The following article was published in the Toronto Star on March 5, 2009
Need for `big jackpots, more millionaires' leads to demise of longtime lottery in place of another.
It is only 15 but Lotto Super 7 is ready for retirement.
A new and yet-to-be-named game is waiting in the wings, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission announced yesterday.
Its next national lottery will include "big jackpots and more millionaires than ever before," said spokesperson Rui Brum.
The final Super 7 drawing will be on Friday, Sept. 18. If no one on that day has all seven numbers, the final jackpot will be split among holders of tickets with six numbers.
Ticket sales for the new game will begin the next day, and the first draw take place on Sept. 25.
Brum said the changeover comes after Interprovincial Lottery Corp. interviewed 20,000 lottery players to find out what they wanted. "They were asking for big jackpots and more millionaires."
The troubled economy did not factor into the decision. "Not at all," he said. "We find that the prime determinate for player participation in the lottery is the jackpot size.
The Super 7's biggest-ever jackpot was $37.8 million on May 17, 2002. (Its main competitor, Lotto 6/49, has had larger jackpots.)
That jackpot was split four ways, with two winning groups in Quebec and one each in British Columbia and Saskatchewan divvying up almost $9.5 million each. One ticket holder was a syndicate of 10 men and four women in Grand-Mere, Que.
They all worked or frequented the two neighbourhoods where they pooled their money to buy nearly 1,200 tickets.
Brum says bigger jackpots will not make the game harder to win. "The odds are always the same, no matter what the jackpot is," he said. Brum would not say how the OLG plans to produce more millionaires.
Since Super 7 was launched in June 1994, it has generated ticket sales of $11.44 billion, with players winning $6.73 billion. Proceeds from the lottery are used by provincial governments to fund public projects and services.