Is it Fire or Smoke at Hot Lotto
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Powerball, the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) kicked off Hot Lotto in April 2002. While Powerball moved to Florida, Hot Lotto remained at its home in Iowa. It’s not a lottery that is going to grow huge fast as it does have a fixed rollover amount. What does make this an attractive lottery to play is it pays down nine tiers right to only guessing the ‘hot ball’.
The Game at Hot Lotto
Players at Hot Lotto choose 5 numbers from 1 to 47 for the main or white balls and then 1 number from 1 to 19 for the ‘hot ball’. Winning the big jackpot means choosing the correct 5 white balls plus the ‘hot ball’ drawn. There are nine prize levels alternatively including the ‘hot ball’ down to simply pick the ‘hot ball’ alone.
Hot Lotto added a new option in May 2013, where for an additional $1 per ticket line a player triples the non-jackpot prizes. The second tier prize is $30,000 so with ‘the Sizzler’, this prize is $90,000.
The Fire in Hot Lotto
Hot Lotto is a mid range lottery that starts at US 1 million and grows by $50,000 each rollover. It’s played Wednesday and Saturday weekly. Jackpots are paid in cash as there isn’t an annuity option.
The Smoke in Hot Lotto
In Hot Lotto’s rules and regulations, there is an interesting little caveat where they say that if the entries (sales generated) do not equate to a specific percentage, the prizes might be smaller than the published amounts. They provide the example of the second tier prize in that it ‘could’ be only $27,000 for a flat lottery line win or $81,000 for a ‘sizzler’ add on. It doesn’t appear this has actually happened – yet.
|Numbers Matched||Prize||Sizzler Prize||Odds of Winning|
|5 Numbers + Hot Ball||Jackpot||N/A||1 in 29,144,841|
|5 Numbers||$30,000||$90,000||1 in 1,619,158|
|4 Numbers + Hot Ball||$3,000||$9,000||1 in 138,785|
|4 Numbers||$100||$300||1 in 7,710|
|3 Numbers + Hot Ball||$50||$150||1 in 3,385|
|3 Numbers||$6||$18||1 in 188|
|2 Numbers + Hot Ball||$6||$18||1 in 254|
|1 Number + Hot Ball||$3||$9||1 in 52|
|Hot Ball||$2||$6||1 in 34|
Who Can Play Hot Lotto
Currently Hot Lotto is offered in 16 jurisdictions and through lottery service providers. There are no restrictions on nationality to play though players must be 18 years of age or older (21 years of age in Iowa). There is a claim form that must be completed for wins over $100.
Hot Lotto and the Tax Man
Hot Lotto takes withholding taxes off the top off all jackpots. This ranges from 5% to 6% for state tax and 25% (US citizens) or 30% (foreigners) for federal tax. State and federal tax is applicable for all prize levels over $600.
Customer Service at Hot Lotto
Hot Lotto’s home site is hosted by the Iowa Lottery. They offer snail mail and phone numbers for their headquarters and four other offices in Iowa as well, an email address. There is no live chat but then again, I can’t see many reasons to contact these folks. This is a straight forward lottery with very clear rules and regulations.
Challenges at Hot Lotto
Interestingly, there is a current investigation going on regarding a ticket bought in Iowa in December 2010. A claim was made for the winning ticket by a lawyer out of New York on behalf of what he said was a trust based in Belize. The claim was made literally hours before it would have expired, 365 days after the draw. Keep in mind, we’re not talking small change here. Though the draw was still under the original annuity rules and regulations, the approximately value was $16.5 million. It appears the claim was withdrawn and the jackpot pool returned to each of the Hot Lotto jurisdictions proportionally (in relation to what they put in). As of January 2013, this was still an ongoing investigated with all kinds of ‘suspicions’ on who actually owned the ticket.
The Bottom Line at Hot Lotto
Hot Lotto is a middle range lottery that does grow but it isn’t going to happen overnight. It does have a nine-tiered prize package plus add ‘sizzler’ and each of the tiers excluding the jackpot triples.
Lump Sum Cash Prize
Twice A Week
Nine-Tiers of Prizes
Foreigners Taxed More
Hot Lotto gets a thumbs up in general. The fact it has a cash payout and isn’t an annuity with an undetermined percentage that they will payout is good. The fact that withholding tax is applied is not.