Due to falling sales of Hot Lotto (whose final drawing was October 28, 2017), a new version of Lotto America became available on November 12, 2017; its first drawing was November 15, 2017. Lotto America is available wherever Hot Lotto was offered at the time of its final drawing (except New Hampshire.) Lotto America is drawn on Wednesday and Saturday nights after 11 p.m. ET/10 p.m. CT. For each $1 play, bettors choose five numbers from 1 through 52, and a "star ball" numbered from 1 through 10, or ask for terminal-generated numbers. For an additional $1 per play, the bettor can add the "All-Star Bonus" option, which multiplies non-jackpot prizes by 2, 3, 4, or 5. The minimum Lotto America jackpot is $2 million; however, the game's initial jackpot was $15 million; the 13 members chose to augment the jackpot with funds from Hot Lotto, whose final jackpot was not won.
Lottery jackpots are overwhelming played by low-income Americans, studies show. In fact, the lottery jackpot only becomes “progressive” — meaning that high earners spend more on tickets than more than low earners — when the jackpot is at least $806 million or more, according to this study by Emily Oster, currently a professor of economics at Brown University.
On May 18, 2013, the world's largest one-ticket jackpot, an annuity of approximately $590.5 million ($620 million today), was won by a Powerball ticket sold in Zephyrhills, Florida. On June 5, Florida Lottery officials announced the winner: Gloria C. MacKenzie, 84, who purchased the "quick pick" ticket at a Publix supermarket. MacKenzie chose the cash option of approximately $370.8 million, before Federal withholding; Florida does not have a state income tax.
In January 2012, Mega Millions' rival Powerball was altered; among the changes were a price increase of $1 for each play, as a result, a base game costs $2, or $3 with the Power Play option. At the time, there were no plans to change the price of a Mega Millions play, with or without the Megaplier (see below for the 2017 format change that includes the base price for a Mega Millions play to be raised to $2.) The price increase for playing Powerball was a major factor in Louisiana deciding to pursue joining Mega Millions, as that state's lottery joined Mega Millions on November 16, 2011.
This method specifically has faced criticism recently from a number of lottery organizers such as Camelot, the UK National Lottery organizers who are not happy with companies “selling tickets” (selling bets on outcomes of their established lottery draws) for prices sometimes even cheaper than Camelot themselves sells their tickets. This legal and corporate dispute looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, in the mean time you can continue to buy Powerball tickets online, only now you are aware of the key differences between the two business models.