Odds of winning will also improve when price of Lotto 6/49 ticket doubles to $2
Atlantic Lottery Corporation's Lotto 6/49 is getting a face lift - its first since the game's inception in 1982.
The changes will see bigger jackpots offered more often, better odds of winning at least something, and a new $5 prize category, all to be funded by doubling the cost of a ticket.
Known by most players simply as "the 6/49," Lotto 6/49 is one of the most popular lottery games ever.
"6/49 is played on average by about 50 per cent of the population," notes Robert Bourgeois of the Moncton-based Atlantic Lottery Corporation.
But the public has told ALC they could make a good game even better, and the changes will be instituted after the May 29, 2004 draw.
As the game now stands, the base prize is $2 million, rolling over to $5 million if not won, then to $10 million, then to $12 million and then $15 million and so on. Extensive consumer testing told the lottery those amounts don't rise fast enough or start high enough for many players.
Even veteran players can attest to how popular bigger jackpots can be, with long lines forming at ticket
vendors for the big draws. The problem is that those big draws dont happen frequently enough for many players tastes.
"For example," Bourgeois said yesterday, "right now the jackpot is at $12 million, but that is the first time in 18 months that its at $12 million. People just want bigger jackpots, and more often."
The details of the new scheme are still being worked out, but its likely the new start-off point will be $4 million, from there jumping to $10 million if not won, and from there to $17 million and on up a rising scale.
The overall odds of winning at least something, now at one in fifty-four, will improve to one in thirty-two.
More details will be released in the coming months.
Under the present 6/49 regime, the cost is $1 per number pick. For example, a simple 6/49 ticket is $1, and more numbers can be added to the ticket or a supplementary TAG number can be added for another dollar each. That will rise to two dollars for each selection.
ALC says consumers have told Canadas lotteries that $2 per pick is a fair price.
"People are telling us that its not a lot of money, as long as they get value," Bourgeois said.
"We will certainly be giving away more money," though the exact amount is not yet known.
The changes, announced by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation, will be nationwide. The ILC represents the five government-run lottery corporations in Canada.
The ILC expects the changes will mean jackpots will grow to $10 million or more for about half the draws every year and reach $25 million at some point annually, a rare occurrence today.
The changes wont kick in until the spring to allow for an extensive advertising and information campaign to ensure players, retailers and long-term subscribers are aware of the changes before they take place.
In Canada, lottery proceeds are given out in prizes or returned to the provinces to support public programs and services.