Fireball ball is drawn from a pool of numbered and unnumbered balls (10 numbered balls 0–9 and 10 unnumbered balls for Pick 3; 10 numbered balls 0–9 and 20 unnumbered balls for Pick 4).

On the Pick 3 it's 10 and 10, on the Pick 4 10 and 20.......the house has 2 to 1 the best of it on the Fireball.

THANKS FOR PLAYING, CHUMP.

Consider what this Northstar group did with the Illiois Pick 5, formerly Little Lotto now Lucky Day Lotto. For an extra dollar you can play Ez Match and if one of your Pick 5 numbers matches one of the five Ez Match numbers you win \$1 to \$500. The odds against winning \$500 are 210,000:1. Hello, just put the addittional dollar on another Pick 5 ticket, \$100,000 progressive.

These guys are marketers and self-promoters but not really doing much for the players.

Dear Northstar,

Here's an idea. Since there are going to be four Fireballs a day, and some of them will be blanks (most of them in the Pick 4), offer a side bet of the days Fireballs. (Wonder what the odds on this one would be, 0-9 plus 30 blanks to figure!)

Today's result was 9 _ _ _.

People could play the side bet just like Pick 4, straight, straight box, etc....and also a bet on the total would be interesting, too. Another side bet could be one number, three blanks, all blanks, all numbers, etc....

Sincerely,

Coin Toss, LP

"These guys are marketers and self-promoters but not really doing much for the players."

To win both bets, the player must first beat 999 to 1 odds to get 3 chances out of 20 to win the second bet too. IMO, there is no real extra value by playing Fireball trying to win both bets when we can simply bet on the same combo twice.

The My 3 game gives the player the chance to turn a losing bet into a winning bet by lowering the straight and box payoffs and not a bad bet for players that can't hit straight or box. The Fireball is just an extension of turning a losing bet into a winning by giving longer odds of winning and giving a larger payoff for doing the same thing.

They already know players believe they can beat 175 million to 1 odds based on MM and PB sales volumes so why not offer a pick-3 option with much lower odds than MM and PB?

Los Angeles, California
United States
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January 5, 2011
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 6:23 pm - IP Logged

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-3 but the Fireball is blank (happens 50% of the time). You lose \$1.

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-3 but the Fireball is 5 or any number not drawn or blank (happens 95% of the time). You lose \$1.

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-3 and the Fireball is 3 (happens 5% of the time)! You win \$250, because it replaces your number (50 cent wager payoff is \$250).

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-4 and the Fireball is 6 or blank or any number not drawn (again 95% of the time). You win \$250 on a bet you would have won \$500 for the same cost.

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-4 and the Fireball is 4 (happens 5% of the time)! I am pretty sure you only win \$500 but maybe it is \$250 x 3 since there are 3 digits. Okay let's say it multiplies, so you win \$750.

Now read all of those outcomes and tell me how paying twice your bet is better. You will only either match or use the Fireball to replace a number 5% of the time. The payoff would have to be MUCH bigger than what I'm seeing to make it worth doubling your cost.

This new game is very unique and can be confusing. I also found a error on the news story that I will report to Todd, maybe that is also part of the confusion.

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-3 and the Fireball is 3(happens 5% of the time)! You win \$250, because it replaces your number (50 cent wager payoff is \$250).

Actually, this one you lose. Fireball number replaces winning numbers, not your numbers.

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-4 and the Fireball is 4(happens 5% of the time)! I am pretty sure you only win \$500 but maybe it is \$250 x 3 since there are 3 digits. Okay let's say it multiplies, so you win \$750.

Actually, this one you win \$250 str plus \$250 bonus = \$500.

Look at this picture, it tells a thousand words:

Number drawn 605 and Fireball 9. This gives you 4 chances to win: 605, 905, 695, 609. but since this is a single and the Fireball is a different number, your single player number can only match 1 prize in this example.

As you know, if you're talking about EV, you can't just evaluate a few plays to determine the payout of a game, the EV is the average over a long period of time or infinity. You have to get the answer from the odds, or run it on a simulator.

I've done both, looking at the odds and prize structure to see what it would payout overall. And I also mocked up a test that simulates millions of plays in under a minute to verify the payouts. It is 0.625 EV for Pick 3 plus Fireball straight, and 0.6 for Box. That beats 0.5 and 0.48 for basic pick 3, and doesn't matter how much you bet, 50c, \$1, \$2, the EV is the same.

Happyland
United States
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September 1, 2013
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 6:58 pm - IP Logged

Yes this is certainly a tricky game. I will be withholding further conclusions until I hear back from Illinois

I was already aware of the errors in my post (hence the following post); unfortunately I didn't catch them until the post editing expiry had passed.

If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

2017: 0% (0 tickets)
P&L % = Total Win(\$)/Total Wager(\$) - 1

Los Angeles, California
United States
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January 5, 2011
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 7:26 pm - IP Logged

Yes this is certainly a tricky game. I will be withholding further conclusions until I hear back from Illinois

I was already aware of the errors in my post (hence the following post); unfortunately I didn't catch them until the post editing expiry had passed.

It is a very unique game, the most complex I have seen in a while. If it confuses LP people, what can they expect from the general public? I don't think it is explained very well on the website. The video is best, but not complete.

But I like what I see so far. I wish we had this in CA,(it would be pari-mutuel of course) I'd be all over that thing testing it out in the first week.

Is there nobody on LP from Illinois that can get us some real results? Don't see any mention Fireball in the P3 IL thread.

Romancandle?

Chief Bottle Washer
New Jersey
United States
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May 31, 2000
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 8:47 pm - IP Logged

This new game is very unique and can be confusing. I also found a error on the news story that I will report to Todd, maybe that is also part of the confusion.

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-3 and the Fireball is 3(happens 5% of the time)! You win \$250, because it replaces your number (50 cent wager payoff is \$250).

Actually, this one you lose. Fireball number replaces winning numbers, not your numbers.

You play 50 cent wager on 1-2-4 straight and add Fireball. Lottery draws 1-2-4 and the Fireball is 4(happens 5% of the time)! I am pretty sure you only win \$500 but maybe it is \$250 x 3 since there are 3 digits. Okay let's say it multiplies, so you win \$750.

Actually, this one you win \$250 str plus \$250 bonus = \$500.

Look at this picture, it tells a thousand words:

Number drawn 605 and Fireball 9. This gives you 4 chances to win: 605, 905, 695, 609. but since this is a single and the Fireball is a different number, your single player number can only match 1 prize in this example.

As you know, if you're talking about EV, you can't just evaluate a few plays to determine the payout of a game, the EV is the average over a long period of time or infinity. You have to get the answer from the odds, or run it on a simulator.

I've done both, looking at the odds and prize structure to see what it would payout overall. And I also mocked up a test that simulates millions of plays in under a minute to verify the payouts. It is 0.625 EV for Pick 3 plus Fireball straight, and 0.6 for Box. That beats 0.5 and 0.48 for basic pick 3, and doesn't matter how much you bet, 50c, \$1, \$2, the EV is the same.

I don't believe there is an error in the news story, but if you see one then by all means report it.  What is the error?

Check the State Lottery Report Card

Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
Help eliminate computerized drawings!

Los Angeles, California
United States
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January 5, 2011
1530 Posts
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 9:09 pm - IP Logged

I don't believe there is an error in the news story, but if you see one then by all means report it.  What is the error?

I thought I sent you a message, but maybe didn't go through.

The How it Works section, end of 4th paragraph:

you still have to match one of the number combinations on your ticket using the Fireball number as a replacement for any one number on your ticket.

Should be:

you still have to match one of the number combinations on your ticket using the Fireball number as a replacement for any one number of the winning numbers.

From the IL Pick 3 FAQ section:

http://www.illinoislottery.com/en-us/Pick_3.html

What Is plus FIREBALL? How Do I Win With This Add-On Feature?

After the winning numbers have been drawn for both Pick 3 and Pick 4 base games, an additional ball will be drawn for each game from a pool of numbered and non-numbered balls (10 numbered plus FIREBALLS [0–9] and 10 blank balls in the pool for Pick 3). For Pick 4, there are 10 numbered plus FIREBALLS [0–9] and 20 blank balls. If a numbered plus FIREBALL is drawn, players who selected plus FIREBALL will automatically win if the plus FIREBALL number can replace any number of the winning numbers selected to create a winning combination that matches the player’s numbers.

Example: A player selects the numbers 2 5 3 and adds plus FIREBALL to their straight wager. The lottery draws the winning numbers 1 5 3, in this example with a plus FIREBALL number of 2 . In this instance, the plus FIREBALL number 2 would replace the first digit of the winning numbers drawn to create the combination. Because the player selected the plus FIREBALL add-on feature, they were able to turn a non-winning ticket into a winning ticket by matching the new winning number combination ( 2 5 3 ) to their selected numbers ( 2 5 3 ).

South Carolina
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November 4, 2001
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 Posted: September 2, 2013, 9:54 pm - IP Logged

I thought I sent you a message, but maybe didn't go through.

The How it Works section, end of 4th paragraph:

you still have to match one of the number combinations on your ticket using the Fireball number as a replacement for any one number on your ticket.

Should be:

you still have to match one of the number combinations on your ticket using the Fireball number as a replacement for any one number of the winning numbers.

From the IL Pick 3 FAQ section:

http://www.illinoislottery.com/en-us/Pick_3.html

What Is plus FIREBALL? How Do I Win With This Add-On Feature?

After the winning numbers have been drawn for both Pick 3 and Pick 4 base games, an additional ball will be drawn for each game from a pool of numbered and non-numbered balls (10 numbered plus FIREBALLS [0–9] and 10 blank balls in the pool for Pick 3). For Pick 4, there are 10 numbered plus FIREBALLS [0–9] and 20 blank balls. If a numbered plus FIREBALL is drawn, players who selected plus FIREBALL will automatically win if the plus FIREBALL number can replace any number of the winning numbers selected to create a winning combination that matches the player’s numbers.

Example: A player selects the numbers 2 5 3 and adds plus FIREBALL to their straight wager. The lottery draws the winning numbers 1 5 3, in this example with a plus FIREBALL number of 2 . In this instance, the plus FIREBALL number 2 would replace the first digit of the winning numbers drawn to create the combination. Because the player selected the plus FIREBALL add-on feature, they were able to turn a non-winning ticket into a winning ticket by matching the new winning number combination ( 2 5 3 ) to their selected numbers ( 2 5 3 ).

The way I understand it the fireball number must match the losing digit on your selected number

Player selection 253

lottery winning number 153

The fireball number must be a 2 for the player to win.

You match two of the three lottery winning digits either exact or box depending on the wager. Whatever your losing digit is must match the fireball number.

I thought the fireball number whatever it is would replace whatever your losing digit is.

Oo'Ka

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