Our “Jingle Bills” holiday promotion has been up and running for about a week now, so it’s a good time to recap answers to some of the questions we’re seeing about it.
Each ticket entered in the promotion is good for one entry, it doesn’t matter the price of the ticket. And each entry is good only for the drawing in which it was entered as well as the $20,000 grand-prize drawing at the end if it’s not selected before then. You’ll need to enter an eligible nonwinning ticket during each entry period to have a chance of winning a prize in the current drawing.
But entries don’t carry over from one of the initial drawings to the next. At the close of each two-week entry period, the entry cache is wiped clean and the count starts over at zero for the next drawing cycle.
A few folks have said they had trouble getting their tickets entered in the promotion. They said they keyed in their ticket numbers, but didn’t get a message saying that an entry had been made, and the ticket was not in their history of entries. In those instances, the players needed to make sure they clicked on the “submit” icon with their mouse rather than hitting the “enter” button on their keyboard. Just a few people have had that situation, and the entry process we’ve described worked for all of them.
We also got a question about the number of top prizes in our holiday-themed games. A player noticed that holiday games don’t have as many top prizes available as our other games and wondered why.
It’s because our holiday-themed games by design will only be on the market for a short period of time while many of our other games are sold for a year or more. We order smaller quantities of tickets in our holiday games, which means there will be a smaller number of prizes involved. The key point, however, is that the odds of winning in our holiday-themed games are in line with those in our other games, and that’s what matters when it comes to the chance of winning a prize.
And with “Crossword” and “Bingo” being perennial favorites with our scratch-ticket players, we’ve gotten questions about when the non-holiday versions of those games will be back. Not to worry! They’ll return in January when the holiday promotion ends.
Our VIP Connection newsletter, which gives sneak peeks about new games and promotions and contains the monthly free-play coupon for members of our free VIP Club, is sent out on the first business day of each month. Oftentimes, that’s also the first calendar day of the month. But this month goes to show that’s not always the case. Oct. 1 was a Saturday, so the newsletter went out on Oct. 3, the following Monday.
In November and December, the first calendar day and the first business day will be one and the same, so the newsletter will go out on the first of the month. But January will see two timing issues come into play: Jan. 1 will be on a Sunday and the lottery’s offices will be closed Jan. 2 for the New Year’s holiday. So the VIP Connection won’t go out that month until Jan. 3.
We may have to remind people about that as January gets closer, but you’ll be in the know if you look for our newsletter on the first business day each month.
(Here are some helpful hints if you’re a member of our VIP Club and you haven’t been seeing your coupon for a free play each month: Remember that you’ll find it in the monthly newsletter. It’s always right at the bottom of the page. You’ll need to have clicked “Yes” in your VIP Club account to receive email communications from the lottery. You can do that either when you sign up for the club or by visiting the “Manage Profile” page if you’re already a member.
The emails come from our Webmaster address -- email@example.com. So if you’ve accepted communications from us and you’re still not seeing them, please check your spam folder and double-check your inbox. And, be sure to add our Webmaster address to your contacts or safe senders list. That can help ensure that our emails make it through to you.)
A total of 65 cash prizes will be up for grabs over the next few months in our “Jingle Bills” holiday promotion that started at noon today.
The promotion will have eight drawings, with the number of prizes increasing over time. There will be a $1,000 prize on the line in the drawing on Oct. 26 and that will ratchet up to 18 prizes of $1,000 in the drawing on Jan. 18. A $20,000 grand prize also will be awarded Jan. 18, with any entries not selected in an earlier drawing eligible for the grand prize.
You’ve told us that cash is your favorite prize, so we’re giving you lots of chances to win just that all the way through the holiday season!
You can enter the promotion using nonwinning tickets from the 11 holiday-themed instant-scratch games we’ll have available this year. Nine of the games hit the market Oct. 3 and two more will start sales on Oct. 31.
The promotion gives you three ways to win with each holiday-themed ticket that you buy: You could win an instant prize playing your scratch ticket; have a chance at a $1,000 prize if you enter one of the initial drawings; and have a chance at the $20,000 grand prize if your entry isn’t selected before then.
To enter the promotion, you’ll need to join or already be a member of our free VIP Club. Here’s the drawing schedule and the number of prizes that will be awarded:
It took a photo of him holding an oversized check at the lottery for a Coralville man's family to believe he'd won a $1 million Powerball prize. Jeff Tomlinson Jr. admits his reputation as a jokester may have had something to do with that! Click on the video above to see Jeff tell his story.
It’s important to determine which kind of card you’re thinking about using before you go forward with a lottery purchase. Lottery players can use debit cards to purchase lottery products in Iowa. But state law prohibits the use of a credit card to make a lottery purchase.
A debit transaction is always tied to available funds, so as long as the card says DEBIT on the front, it’s OK to use it for a lottery transaction. If it’s a CREDIT card, it’s illegal to use it for the purchase of lottery tickets.
Please bear in mind, however, that some retail locations may have policies that don’t allow the use of debit cards for lottery purchases. That’s similar to store policies that may, for example, not allow personal checks for any type of purchase. Stores can and do develop their own policies about what they’ll allow in their locations, and we understand that.
Scammers continue to try their best to separate you from your hard-earned money, and one of the techniques they use involves impersonating lotteries.
Remember, the only lottery that can operate in Iowa is the Iowa Lottery. And unless you specifically enter an Iowa Lottery promotion or contest, we will never contact you to inform you that you’ve won a prize.
If you receive suspicious materials, telephone calls or e-mails or if you have questions about information that supposedly came from a lottery, call the Iowa Lottery and ask for our Security Division.
Here are some other tips to help you avoid lottery scams:
• If someone says that you’ve won a big prize, stop and ask yourself this question: Did I buy a ticket or enter that contest? If you didn’t, it’s likely a scam.
• Never pay processing fees, insurance or commissions to claim a lottery prize. Legitimate lotteries do not require winners to pay anything up front to receive a prize.
• Never believe a letter, phone call or Internet message from someone who claims they can guarantee you a prize. Legitimate lotteries do not guarantee that you will win a prize and do not require you to join a prize pool to play.
As the lottery’s vice president of external relations, I’m a member of the senior management team at the Iowa Lottery, where I’ve worked since 1999. I’ve spent my years at the lottery learning as much as I can about all the ins and outs of the lottery industry. I’ll put that knowledge to work here so I can share the behind-the-scenes details with you!