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The Massachusetts Lottery was established in 1971, following the legalization of gambling by the Massachusetts General Court, the legislature of the Commonwealth. The Lottery is administered by a commission of five members, who include the Treasurer and Receiver-General (who serves as chairperson); the Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety; and the Comptroller, who serve on an ex officio basis. The Governor appoints the other two members.
The Lottery is unusual in withholding 5 percent on prizes over $600, instead of only over $5,000 (the Federal level.) The withholding on prizes of at least $5,000 is 30 percent.
The Lottery had come under criticism for not offering a cash option for many of its annuitized games. In 2004, then-94-year-old Massachusetts resident Louise Outing sparked controversy after she failed to win a lawsuit to have her $5.4 million Megabucks jackpot prize paid as a lump sum. (Outing died in 2006.) In May 2009, Megabucks was replaced by Megabucks Doubler, which has a cash option; beginning in June 2009, winners of annuity prizes in scratch games, including lifetime payouts, were allowed to receive a lump sum. However, there is no cash option in the New England-wide Lucky for Life, which is an expanded version of a Connecticut game; its drawings remain in Hartford.
In Megabucks Doubler, every 10th ticket is eligible for a doubled non-jackpot prize. The payout percentage in this game is 55%.
The Numbers Game is played twice daily. Payouts are on a pari-mutuel basis.
Keno is played at a retailer with a monitor. Drawings are four minutes apart. Prices, prizes, and options vary.
This is a poker-themed game with a side bet. The basic game costs $1; a player chooses 5 of 52 "cards". If the computer-generated "hand" is a Royal Flush, the player $25,000. A $2 wager is eligible for the Progressive Jackpot option; the minimum jackpot is $100,000.
In 2011, Mass Cash expanded to daily drawings. Five numbers 1 to 35 are drawn. Top prize is $100,000 (with a $1 million liability limit.) The game is similar to neighboring Connecticut's Cash 5 basic game (without the Kicker). Four numbers wins $250; three numbers, $10.
Megabucks Doubler is drawn Wednesdays and Saturdays. Six numbers from 1 to 49 are chosen. The jackpot starts at $500,000; unlike previous versions of the game, there is a cash option. Matching 5 out of 6 wins $2,500 ($5,000 with doubler) Matching 4 out of 6 wins $100 ($200 with doubler) 3 out of 6 wins $2 ($4 with doubler)
The Lottery offers scratch tickets; price points are $1, $2, $5, $10, $20 and $30. Top prizes range from $5,000 to $15 million. "Cash for Life" tickets offer the chance $500 to $10,000 a week for life.
The Daily Game Race was played much same as Keno. It was a horserace-themed Keno-style computer monitor. The Daily Race Game ended in June 11, 2013, due to poor sales and player's preference for poker.
Cash Winfall was drawn Mondays and Thursdays. Six numbers 1 to 46 were chosen. The jackpot began at $500,000; it always was paid in lump sum. Lower-tier prizes were $4000, $150, or $5 for matching five, four, or three numbers respectively; two numbers won a free Cash Winfall bet. If the jackpot reached $2 million and was not won, the jackpot was "rolled down" with the secondary prizes increased.
The game came under criticism due to surges of ticket sales by large investors when the jackpot reached $2 million.
Cash Winfall ended on January 26, 2012; its free bets (for matching two numbers) can be redeemed for a $2 wager in Megabucks Doubler, over one or two drawings.
On September 6, 1996, Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, and Massachusetts began a jackpot game, then called The Big Game. The current name, Mega Millions, was adopted in 2002, with The Big Game name retired soon after. The jackpot starts at $12 million. The Megaplier option became available in Massachusetts in 2011.
Powerball began in 1992; Massachusetts added Powerball on January 31, 2010.
In 2009, the Connecticut Lottery introduced Lucky4Life, which was modified to Lucky for Life three years later when the game expanded to include Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.