How the popular multi-state game evolved
By Kate Northrop
In April, state lotteries participating in the popular multi-state Lucky for Life lottery game announced that the game would be moving from bi-weekly drawings to a once-daily draw format.
Now that the changeover has officially transpired since last Monday, Jul. 19, Lottery Post took a closer look at how and why the game offering players the opportunity to win $1,000 a day for life evolved as a whole.
For a little over a week now, Lucky for Life players have been getting a taste of the new daily draw format. Some may view the decision to increase the number of drawings with disdain, now having to purchase more multi-draws to "keep up" with the drawings, while others may feel pleased with more frequent opportunities to win a lifetime prize.
Regardless, changing over to daily drawings was a process long in the making, modeled after the same change that Cash4Life underwent in 2019.
Greg Smith, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Lottery and spokesperson for the Lucky for Life Game Group, said that there were a number of considerations preceding the decision, the first of which was to explore changes to the game that might stimulate sales.
"We decided to go to daily drawings after having talked with the Cash4Life Game Group members and reviewed their sales growth success from them going from a bi-weekly drawing to a daily drawing," Smith told Lottery Post. "Their change started two years ago, so we started looking at that for at least the first year. That was step one of making the decision to go to daily drawings."
The next step in the process, Smith explained, was coming up with what needed to be done to implement a changeover to daily drawings.
"We had to look at the effort that was going to be required and the related contracts at cost needed to keep it 'like kind,' or exactly the same, as the bi-weekly," Smith elaborated.
One option to meet these goals was to continue to have the Connecticut Lottery conduct the drawings at their studio location, which is where the Lucky for Life drawings physically took place before they went daily. Another possibility was having a different state take over and conduct them.
Ultimately, the members of the Lucky for Life game unanimously voted on appointing MUSL as the game group administrator, which meant that they would conduct the drawings. Currently there are 23 state lotteries in the game group.
With the decision to appoint MUSL as the drawing operator, however, that meant other changes to the game as well.
The Lucky for Life Game Group voted to use digital drawings over continuing with traditional mechanical ball drawing machines, but players were unaware of the fact in stark contrast to how the changeover to daily drawings was widely publicized.
Smith indicated that MUSL's Digital Drawing System (DDS) — which is how the lotteries refer to computerized drawings that use a random number generator (RNG) to generate the winning numbers — were more profitable for the states than a traditional lottery ball drawing.
In a follow-up, Lottery Post inquired about the analysis that was conducted prior to the decision to switch over to digital drawings, to determine the exact cost difference between the digital draw system and the previous lottery ball drawings.
"There was a combination of resources, method for displaying of draw results, and cost of every aspect of game operation going from bi-weekly to daily that were taken into consideration," Smith said in his response. "The ball machine and DDS were already in existence, so their cost was not a factor."
Since daily drawings began, numerous players had reached out to Lottery Post wondering whether the game was still drawn mechanically. One member said it took several email exchanges with the Massachusetts Lottery to finally confirm that the game had indeed switched to digital drawings. Other players scrutinized the new drawing video format, viewable on the Lucky for Life YouTube channel. Some voiced their concerns about the change, which now shows numbers appearing on a screen as opposed to a classic drawing video featuring a host and ball drawing machines.
Now that MUSL performs the drawing services for Lucky for Life, the drawings no longer take place at the Connecticut Lottery's studio and are now conducted at MUSL offices in Iowa.
"We know that change in methods can catch some players' attention and maybe raise some concerns, and yet, the idea of the increase that we are seeing right now, still early in the change process, has been good so far," Smith related. "We hope that players will recognize that the digital draw systems are used in the U.S. lottery industry across many states every day, and so they are reliable, they are certified... performing the draws successfully and properly. This game group is now changed over to those, and we look forward to continued good results."