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So long Hot Lotto, hello Lotto America

Meet the new lottery game, almost the same as the old one. Lottery officials doused Hot Lotto on Oct. 28, with its final drawing for players in Minnesota and 13 other states failing to produce a jackpot winner. The officials explained that the $1...

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(Courtesy of Minnesota State Lottery)
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Meet the new lottery game, almost the same as the old one.

Lottery officials doused Hot Lotto on Oct. 28, with its final drawing for players in Minnesota and 13 other states failing to produce a jackpot winner. The officials explained that the $1 game was steadily ­losing popularity.

In its place will be Lotto America, which also will be played in Minnesota and about the same number of states, depending on how many ultimately sign up.

Hot Lotto, around for 15 years, offered a jackpot that started at $1 million and kept growing until someone matched five numbers drawn from 1 to 47 and a "Hot Ball" number from 1 to 19. Drawings were held every Wednesday and Saturday. Odds of winning the jackpot were 1 in 29 million.

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Ticket sales begin Nov. 12 for Lotto America's first drawing on Nov. 15, and numbers will be revealed on the same days of the week as Hot Lotto. A $1 ticket allows players to select five numbers from 1 to 52 and a "Star Ball" from 1 to 10. The jackpot starts at $2 ­million, with odds of matching all the numbers at 1 in 26 million.

Like Hot Lotto, Lotto America will offer smaller payouts for matching fewer numbers.

Because the last Hot Lotto jackpot ($12.16 million) was not won before the game ended, the first Lotto America jackpot will be a $15 million annuity (instead of the normal $2 million) and will continue to grow until it is won.

The Lotto America name might sound familiar to longtime takers of risk. It previously existed as a multistate lottery game from 1988-92 until it was marketed anew as Powerball, the nation's mother of all lottery games that is offered in Minnesota, Wisconsin and many other states.

Lottery officials say the decision to end Hot Lotto wasn't related to a 2010 scheme by a lottery vendor employee, Eddie Tipton, who pleaded guilty to tampering with number-picking computers to predict winning numbers in Hot Lotto and other games in various states. They say lotteries routinely replace games with declining sales.

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