Illinois Lottery Changes Up Lotto With Better Odds, Triple Chances To Win $1M

Written By Derek Helling on March 31, 2021 - Last Updated on April 1, 2021
illinois lotto changes

New Illinois Lottery changes will double the price of a ticket for the game. However, as is usually the case when it comes to price increases, there are some new benefits. Illinois Lottery is introducing additional drawings and improved odds for its local game Illinois Lotto, starting April 1.

With the alterations, the Lotto game is likely to retain its position as the most popular IL-only, draw-style game. Compared to multi-state draw games, such as Mega Millions and Powerball, this could be a better play for Illinois lottery players.

Details of the Illinois Lotto changes

Effective Thursday, Lotto game tickets will cost you $2 instead of just a dollar.

You can still add the Extra Shot for another dollar per line if you prefer. Gameplay is mostly unchanged; you still have to pick six numbers or opt for a Quick Pick. The object is still to match as many of the numbers on your ticket to the drawing as possible.

The odds are a bit better now, though. The pool of numbers shrank from 1-52 to 1-50. For that reason, your odds of winning any prize are now 1:6.9 when you play the game.

However, the odds upgrade isn’t the only change.

Each $2 play will now enter your ticket in not one, not two, but three drawings.

The drawings happen at 9:22 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The first drawing is standard, with the revelation of the six winning numbers and the Extra Shot number. In that drawing, you can win prizes from $2 to the progressive jackpot.

The two new drawings, which take place immediately in sequence, are called Lotto Million 1 and Lotto Million 2. The prize in each drawing, as the name suggests, is $1 million. There’s nothing additional that you have to do to make your tickets eligible for both new drawings.

As usual, you can buy your Lotto tickets through the IL Lottery app, on the website or at a retailer. Now that Lotto costs the same as a Mega Millions or Powerball ticket, how does it compare for players? Well, that depends on your priority.

Is Lotto a better value than Mega Millions or Powerball?

Mega Millions and Powerball still have the edge on Lotto by a couple of measurements.

First, if you win the jackpot playing Mega Millions or Powerball, you’ll likely win a prize worth several times what the Lotto jackpot is worth. Initial jackpots for Lotto start at $2 million, while the usual starting jackpot for the multi-state games is $20 million.

Secondly, the multipliers for non-jackpot winnings in Mega Millions and Powerball can make your smaller wins bigger, too. For instance, if you match three numbers, plus the Powerball with a 10X Power Play, your win is $1,000. If you match three numbers with the Extra Shot playing Lotto, you get $125.

The multi-state games have an edge when it comes to prize value.

Lotto has the edge when it comes to your odds of winning, though. It’s a big difference, too. Take the aforementioned scenario of matching three numbers plus the add-on in Lotto and Powerball.

In Lotto, you have a 1:1,500 chance. Playing Powerball, your odds are 1:14,494. Thus, which of these games is the best use of your $2 depends on what you value higher; your likelihood of winning or the size of the prize.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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