Lottery officials launch new multi-state game

AP News
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Posted: Oct 17, 2014 1:25 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new lottery game that features more but smaller jackpots will start this weekend in some U.S. states.

The Monopoly Millionaires' Club game has $5 tickets that will be sold starting Sunday in 23 states. The game will have a niche audience that won't compete with Powerball and Mega Millions, the two other national games, according to Rebecca Hargrove, chairwoman of the new game and president and CEO of the Tennessee Lottery.

"If you look at Powerball and Mega Millions, those are truly jackpot-driven games," she said. "This is a completely different game. This is driven by the number of millionaires that will be created when that top prize is hit."

The game, which will be drawn on Fridays, caps its top prize at $25 million, which is a move away from jackpots worth hundreds of millions of dollars that players have come to expect in recent years.

"We've heard for years, 'Why should one person win $100 million? Why don't 100 people win $1 million apiece?' So that's exactly what we're creating," she said.

For all its differences, Monopoly Millionaires' Club has some similarities to Powerball and Mega Millions. All three have a set of numbers that need to be matched. With Monopoly Millionaires' Club, that's five numbers between 1 and 52, and a number representing a "property" — inspired by the board game — will range from 1 to 28.

The odds of winning the top prize are 1 in about 72 million. Powerball odds are one in about 175 million and Mega Millions is about 1 in 258 million, Hargrove said.

The concept for a $5 game has been in the works for years, said Terry Rich, president of the North American Lottery Group and CEO of the Iowa Lottery.

After officials expanded sales of Powerball and Mega Millions tickets to most states in 2010, they began developing a new game, seeking a price similar to popular scratch-off tickets that would include interaction that could attract new players. Each Monopoly Millionaires' Club ticket includes a code that can be entered online for a chance to appear on a syndicated television game from Las Vegas beginning in February.

More states are expected to join the new game over the next several months, officials said.