Types of Lotteries
In Lotto, 6 numbers are drawn from a range of numbers (such as 42, 46, 47, 49, 51, and 54). To play Lotto, indicate your 6 chosen numbers by marking the numbered squares on a play slip. Present your play slip to any Lottery retailer who will enter your selection in the on-line terminal, which produces your game ticket. The ticket, not the play slip, is the official receipt and must be presented and validated in the event of a win. Lottery agents are found in convenience stores, gas stations, and grocery stores.
The price for Lotto ticket is still $1 in many states. Typically, Lotto drawings are held twice a week, usually on Wednesday and Saturday nights. However, this may not be true for every state. The Lottery officials use special ball-drawing machines with numbered balls. The machine randomly shoots out 6 balls; which display the winning numbers for that evening's Lottery drawing. If all 6 of your numbers exactly match the numbers drawn, you win the jackpot. Numbers don't need to be listed in any particular order, as long as they match those drawn. If two or more persons correctly pick the winning numbers, the winners split the prize money. If no one wins, the prize money rolls over and the jackpot becomes increasingly larger. Lotto is a pari-mutuel game, meaning the amount of the prize is determined by total sales for each drawing and the number of winners
Little Lotto games have better odds and are played more often. The method of play is similar to that of Lotto, but the number of balls drawn and the playing fields are usually lower.
Generally, they are held six or seven days a week. The amount of the prize money for Little Lotto games works the same as Lotto. Since there are fewer "picks" than in Lotto, the odds of winning these games are higher.
Pick 3 and Pick 4 games are usually played twice a day, six days a week, often once a day on Sundays. For Pick 3 (also called Cash 3), players choose any three-digit number from 000 to 999, and for Pick 4 (or Cash 4), any four-digit number from 0000 to 9999. You win if your three numbers are drawn, no matter in what order. If you choose exact/any and your three digits are in the exact order drawn, you win the prize for exact plus the prize for any. Or if you choose the correct numbers, but not in the correct order, you still win the smaller payoff.
Originally, States with small populations joined together to create games that have bigger jackpots. Games now include states with a wide range of populations. One such game is Mega Millions, formerly called The Big Game, which is now played in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
Mega Millions has two separate drawings -- one of which is a "bonus" type ball, or the Megaball. Along with the "Mega" jackpots are, of course, mega odds. In 2000, while still called The Big Game, it made headlines when it offered the largest jackpot in North American history, $363 million.
Powerball is offered by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). It's played in 29 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To win, the player must correctly pick five numbers drawn from a field of 55 (5/55) and also correctly pick the Powerball number, which is one number drawn from a field of 42 (1/42). Two separate ball-drawing machines are used. Powerball has formidable odds against winning. But the payoff is comparable to Mega Millions and has made it one of the most popular lotteries in America. As in Lotto, you can still win a smaller amount if you correctly pick some of the numbers. These drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday nights.