New York Lotto
New York Lotto
New York Lottery
New York has the largest lottery organisation in the US with over $9bn of sales and the usual variety of draws, multistate lotteries and instant games. In recent years, the New York Lotto itself has declined in popularity, not least because of the rise in instant or scratch games but also because the Lotto has a lower payout ratio (40%) of prizes to sales than most other games. Video and instant games can have payouts of 60-90% for example.
Available in New York. Some lottery concierge or betting companies also offer it in other countries.
How it Works
Date and time of draws
The New York Lotto has two draws on a Wednesday & Saturday at 11.21 ET.
No. of balls and how to hit the jackpot
There are 59 balls in the pot from which both the main balls and the bonus ball are picked. The jackpot prize is won by matching 6 plus 1.
There are no variations as such on this Lotto.
Price, Tickets & Sales
A ticket costs just $1 which makes it an accessible lottery for most players. The best news is that you actually get two lines for the price of $1. That said, the value isn't quite so good when you consider the odds, payouts and returns below.
Tickets Sold Per Draw
The original Lotto game itself is only about 1% of total revenues these days and is much smaller than many other state Lotto draws. It is hampered as mentioned by the fact that the maximum return on stakes for the Lotto draw is set at 40%. In the RTP section below, you will see that returns can get better than this on rollovers but the limitations set by statute seem to have restricted the ability of this lottery to attract players.
Sales per draw
Because the original New York Lotto game is none too popular these days, only around $1m of ticket sales are sold per draw. Compare this, for example to several million tickets per draw on the Florida Lotto or California Superlotto Plus.
Odds of hitting the jackpot
Prizes are distributed on a pools basis. The prize table showing payouts is shown below.
All odds quoted here are for the chance of either of your two tickets (costing $1 for the two lines) getting a prize. The odds of winning the main jackpot on the New York Lotto are around 22m to 1. This is better than many lotteries and in principle should mean that it is hit more frequently. In reality though, because of low ticket sales, it is only won a couple of times a year at best.
Balls and Bonus Balls
6 and 0
5 and 1
5 and 0
4 and 0
3 and 0
*Average jackpot size when it is hit
** Odds quoted are for either of the two lines that you get for $1.
Odds of winning any prize
The chance of any win at 46 to 1 is very poor when compared to some other lotteries. Worse still, the lowest prize level only gives players their money back, i.e. a $1 prize. In fact, New York has the dubious honour of being the most ungenerous of all lotteries in terms of how frequently you might win more than just your stake: 1 in 1073! This basically says that, on average, if you were to play in every draw for 10 years, you'd win just one prize of more than $1... and it's most likely that this prize would be worth $25.
The New York Lotto is seeded with just $2m (compare to the $7m in California, for example).
The average jackpot you would expect to see if you played every draw would be around $6.5m.
Average jackpot when hit
The average jackpot when taken down is $12m.
Highest jackpot ever
The highest jackpot ever won on the New York Lotto was $65m in 2007.
Jackpot winners per year
There will be around four winners a year of the New York Lotto per year at best, mainly because of low ticket sales.
Contribution to the jackpot
Even though the RTP is very low at 40% on this Lotto, the contribution from sales to the jackpot prize level is actually quite generous at 30% of ticket sales (or 75% of prizes). The remaining 10% of RTP is spread amongst lower tier prizes.
Return to Player
The NY lotto is run on a parimutuel basis and they state that a maximum of 40% of sales are returned in the form of prizes, with 30% of this 40% (75% x 40%) being attributed to the jackpot. The actual amount that is paid out each year on jackpots for this state lotto draw will vary quite considerably, as it is hit fairly infrequently. In 2014 there were a few small jackpot winners, whilst in 2015 there was one big winner, for example. In this sense, the real amount returned to players varies each year and the returns that you might expect on a given draw will also vary by the size of the jackpot.
RTP when first seeded
With just $2m going in the pot after a jackpot win and a fairly small number of tickets played each week, the New York Lotto jackpot doesn't get too big too soon. The return to players is fairly poor at just 0.20 (20c on the dollar) when the jackpot has just been reseeded with $2m.
The average RTP if playing every week is around 0.4, similar to the figure stated by the Lottery organisation for this game.
RTP when jackpot typically hit
If you happen to be playing when the jackpot is towards its 'ripe' level, or average jackpot size, then your returns are better at 0.6.
Of course, when the jackpot rose to $65m back in 2007 it was a ticket worth buying. And this is true even after taking into consideration the chances of sharing it with someone else and the hefty state and federal taxes (though not much value, if you were to choose the cash instead of annuity option).
Payouts and Taxes
Annuity vs Cash
As with so many other US lotteries, the advertised jackpot is actually the potential future value of the jackpot, were it to be invested etc etc. The cash option if you choose it is worth around 65% of the advertised figure.
State taxes on lotteries in New York are some of the highest at 8.8% (or 12% if you live in New York City!). Add this to federal taxes of 25% for US residents and 30% for non-residents and this (extra) state takeout will hurt!
It's safe to say that the New York Lotto is not our favourite lottery. Far from it, the poor seeding, low returns to player, low chances of getting any decent win each week mean that it falls short of most other lottos and draws. It's no surprise really that, as lottos go, the New York Lotto has become almost insignificant in terms of sales or revenues in New York these days. Other products, games and draws there have much better features. To be fair, the Lotto is restricted by legislation that limits how much it can pay out in prizes (and these limits are much more stringent than for the other games and draws the state lottery organisation can offer). But the net effect is the same. The NY Lotto's demise is in line with its meanness...
Oddly enough, there can still be value on the NY Lotto but you may have to wait a while... If the jackpot happens to hit $32m sometime then take a closer look. Until then, you can get up to 2x the value elsewhere. I.e. for the same dream dollar you spend, your dreams are more likely to come true and to be more plentiful elsewhere...
2 lines for your dollar! Possible value if you wait a long while.
Poor (and restricted) RTP, low ticket sales, frequency of winning more than your stake a ludicrous 1000+ to 1. A Lotto that is in real (terminal?) decline.