North Dakota gamblers may have their pick of two additional lotteries next year, which offer smaller prizes and less daunting odds than the more widely played Powerball game.
A state advisory board agreed Tuesday to support North Dakota's entry into the Hot Lotto and Wild Card 2 lotteries. Both are operated by the Multistate Lottery Association of West Des Moines, Iowa, which runs Powerball.
The association already has approved North Dakota's request to sell Powerball tickets and state officials hope the game will get under way by April 2004.
Chuck Keller, the state's interim lottery director, said representatives of states that offer the Hot Lotto and Wild Card 2 games will decide later whether North Dakota is allowed to join.
Powerball is played in 24 states, including Montana, South Dakota and Minnesota. Wild Card 2 is sold in Idaho, Montana and South Dakota; Hot Lotto is played in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota and West Virginia.
The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot, which has a minimum amount of $10 million, are about 120.5 million to one, according to the lottery association.
Hot Lotto has a minimum grand prize of $1 million, with odds of 10.9 million to one. The odds of winning Wild Card 2's minimum top prize of $100,000 is 1.35 million to one. All three games also have lesser prizes, with shorter odds.
Last November, North Dakota voters agreed to change the state Constitution to allow the state to participate in multistate lotteries.
During the Legislature, some lawmakers argued the state should take part in the Powerball game only. However, a proposal to limit lottery participation to Powerball was defeated, and lottery rules now being drafted also include the two smaller games.
A five-member advisory board, headed by Rep. RaeAnn Kelsch, R-Mandan, is reviewing the proposed rules. During a meeting Tuesday, its members agreed that North Dakota should seek entry into the Hot Lotto and Wild Card 2 games.
"One of the things that I have been told by people is, we want to have a couple of other games where our chances are better," Kelsch said.
"People are going to look at those and say, 'Well, I'm going to play Powerball,'" Kelsch said. "But I'm also going to play these, and make it a little bit more entertaining."