Iowa Lottery spokesperson, Mary Neubauer, says Iowa and the 13 other lotteries that sell the game decided to make the move after a performance review.
“Any game has a life span and through the years Hot Lotto has been updated just like some of our other lotto games like Powerball and Mega Millions have, to incorporated new features and give players new things to look for in the game. But over time, the sales have simply fallen off,” Neubauer says.
She says it’s a bit ironic as Hot Lotto was developed after players told the Iowa Lottery they weren’t as interested in chasing the mega jackpots generated by some of the other games.
“And that in fact is what Hot Lotto is. It’s a game that has Powerball style play, but with jackpots that start at a million dollars and with easier odds to win than Powerball, and yet the sales have fallen off over time,” according to Neubauer. “People say that’s what they want, but then they’re not backing that up with their choices when it comes to actually purchasing tickets. So, it’s kind of an interesting mindset there that we’ve looked at.”
The Hot Lotto game was at the center of one of the most convoluted stories and mysteries in Iowa that eventually led to a guilty plea in a multi-state lottery rigging scheme. Neubauer says that case had not impact on the decision to end the game.
“No, the decision that led to this point is simply a business decision. It’s based on the performance of the game,” Neubauer says. She expects something to replace the Hot Lotto game.
Neubauer says the lotteries that are members of the Hot Lotto game are working on a new game that would debut later this year, but those plans haven’t been finalized. The last Hot Lotto drawing is scheduled for October 28th. There is the possibility that no one has the winning numbers for that jackpot.
“Just like other unclaimed prize money, here in Iowa, we will use that money for prizes in future games and promotions, “Neubauer says. And if you win some sort of prize in that last drawing, you can still collect it.
“Prizes in Hot Lotto are valid here in Iowa for up to 365 days from the date of the drawing in which they are won. And that would still be applicable even after the game ends,” Neubauer explains. “So, if you won a prize in the final drawing of Hot Lotto, you would still have another year to claim that prize.”
Iowa Lottery players have won eight jackpots in Hot Lotto since it began. That includes the largest prize ever in the game — $19.97 million jackpot won in January 2007 by John Hall of Indianola.