This weekend, the Iowa Lottery will kick off a summer promotion to give away $2 million in prize money from those two big jackpots that went unclaimed late last year. The "Mystery Millionaire" promotion starts Sunday. It will give lottery players who buy the $5 Mystery Millionaire pack the chance to win prizes from $10,000 up to $1 million! The whole thing will culminate with a live give-away show on Extreme Sunday, the final day of the Iowa State Fair.
Now, I'm sure you'll remember one of the prizes I've been talking about: It was that Hot Lotto® jackpot won in Des Moines that generated international headlines when lawyers representing a trust turned in the winning ticket with less than two hours to go before the prize would have expired in late December. But they ultimately withdrew the claim in January.
But just before that whole situation started, an even bigger prize – that one a $77 million Powerball® jackpot won in Georgia – expired on Dec. 26 without being claimed.
The money from those unclaimed jackpots goes back to the individual lotteries that sell the games in proportion to the percentage of sales that came from each state for those particular drawings. Iowa's share was a total of about $2 million.
With the unclaimed jackpots hitting in Hot Lotto and Powerball, the Mystery Millionaire promotion also will involve those games. From the start of business on Sunday through 11:59 p.m. on July 28, a special $5 Mystery Millionaire pack will be available from lottery terminals statewide. You'll get an easy-pick Powerball with Power Play ticket, an easy-pick Hot Lotto Sizzler ticket, and along with those, a bonus Mystery Millionaire entry ticket with a code you’ll enter on the lottery's website at www.ialottery.com.
You'll need to enter the code on the lottery's site by noon on July 31. You can use each ticket only once as an entry and you don't have to keep your bonus Mystery Millionaire entry tickets after you’ve entered them.
On Aug. 2, the lottery will select 49 winning tickets in the promotion. The folks who entered 34 of those tickets will win prizes of $10,000 each. The other 15 will advance to the Mystery Millionaire Give-away on Aug. 19 at the Iowa State Fair. Each of the contestants at the Fair will win at least $25,000 and could win the grand prize of $1 million!
But lottery players aren't the only ones who can win big in the promotion - we'll also have prizes for the retailers that sell the winning tickets and the audience members at our live event.
The 15 semifinalists who attend the State Fair event each will receive four admission tickets to the Fair; two parking passes; hotel stay for two; admission for two to an exclusive dinner on Saturday, Aug. 18; and spending cash.
Here's the run-down on our event at the Fair: The first 1,000 audience members who check in at the live show site on the Grand Concourse will get tickets to attend the give-away. Fifteen people in the audience that day will win prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000. And the retailers whose locations sell the winning tickets to the 15 semi-finalists on the stage at that live give-away show will win prizes from $500 up to $2,000.
We've been having fun saying "Millionaire at the Fair," and we'll hope to see you there as we cap off summer!