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What does Lotto America start at?

Lotto America is a multi-state lottery game that is played in 13 states across the United States. The game began in 2017 as a replacement for the Hot Lotto game after that game ended in October 2017. Lotto America holds twice weekly drawings on Wednesday and Saturday evenings for a top prize that starts at $2 million and rolls over if it is not won. Let’s take a closer look at how the Lotto America game works and what the starting jackpot is.

How the Lotto America Game Works

Lotto America is coordinated by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) and its member state lotteries. To play, you first choose 5 main numbers from 1 to 52. You then choose 1 Star Ball from a second pool of 1 to 10 numbers. You can choose your own numbers by picking them individually or using the quick pick option to have the lottery terminal randomly generate them for you. It costs $1 per play. There are 9 ways to win a prize in Lotto America.

The jackpot in Lotto America begins at $2 million and continues to grow until it is won. If no one matches all 6 numbers in a drawing, the jackpot rolls over to the next drawing and increases. The overall odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 25,989,600. The game also has 8 other lower tier prizes:

  • Match 5 main numbers: $20,000
  • Match 4 main numbers + Star Ball: $5,000
  • Match 4 main numbers: $200
  • Match 3 main numbers + Star Ball: $150
  • Match 3 main numbers: $10
  • Match 2 main numbers + Star Ball: $6
  • Match 1 main number + Star Ball: $4
  • Match just the Star Ball: $2

Drawings take place every Wednesday and Saturday night at 10:15pm ET. Ticket sales cut-off times will vary by state. You can generally purchase tickets up until around 15 minutes before the draw.

What Does the Lotto America Jackpot Start At?

When the Lotto America game first launched in November 2017, the starting jackpot was set at $15 million. However, in May 2019, the starting jackpot was lowered to $2 million in order to have more frequent jackpot wins and build excitement around the game. So as of today, the published rules state that the Lotto America jackpot starts at a guaranteed $2 million and continues increasing each drawing until it is won.

Having a lower starting point allows the jackpot to be won more frequently, rather than continuing to roll without winners for long periods of time. Under the previous $15 million minimum, the game could go many weeks or even months without the top prize being awarded. With a $2 million base, the odds of winning become more reasonable for players. Here is a summary of the current Lotto America jackpot details:

  • Starting jackpot: $2 million minimum guaranteed
  • Jackpot increases by at least $50,000 each draw if not won
  • Jackpot has no maximum or cap
  • Overall odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 25,989,600
  • Jackpot can be split if there is more than one winner

So in short, the answer to the question “What does Lotto America start at?” is a guaranteed, published amount of $2 million. This creates shorter jackpot runs, more frequent winners, and keeps players engaged and excited about the next drawing.

Lotto America’s Largest Jackpots

Although Lotto America is a relatively new game, it has already created some hefty jackpots since its debut. Here are the top 3 biggest Lotto America jackpots to date:

Jackpot Amount Drawing Date Winning State
$72.3 million November 14, 2020 Florida
$54.9 million August 15, 2020 Oregon
$27.8 million May 9, 2020 Florida

As you can see, the game has already created jackpots worth over $70 million even though it has a modest starting point of just $2 million. The current record jackpot of $72.3 million was hit on November 14, 2020 and won by a single ticket in Florida. One player correctly matched all 6 numbers to walk away with the nearly $72 million cash option lump sum.

Changes to Game Matrices

In addition to lowering the starting jackpot thresholds for Lotto America, the game matrices have also been tweaked in order to create better overall odds for players. When the game first launched in 2017, players chose 5 main numbers from 1 to 52, similar to Powerball. In June 2020, the field for the main numbers was decreased to 1 to 47. This change occurred simultaneously with the starting jackpot lowering from $15 million to $2 million.

Reducing the main pool by 5 numbers (from 52 to 47) gave players better chances of matching at least some of the winning numbers drawn. The overall odds of winning any prize improved from 1 in 12.6 to 1 in 9.7. Even though the starting jackpot was lowered, the better odds help compensate and create frequent winners other than just when the jackpot is struck.

The Star Ball number pool has also been modified over time. Originally the second set of numbers was 1 to 10, which then changed to 1 to 15, and finally as of June 2020 changed again to its current 1 to 10. So while the main pool decreased by 5 numbers, the Star Ball pool was reduced as well to create more reasonable odds.

Summary of Matrix Changes

Game Version Main Numbers Star Ball Numbers
Original 1-52 1-10
June 2020 1-47 1-15
Current 1-47 1-10

These changes to the game matrices have helped create bigger, faster growing jackpots as well as better odds for players to win lower tier prizes. Over time, additional tweaks could continue to be made depending on the performance and popularity of Lotto America.

How to Play Lotto America

Playing the Lotto America game is straightforward. The only requirement is to be at least 18 years or older and be physically located within a participating lottery state. You can play official state lottery tickets both online as well as in retail locations. Here are the steps to play:

  1. Pick 5 main numbers from 1 to 47. You can use a playslip and mark 5 numbers yourself or ask for a computer quick pick.
  2. Pick 1 Star Ball number from 1 to 10. This is also known as the All-Star Ball number. Again, choose it yourself or quick pick.
  3. Submit your completed playslip to a lottery retailer or purchase your ticket online via mobile app or website if available in your state.
  4. Check the Lotto America drawings on Wednesday and Saturday nights at 10:15pm ET to see if you won a prize. Match the main and Star Ball numbers drawn to your ticket numbers.
  5. Winning tickets can be redeemed at lottery retailers, claims centers, or by mail depending on the prize amount and jurisdiction rules.

Some states may also offer an All Star Bonus option when you purchase your Lotto America ticket for an extra $1 per play. This adds multiplied non-jackpot prizes if you match your Star Ball number.

Lotto America has a long history that dates back over 30 years. The game began in 1988 as Lotto*America. At the time, it was the first multi-state lottery game ever introduced in the United States. The game has undergone several name changes and matrix tweaks over the decades before becoming the current Lotto America version available as of 2017.

Which States Participate

When Lotto America originally launched in 2017, there were 13 member lotteries participating. The game has since expanded as other lotteries have joined. As of October 2022, the list of participating Lotto America states now includes:

  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Lotto America tickets cannot be purchased outside of these participating jurisdictions. If you live in one of the 16 member states, you can play both online as well as at authorized retail lottery outlets. Jackpots can be won by ticketholders in any of the connected states since all revenue and prizes are pooled together.

Potential Future States

In the future, Lotto America could potentially expand to additional states. The lottery is currently considering its multistateFootprint and evaluating if joining Lotto America would be beneficial for other lotteries and their players. Some states that have been mentioned as possible expansion candidates include:

  • Connecticut
  • Kentucky
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio

However, no definitive plans or timeline have been announced. The overall lottery industry and sales trends will factor into if and when Lotto America looks to further increase its reach in the US.

Lotto America’s Largest Jackpot

As mentioned earlier, the current Lotto America record jackpot stands at an impressive $72.3 million. This prize was hit on November 14, 2020 and won by a single ticket sold in Florida. The lucky ticketholder opted for the cash option lump sum payment of $52,585,146.52 after required tax withholdings.

The winning numbers on November 14, 2020 were:

  • Main Numbers: 9 – 17 – 20 – 24 – 50
  • Star Ball: 10

This jackpot initially started at the guaranteed $2 million on October 31, 2020. Over the next 2 weeks, it continued to increase each drawing without a winner. It ultimately hit $72.3 million before being matched by the single Florida ticket. Prior to this, the previous Lotto America record was $54.9 million won in Oregon back in August 2020.

Lotto America is designed to produce big jackpots while also ensuring frequent winners, thanks to the lower starting point. Just in its first few years of existence, the game has already produced 2 jackpots exceeding $70 million in size. It remains to be seen how truly massive the top prize can eventually grow to in the future.

Jackpot Winning Tips

Hitting the jackpot requires matching all 6 numbers drawn – the 5 main numbers plus the Star Ball. This is no easy task, with odds of 1 in nearly 26 million. There is no surefire way to win the jackpot, however, there are some tips to maximize your chances:

  • Buy more tickets – this increases your odds and number combinations covered
  • Join or form a lottery pool or syndicate
  • Use lottery wheeling systems to generate additional combinations
  • Use random quick pick numbers rather than selecting your own
  • Purchase tickets for every drawing as consistency improves odds

While winning requires a lot of luck, following some of these tips can help provide more chances at that sought after jackpot prize.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lotto America played across the country?

No, Lotto America is not yet available nationwide across the US. As of 2022, Lotto America is offered in 16 participating states, mostly in the Midwest and East Coast regions. Expansion to more states is a possibility in the future.

What are the odds of winning Lotto America?

The overall chances of winning the Lotto America jackpot are around 1 in 26 million. The odds of winning any other prize are as follows:

  • Match 5 Main Numbers – 1 in 1,712,304
  • Match 4 Main + Star Ball – 1 in 369,361
  • Match 4 Main Numbers – 1 in 13,781
  • Match 3 Main + Star Ball – 1 in 37,735
  • Match 3 Main Numbers – 1 in 1,471
  • Match 2 Main + Star Ball – 1 in 739
  • Match 1 Main + Star Ball – 1 in 91
  • Match Star Ball Only – 1 in 10

What days are the Lotto America drawings?

Lotto America drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday evening at 10:15 PM Eastern Time. Tickets can no longer be purchased once the cut-off occurs prior to 10:15 PM ET.

Can Lotto America jackpots be split between winners?

Yes, if there is more than one winning jackpot ticket for a drawing, the top prize will be split evenly amongst the number of winners. Lower tier prizes can also be split if multiple tickets match the same winning numbers.

What is the lump sum cash option?

Lotto America jackpot winners can choose to receive their prize as either an annuity paid out over 30 years or as a one-time lump sum cash payment. The cash option is reduced amount equal to the jackpot’s current cash value.


Lotto America offers big jackpot excitement starting at a guaranteed $2 million and rolling over from there. With prizes won frequently and overall odds that are better than games like Powerball and Mega Millions, Lotto America has carved out a niche for itself in the lottery industry since launching in 2017. With tickets sold in 16 participating states across the Midwest and East Coast regions, Lotto America provides players a chance to win life-changing jackpots on every Wednesday and Saturday night.