Offered by individual US state operators
This is one of the smaller multi-state lotteries in the US. Average jackpots aren't the biggest around but they are a bit easier to hit. The best thing about this little lottery is that you get 'what it says on the tin'. All taxes are paid already both federal and state and the advertised amount is the cash (not annuity) option.
It is available across 15 states or localities and there are some international lottery companies that offer a concierge or betting service for this lottery too.
How it Works
Date and time of draws
There are two draws of Hot Lotto each week on a Wednesday and Saturday at 10pm CT.
No. of balls and how to hit the jackpot
There are 47 main and 19 bonus balls to choose from and you need just 5 main and 1 bonus ball to hit the jackpot.
The 'sizzler' option is available in most of the states that offer Hot Lotto and costs an extra $1. It trebles all prizes except the jackpot. Around 13% of all Hot Lotto players choose the sizzler option which overall gives a slightly higher return to player (RTP) than the same game without. So, unless the jackpot is around $20m, when two single tickets would be better than one with the sizzler, go for the sizzler!
Price, Tickets & Sales
At $1, this is a nice affordable lottery to play and the $2 version with the sizzler is reasonable value.
Tickets Sold Per Draw
Hot Lotto is a small multistate lottery and in fact, the total tickets sold per draw of around 1m is similar to the size of the lottery for a single state in the US.
Sales per draw
As it only costs $1, sales volume per draw is quite small too at $1m.
Odds of hitting the jackpot
The prize table for Hot Lotto is as follows:
At 29m to 1, Hot Lotto is quite a tough one to hit, especially compared to the size of its jackpots. This may be one reason why it remains a small 'extra' product for some lottery organisations.
Balls and Bonus Balls
5 and 1
5 and 0
4 and 1
4 and 0
3 and 1
3 and 0
2 and 1
1 and 1
0 and 1
*Average jackpot size when it is hit
Odds of winning any prize
To get any prize, you're looking at odds of 1 in 17, so if you play one line per draw you should win some prize or other every two months. To put it in context, this is slightly better than the Powerball but not as good as the Megamillions. The minimum win is 2x your stake (unlike some lotteries that only give you your stake back on the lowest prize level).
Hot Lotto is seeded with $1m and grows around 300k per week until hit.
The average jackpot you can expect to see advertised is around $3m and it's average when hit is around $5.5m.
Average jackpot when hit
A comparison of jackpots is shown in the graphic here.
Highest jackpot ever
The best ever jackpot on Hot Lotto was won in 2007 and worth $20m.
Jackpot winners per year
You can expect to see the Hot Lotto jackpot being won every three months or so and usually by just the one ticket.
Contribution to the jackpot
Only about 16c of every ticket goes towards the big pot, much less than the likes of Megamillions or Powerball, for example. This is another reason that the jackpot doesn't grow too big or too fast.
Return to Player
Returns to players in the form of prizes aren't too generous on the Hot Lotto.
RTP when first seeded
The jackpot for Hot Lotto starts at $1m but grows quite slowly. If you were to hit the jackpot in the first few weeks after it has been reset, your 'value' as they say, isn't that great around at around 23c on the dollar. This means, for example, that if you spent $29m buying every single ticket combination when the jackpot was at its minimum, you'd end up with about $8m left in your pocket :-(.
If you're playing on subscription and chancing your luck against big and small jackpots then your RTP improves to 35c. As mentioned earlier, you're better off paying a bit more and taking the sizzler option but in this example, your RTP would only rise to about 0.42.
RTP when jackpot typically hit
And when the average jackpot for Hot Lotto is hit, you're still facing a high 'takeout' by the lottery companies as your RTP is still only 0.44. This makes Hot Lotto one of the worst lotteries we have looked at in terms of how much is skimmed off your stakes and it probably explains why it's so small for a multi-state lottery.
If Hot Lotto's jackpot were ever to get to around $25m it would get 'interesting' in RTP terms! Note that the highest jackpot has been $20m to date. The big advantage on the Hot Lotto is that an advertised $25m really would be worth $25m, as there is no reduction for taking cash nor any taxes payable by the winners.
Payouts and Taxes
Annuity vs Cash
There used to be an annuity option for the Hot Lotto jackpot but as most customers tended to take the cash this was discontinued and the advertised jackpot figure is now the real cash amount. Better still, it's also net of taxes which are paid by the state offering Hot Lotto. These differences set it apart from most other lotteries in the US.
No taxes payable - prizes are taxes paid!
This is, and will probably remain, a small lottery. It doesn't offer whopping jackpots and the second prize tier isn't too generous either! Add to this the fact that the RTP is one of the lowest means that, all told, I'd probably not bother with Hot Lotto - given a choice, I'd sooner spend $1 on the Megamillions!
The advertised jackpot is the net cash figure that players receive and there's no tax payable either!
Jackpots are small, the second prize is also pretty poor, and (in keeping with this) overall RTPs aren't great.
If you like Hot Lotto then do play with the sizzler when you can as it's a better option than without. For value, Hot Lotto is probably worth looking at if the jackpot gets to $25m, which is a little higher than its maximum in the last few years, so you might have to wait a bit!
To play this or other lottos online, try our preferred agents page.