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Lotto Lottery Glossary

Glossary of terms, meaning of words: Terminology, Jargon, Slang, Vocabulary.

Lotto, Lottery, Lotteries - terms and explanations

Agent - A retail outlet for lottery tickets.
Annuity - It is like a mortgage. Lotteries sometimes use annuities to create higher jackpots than they have the cash for. An annuity backed jackpot winner collects the money in installments over several years, typically over 20 or 25 years.
Bonus Ball - A seventh ball drawn in the UK National Lottery. Matching 5 numbers and the 'Bonus Ball' wins the second highest prize.

Bonus Gopher 5 - This is like the Gopher 5 lotto (see below) plus a sixth Bonus ball drawn. You still get five numbers on your ticket and you still need to match the first 5 numbers drawn to win the jackpot. However, if four of your numbers match four of the first five numbers drawn, and your fifth number matches the Bonus Ball drawn you win $5,000. If three of your numbers match any three of the first five numbers drawn and one of your other two numbers matches the Bonus Ball drawn you win $100. If two of your numbers match any two of the first five numbers drawn and one of your other three numbers matches the Bonus Ball drawn you win $10.
Bonus Match 5 - Bonus Match 5 is an exciting numbers game presented by the Maryland Lottery. Every evening, the Lottery will select five winning numbers ranging from 1 to 39. A Bonus Ball will then be drawn from the remaining 34 numbers. The Bonus Ball provides you with extra chances to win. You select 5 numbers on the playslip/board you want to play. You win Bonus Match 5 by matching 5, 4, or 3 of the original 5 winning numbers selected. Or, if you match the Bonus Ball, you only need to match 4, 3, or 2 of your original numbers to win.
Box Bet or Boxed - A way of betting a three or four digit number that will pay off if those three or four numbers are drawn in any order. For example 245, 452, 425 would win if the selected number is 542.
Boxing - A system used to play more digits than you could normally play in a three or four digit numbers game.
Breakopen - An instant-win ticket on which the player tears open a flap to see if the ticket is a winner. Also called 'Pulltabs'. Breakopens are often sold by charities and occasionally by state lotteries.

Cash Lotto - A lotto game awarded as a lump-sum cash payment. Cash lotto games typically have a smaller top prize than large jackpot games, more favorable odds of winning the top prize, and require players to select fewer numbers out of a smaller field. Examples include Florida's 'Fantasy 5' and Indiana's 'Lucky 5'.
Cash Option - A large jackpot that the winner elects to receive as a lump sum cash payment rather than an 'Annuity' (see above) over several years.
Cash Payoff - A lottery prize that will be paid out all at one time, rather than over several years.
Combo - A way of betting a three digit number that covers all possible combinations of sequences.
Commission - The fee paid to retail outlets for selling lottery tickets. Commissions in North America typically range between 5 percent and 6 percent of the price of the ticket.

Daily Game - This can refer to any game where winners are determined once a day, but usually refers to a numbers game such as the 'Daily 3' or 'Daily 4' games played in many states.
Double or Doubles - A 3 or 4 digit number that contains two numbers of the same digit. Example; 122. The attraction of doubles is that their payoff in 'Box Bet' and 'Combo' bets is doubled.
Double-Double - A four-digit number made up of two doubles. Example; 1221.
Draw - The lottery results.

Exact Order - (Also, Straight) Numbers drawn in the same order as played.
Exotic Numbers - Unusual or uncommon set of numbers.

Fixed Payouts - Fixed lottery prizes for each dollar played.
Four-digit or 4-Digit Game - A numbers game played with four digits between 0 and 9. Numbers may be repeated.

Gopher 5 - Minnesota's own cash lotto game. You pick five numbers between 1 and 42. You win by matching three, four or five numbers. And if you match all five, you win a jackpot that starts at $100,000 and grows until someone wins it. The jackpot is paid off with one big check.

Handle - The sum of all money wagered at a video lottery terminal. See also 'Net Machine Income' below.
Harvest Gold - It is a scratch ticket game. You can win twice on a harvest gold ticket. This ticket will feature two separate game plays. In Game 1, the player removes the scratch-off material to reveal six prize symbols. If three of the six prize symbols are identical, the player wins that prize amount. In Game 2, the player removes the scratch-off material to reveal six play symbols and a Prize Box. If three of the six play symbols are identical, the player wins the prize in the Prize Box.
Hopper - A rotating container where the lottery balls labelled one through 49 are placed that continually mixes the balls.
Hot Lotto - Hot Lotto is Minnesota's hottest new jackpot game. Jackpots start at $1 million and continue to grow until someone wins. To play Hot Lotto, you simply pick five numbers from 1 to 39. Then you select one more number from 1 to 19, which is the HOT ball.
Hot or Overdrawn - A digit that over a period of time is drawn more often than the norm. While some play these numbers because they are 'Hot', they can only reach normality by not being drawn.

Instant Game - A lottery ticket that requires the player to remove a latex coating to determine if the ticket is a winner. Also called 'Scratch-off Game' or 'Scratcher'.

Jackpot - The top prize for a lotto or lottery game. Jackpots are usually 'Parimutuels' (see below). If not won in the next drawing, they 'roll over' to the next drawing and increase in size/amount.

Keno - A lotto game in which several numbers (typically 20) are drawn from a large field of numbers (typically 80). Players select a set of numbers from the main field (usually a minimum of 3 numbers up to a maximum of 10 numbers) and are awarded prizes based on how many of their numbers match those in the drawn set. For all about Keno click here.

Lotto, Lottery - A game where players select a small group of numbers (usually six) from a large set (usually 49) and are awarded prizes based on how many match the randomly drawn result. In a typical lotto game, a player might be asked to select six numbers from a set of 49. At a predetermined time, six numbers are randomly drawn by the lottery people. The player wins a major prize if all six of their numbers match those chosen in the random drawing. The player wins smaller prizes for matching three, four, or five of the drawn numbers. Variants of lotto games include 'Powerball' or 'Power Ball' and 'The Big Game' and 'Lottery Extra' (UK).
Lucky Dip - A random selection of numbers made by computer. (Also, Quick Pick)
Lump Sum Payoff - (Also, Cash Option) A large jackpot that the winner elects to receive as a lump sum cash payment rather than an 'Annuity' (see above) over several years.

Mega Number - A separate drawn number used in SuperLotto Plus of the California Lottery. Players choose 5 numbers from 1 to 47 and a MEGA number from 1 to 27. There are 9 ways to match and win. In fact, you can win even if you just match the MEGA number. To win the Jackpot, you must match all five numbers plus the MEGA number. For each SuperLOTTO Plus draw, a pool of two draw machines is used. The first machine is designated as the SuperLOTTO Plus draw machine, with the remaining machine designated as the Mega draw machine.

Natural Selection - A selection of numbers made by the player as opposed to a 'Quick Pick' or 'Lucky Dip' selection.
Net Machine Income - The money played at a video lottery terminal (see 'Handle' above) minus the prizes won at that terminal.
No-match Numbers - A 3 or 4 digit number that contains no double digits as in the 'Double' or 'Double-Double'.
Numbers Game - This term can be used for any lottery game where winners are determined by a random draw of numbers. However, it is often used more specifically for a game where a player selects three or four digits (0 to 9) and matches them with a similar set drawn at random by the lottery people. The player can select several different types of wagers with payoffs varying accordingly. For example, players making a 'Straight' bet could win $500 on a $1 bet if their three digits match the three digits selected by the lottery people, in the same order.

Off-line Game - A game that does not require the use of a computer terminal for purchase. Instant and passive games are examples of off-line games.
Online Game - A game where tickets are purchased through a network of computer terminals located at retail outlets. The terminals are linked to a central computer that records the wagers. Examples of online games include lotto, keno and numbers games.
Overdrawn - See 'Hot' above.
Overdue - A digit that has not been drawn in more days than the norm. These numbers are favored because they can only reach normality by being drawn.

Pairs - A three digit number bet whose any one pair of the first two digits, last two digits, and in some cases the first and last digit appear on the drawn number.
Parimutuel or Pari-mutuel - A common method of payoffs that splits the total available money between all winners of a particular prize level.
Passive Game - A lottery game similar to a raffle where a player buys a ticket with preprinted numbers. The lottery later randomly draws numbers that are compared to the players' tickets to determine the winners.
Powerball - Powerball gives you nine ways to win. In the popular Powerball Lottery five balls are chosen at random without replacement from a container containing 49 white balls, numbered 1 to 49, and then a sixth ball, the powerball, is chosen from a second container containing 42 red balls, numbered 1 to 42. To play, a person chooses five white numbers and a powerball number. Payoffs are made depending on how many white numbers match the player's choices and whether or not the powerball is matched, according to a powerball payoffs schedule. The odds of winning the jackpot are approximately 1 in 120 million.
Power Play - An option in the Powerball Lottery game. Players have a chance to multiply their prizes (except the jackpot) by up to 5 times with the Power Play option. For an extra $1 per play, you are eligible for Power Play.
Pulltabs or Pull Tabs - (See 'Breakopen' above). A game similar to the lottery game. Tickets sell for 25 cents or 50 cents or even more and typically offer prizes ranging from free tickets to $500. Each ticket has perforated windows which open revealing symbols similar to those found on slot machines or some lottery games.
Punch Board - Another lottery-type game. The player punches out a slot on a board for a chance to win a merchandise prize. Punch boards offering cash prizes are also common.

Quad - A four-digit number consisting of the same number. Example; 1111.
Quick Pick - A random selection of numbers made by computer. (Also, Lucky Dip)

Repeat - A number that contains at least one of the digits that was drawn the previous day or the previous draw.
Rollover - An event that occurs when the lottery jackpot or a jackpot game is not won. The jackpot thus 'rolls over' to the next drawing, resulting in a bigger jackpot for that drawing.

Scratch-off Game - See 'Instant Game' above.
Spiel - An add-on feature to a lotto game. For an additional fee an extra set of numbers (typically four to six numbers) is printed on the bottom of a ticket. Players win by matching one or more of these numbers to those selected in a random drawing. Spiel games are found throughout Canada but are not yet common in the USA. Examples of spiel games include Atlantic Canada's 'TAG', Quebec's 'Extra', and Ohio's 'Kicker'.
Sports Lottery - Games where outcomes are determined by the results of sports events. Sports lotteries are popular lottery games in much of the world, where they are frequently called 'Toto' or 'Totocalcio' (Italy) or 'Football Pools' (UK), but have not achieved this level of popularity in North America.
Straight or Straight Bet - A bet of 3 or 4 numbers that must be drawn in the exact order. The player attempts to match both the numbers drawn and the order in which they are selected. For example, if the numbers 1, 2, 3 are selected in a three-digit game, a ticket bearing 1, 2, 3 will win but a ticket bearing 2, 1, 3 will not. (See 'Box Bet' above)
Super Lotto Plus (SuperLotto Plus) - SuperLottoPlus is your chance to win millions of dollars! The jackpot ranges from $7 million to $50 million or more. The jackpot rolls over and grows whenever there is no winner. All you have to do is pick five numbers from 1 to 47 and one MEGA number from 1 to 27 and match them to the numbers drawn by the Lottery every Wednesday and Saturday (California Lottery).

Terminal - A computerized device located at a lottery retailer that is used to sell lottery tickets and online games and to validate winning tickets of lottery, online and instant games. Terminals are connected to a lottery's central computers by phone line.
Three-digit or 3-Digit Game - A numbers game in which three digits between 0 and 9 are selected. Numbers may be repeated.
Toto - Short for "Totocalcio". Italian football pools. A form of sports lottery. (See 'Sports Lottery' above.)
To Wheel - To play the 'Wheeling System' (see below).
Tree System - A way of organizing numbers to play for a straight win so that potential combinations are not missed. Similar to a 'Wheeling System'.
Triple or Triples - A three digit number consisting of the same number. Example; 111.

Underdrawn or Under Drawn - A digit that over a period of time is drawn less often than the norm. These numbers are favored because they can only reach normality by being drawn.

Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) - Electronic games of chance played on a video screen. They often simulate popular casino games such as blackjack, poker, or spinning-reel slot machines (for all about 'Slot Machines' click here). Unlike slot machines, video lottery terminals do not dispense money. Rather, a winning player is provided a ticket that is redeemed by the retailer for prizes.
Virgin - A colloquial term referring to a number or number combination that has never been drawn.

Wheeling System - A way of organizing and playing a set of numbers to improve the chances of winning multiple prizes.
Withholding - The anticipated tax amount deducted from prize payments.

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