Lotto Max more popular than Super 7
The new Lotto Max lottery has surpassed expectations, pulling in $1.48 billion nationally in its first 10 months of existence, says the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
The corporation had forecast that Lotto Max would earn $1.4 billion in its first full year.
By contrast, Super 7, which Lotto Max replaced last September, earned $760 million in its best year.
"Is it a complete surprise? No," Don Pister, manager of public relations for OLG, told CBCNews.ca. "[The lottery's design has] been in the works for several years."
The granddaddy of Canadian lotteries, Lotto 6/49, which debuted in 1982, pulled in $1.9 billion last year.
Lotto Max differs from Lotto 6/49 by offering one main jackpot, plus a number of individual $1-million prizes, called MaxMillions. The main prize starts off at $10 million and grows each week if it is not claimed. It tops out at $50 million, at which point the number of MaxMillions prizes will grow.
For instance, Friday's Lotto Max draw has a prize pool worth $82 million: a $50-million jackpot, plus 32 MaxMillions prizes.
The OLG attributes the success of Lotto Max to the MaxMillions prizes. It's encouraging for lottery players to feel that even if they don't win the main jackpot, they still have a chance at the MaxMillions.
"Bigger jackpots are a trend across the United State and Canada, and Europe," said Pister. "Canadians have been saying they do enjoy the big jackpot, but that they also want to see more prizes spread around."
Canada has nothing like the massive jackpots seen in the United States or even Europe.
In 2007, a Mega Millions jackpot worth $390 million US was split by two American ticket holders. And last summer, Italy was in the grips of lottery fever as a growing jackpot went without a winner, expanding to $205 million US before being claimed by a single winner.