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Lotto Max Group Play
November 1, 2009
The 8 temporary groups (Group 910 to Group 917) will each buy one Lotto Max ticket whenever the jackpot is $50 million. There are shares available in the groups (except Group 913) at a cost of 2 shares for $1.
As the Lotto Max jackpot nears $50 million for the first time, is Lotto Max group play a viable option? The best way to compare various lotteries with different ticket prices and different odds is using the payout percentage (expected value). In fact, all types of wagers can be compared using the same payout calculation.
Lotto 649 is by far the most popular group play lottery because if offers some of the best payouts and offers them several times a year. When the Lotto 649 jackpot is at least $25 million, the payout percentage is usually over 80%. When the jackpot is over $40 million, the payout percentage is usually over 90%. So far this year, we bought tickets for 12 different Lotto 649 draws with an average payout of 83%. The highest payout was 97% when the deflator rule was applied.
So the minimum payout to shoot for is 80%. This would not appear to be a difficult target to achieve with a $50 million Lotto Max jackpot. Well unfortunately, that is not the case. The estimated payout when the jackpot is $50 million is only 52%. It can only be estimated because the payout is dependent upon sales. Using a conservative sales figure of $30 million gives the payout of 52%. If sales are much higher, say $50 million, then the payout drops to 50%.
How large a jackpot would it take to get a payout of 80%? Since the Lotto Max jackpot is capped at $50 million, a larger payout can only occur with the $1 million Maxmillion prizes.
Using the conservative sales estimate of $30 million, a total of 44 Max Millions prizes would have to be drawn to get a payout of 80%. That is the equivalent of a $94 million jackpot. That amount available to be won makes the sales estimate unrealistic. Using a sales estimate of $50 million, still a conservative estimate for this size of jackpot, a total of 50 Max Millions prizes would have to be drawn to get a payout of 80%.
Will there ever be 50 Maxmillion prizes available to be won? It is hard to say for sure because it depends upon how high sales are and if the main jackpot continues to roll several draws in a row. Using an 80% payout target will probably result in very few Lotto Max group plays.
But it is hard to pass up a $50 million jackpot even when the payout is so low. So here is the plan.
When the Lotto Max jackpot reaches $50 million, there will be a Lotto Max group play. But it will be on a relatively small scale. Currently the 8 temporary groups (Group 910 to Group 917) that were setup to play the last Super 7 draw are all holding money won in the Super 7 draw waiting for the Lotto 649 jackpot to reach $25 million. In the meantime, the temporary groups will play the Lotto Max game but each group will only buy a single ticket. This way we are still in the game but not spending very much money given the very poor payout.
This compromised strategy is partly in response to some members asking for group play to occur more often. Some members have asked for groups to be setup to play every draw. That will likely never happen. The starting Lotto 649 jackpots give payouts as low as 28% and the jackpot is too small to split many ways. But the this Lotto Max group will give several more opportunities for group play.