You heard it here first: We’re releasing the initial details today for the summer promotion we’re planning to give away the prize money from those two big jackpots that expired without being claimed late last year.
Now, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard about one of them. It was that Hot Lotto® jackpot won with a ticket purchased in Des Moines that made international headlines when lawyers representing a trust withdrew the claim for the prize after the ultimate winner or winners refused to answer basic lottery security questions. The winning ticket had been turned in Dec. 29 here at the lottery with less than two hours to go before the big prize would have expired, but the claim was withdrawn on Jan. 26, sending that prize into the ranks of the unclaimed.
And just before all that hub-bub started, an even bigger prize – that one a $77 million Powerball® prize won in Georgia – also had expired without being claimed. That big prize officially expired Dec. 26.
With Hot Lotto and Powerball both being multi-state games, the money from these two unclaimed jackpots will go back to the individual lotteries that sell the games in proportion to the percentage of sales that came from each state. Iowa’s share of the unclaimed Hot Lotto jackpot is about $1.4 million, while our share of the unclaimed Powerball jackpot is about $600,000. So, we’re planning to give away about $2 million to Iowa players this summer.
Here in Iowa, the money from unclaimed prizes goes into the lottery’s prize pools for future games, so it will be used to pay prizes, just not those particular prizes that have expired.
This is a very unusual situation. None of us here at the lottery can ever remember a time when two big jackpots expired back-to-back like this. That money was bound for players, and that’s where it ultimately will go through this promotion. The state received its share of the money from lottery proceeds back when the tickets were sold.
The final details are still being ironed out, but we’re looking at a promotion that will start in July and be capped off with an event in August at the Iowa State Fair to give away prizes of up to $1 million cash. We’re focusing on a promotion designed for those who play Hot Lotto and Powerball, since those are the two games involved. Maybe we’ll call it “Millionaire at the Fair.” What do you think?
In addition to prizes for lotto players, we’re also talking about giving audience members that day at the Fair a chance to win prizes, as well as the retailers that sell the winning tickets in the promotion. Whatever it is, it should be a fun way to cap off the summer!
Hi again, gang! We have gotten a ton of comments to this blog entry, and we love to hear from you, so keep ‘em coming! I’m afraid, however, that a lot of folks are posting to this entry without reading our previous responses in the comments chain. So, I’ve posted another response in the comments section, but I’m updating this blog entry today, too, so everyone can see what’s being discussed.
UPDATED April 6, 2012
The plans for our upcoming summer contest aren’t finalized yet, but we are going to be selecting a lot of winners to give away nearly $2 million! Here’s the information we have so far, but as I’ve already said, please understand that we’re still putting together the final details. We’ll have more to share as the time gets closer. What we’re talking about is a lot like the raffle concept some of you have mentioned here in your comments, so great minds think alike!
We anticipate having a contest that will begin sometime in July. To be eligible to enter, you’ll make a special $5 lotto purchase in Powerball® and Hot Lotto®. We’ll have a special button added to our lottery terminals to generate the plays. You’ll get one $2 Powerball ticket with the Power Play option (for a total of $3) and one Hot Lotto ticket with the Sizzler option (for a total of $2). Along with that will come what we call a “trailing ticket” that will contain an entry code for the contest. You’ll go to www.ialottery.com and enter that code to be eligible for the contest drawing.
Anyone who makes one of those purchases anywhere in Iowa and then enters their code can be part of the fun! And those tickets you’ll buy will of course give you the chance to win Powerball and Hot Lotto prizes along the way, too!
Then in early August, we’ll hold a drawing to determine 49 semi-finalists. Thirty-four of those folks will each win a $10,000 prize in that drawing. But 15 of those lucky winners will get to be part of a big reveal, which is slated for the last day of the Iowa State Fair. Those 15 people will each win a prize ranging from $25,000 up to $1 million at that event!
And if you are one of the folks eligible for that State Fair event, the lottery is putting together what we hope will be a really fun trip for you and a guest. We’re planning a celebration dinner, we’ll put you up in a hotel for the night and give you Fair admission tickets and parking passes. We’ll also give each of the Lucky 15 some cash to cover travel expenses they might have.
If you don’t want to make the trip yourself or have a scheduling conflict, you can always appoint a proxy to be there in your stead or we can appoint one for you. No worries there!
We chose the Fair as the location for the big reveal because we want there to be a huge audience to cheer our winners on. And we’re planning some small prizes for some of the folks in the audience that day just to add to the fun and keep things interesting!
Yep, this is a lot like a raffle, but with a lot more hoop-la. We like hoop-la. ☺