This is just one of the many perks of our free VIP Club. Simply log in to your account then click on the “Free Downloads” tab. From there you’ll click on the “Learn more” under the Lottery Envelopes section.
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.)
We’ve heard from several players this month who haven’t received their September VIP Club free-play coupon, and we think we’ve figured out why.
Nearly all those who contacted us have Mediacom or CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) email accounts. Mediacom, CenturyLink and other email service providers routinely update their spam filters to help their customers avoid malicious emails. It appears that the latest security upgrades have kept our emails from getting through. It’s a situation we’ve seen a few times through the years with different service providers as they do their best to protect their customers’ accounts.
If your VIP Club account is linked to an email address that ends in @mchsi.com, @mediacombb.net, @q.com or @centurylink.net, you most likely have not received your coupon for a free play this month. The lottery’s email to you likely got caught at the administrative level by those service providers.
We’ve found a work-around to get the monthly newsletter and free-play coupon through to players with email addresses from those providers. If you haven’t received your coupon yet, please email us at Wmaster@ialottery.com and we’ll try our best to send it to you.
And we’ll keep investigating possible options for better delivery of coupons to our VIP Club members. We know you enjoy getting the coupons and we want them to make it through!
On Friday, we’ll debut an updated version of our website. It’s part of the changes we’re making as we introduce the lottery’s new logo, which I blogged about last week. The updates will produce what we think is a cleaner design for a website that hopefully will be even better to use.
There may be brief periods as the updates are being applied Friday morning that things will look a little off. As the updates are made, it takes time for the new pages to cache. If you try to access them as that is occurring, some pages may look “kinda wonky.”
We’ll be updating both our main site at www.ialottery.com and our VIP Club website at www.ialotteryvip.com, so the updates will take a few hours. We anticipate that the updates will begin sometime between 7-8 a.m. on Friday and our goal is to finish up by around 10 a.m. that day.
If you have difficulty with our site on Friday or as we move ahead, try clearing out your web browser history or refresh the web page. Either of those tricks may help get things to display correctly.
The addresses of our websites are not being changed, so any existing bookmarks you have should continue to work.
Here’s an interesting question we got on Facebook in case you’ve ever wondered the same thing. A man named Travis had this question: “If a computer randomly picks the winning numbers for lottery games, how are you then able to draw the same numbers with the balls on live TV?”
It’s an interesting – but mistaken – idea that we don’t think we've been asked about before. The quick answer is that the results in lottery drawings are determined by ball-drawing equipment or computerized random-number generator equipment, but not both.
The drawings in Powerball® and Mega Millions®, as you likely know, are conducted live on television using ball-drawing machines. The drawings in some of our other games, such as Pick 3 and Pick 4, and our VIP Club drawings, are conducted using random-number generators.
It’s an either/or equation, but not both. Both types of equipment have their own pluses and minuses. The key factor is to have the necessary security controls to protect the integrity of the games, and that is something we’re constantly working on as technology advances.
So, it’s one or the other, but not both. Great question!
A woman named Lesly sent us a good question on Facebook about our current “Holiday Hoopla™” promotion. I’m sharing the information here in case you’ve wondered the same thing.
Lesly said that she was trying to enter nonwinning lotto tickets into the promotion and wondered why the entry area for those tickets is greyed out. (I took a screen shot of the page so you can see it.)
As we shared with Lesly, that section is greyed out because lotto tickets (those in games like Powerball® and Mega Millions®)aren’t eligible for Holiday Hoopla. We made that area inactive so people wouldn’t mistakenly try to make entries that wouldn’t count.
We keep a complete list of the eligible games for Holiday Hoopla on our website and our VIP Club site. And as new promotions are introduced, we’ll do our best to make it clear which games are eligible for those as well. If a particular type of game isn’t eligible for the promotion involved, we’ll grey out the entry area for those tickets to help keep things on track.
A woman named Michelle sent us a question on Facebook this week that’s very topical for the holidays. She asked where she could find our holiday envelopes for giving lottery tickets as gifts.
We distribute the envelopes to retail locations, but they’re popular, so supplies in some places may run out. That’s why we also make them available electronically, so you can print them on demand.
To download the envelopes, log in to our VIP Club website (www.ialotteryvip.com) and click on the “Free Downloads” tab. Then click on “Lottery Envelopes” to see all the options available, including our holiday designs. They print out on standard 8.5x11 paper. And they’re easy to fold together.
You’ll be holiday ready, easy-peasy!
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!