GLOSSARY & TERMS
Agent: A retail outlet for lottery
Annuity: A prize paid out in
installments, typically over 20 or 25 years. (See also "cash
Box bet: A numbers game wager
where the player selects numbers without regard to the order
in which they are drawn. For example, if the numbers "1,2,3"
are drawn, the combinations "1,2,3", "1,3,2", "2,1,3", "2,3,1",
"3,1,2", and "3,2,1" all win under a box bet. (See "straight
Breakopen: An instant-win ticket
on which the player tears open a flap to see if the ticket is
a winner. Also called pulltabs. Breakopens are often sold by
charities and occasionally by state lotteries.
Cash lotto: A lotto game (see
"Lotto") awarded as a lump-sum cash payment. Cash lotto games
typically have a smaller top prize than large jackpot games,
more favorable odds of winning that top prize, and require players
to select fewer numbers out of a smaller field.
Cash option: A large jackpot
that the winner elects to receive as a lump sum cash payment
rather than an annuity. (See "annuity.")
Commission: The fee paid to retail
outlets for selling lottery tickets. Commissions in North America
typically range between 5 percent and 6 percent of the price
of the ticket.
Daily game: This can refer to
any game where winners are determined once a day, but usually
refers to a numbers game such as the "Daily 3" or "Daily 4"
games played in many states.
4-Digit game: A numbers game
played with four digits between 0 and 9. Numbers may be repeated.
Handle: The sum of all money
wagered at a video lottery terminal. See also "net machine income."
Instant game: A lottery ticket
that requires the player to remove a latex coating to determine
if the ticket is a winner. Also called "scratch-off game" or
Jackpot: The top prize for a
lotto game. Jackpots are usually parimutuel. If not won in the
next drawing, they "roll" to the next drawing and increase in
Keno: A lotto game in which a
set of numbers (typically 20) is selected from a large field
of numbers (typically 80). Players select a smaller set of numbers
(up to 10) and are awarded prizes based on how many of their
numbers match those in the drawn set. Players have discretion
over how many numbers to select, and can choose to play for
a small prize with good odds (by selecting a small set of numbers
such as three), a large prize with much greater odds (by selecting
a large set of numbers such as 10) or combinations in between.
In casinos, and with several lotteries, keno is played at frequent
intervals, with drawings as close together as every five minutes.
With other lotteries, keno is played as a daily or weekly game.
Lotto: A game where players select
a group of numbers from a large set and are awarded prizes based
on how many match a second set chosen by a random drawing. In
a typical lotto game, a player might be asked to select six
numbers from a set of 49. At a predetermined time six numbers
are randomly selected by the lottery. The player wins a major
prize if all six of their numbers match those chosen in the
random drawing. The player wins smaller prizes for matching
three, four, or five of the drawn numbers. Examples of lotto
games include Powerball and The Big Game, each played in a number
of U.S. jurisdictions, and Canada's Lotto 6/49. Some form of
lotto is played in every North American lottery jurisdiction.
Net machine income: The money
played at a video lottery terminal ("handle") minus the prizes
won at that terminal.
Numbers game: This term can be
used for any lottery game where winners are determined by a
random selection of numbers. However, it is often used more
specifically for a game where a player selects three or four
digits (0 to 9) and matches them with a similar set selected
at random by the lottery. The player can select several different
types of wagers with payoffs varying accordingly. For example,
players making a "straight" bet will win $500 on a $1 bet if
their three digits match the three digits selected by the lottery
in the same order. Some form of numbers game is played in 31
of the 38 U.S. lottery jurisdictions and four of the five Canadian
Off-line game: A game that does
not require the use of a computer terminal for purchase. Instant
and passive games are examples of off-line games.
Online game: A game where tickets
are purchased through a network of computer terminals located
at retail outlets. The terminals are linked to a central computer
that records the wagers. Examples of on-line games include lotto,
keno and numbers games.
Passive game: A lottery game
similar to a raffle where a player buys a ticket with preprinted
numbers. The lottery later randomly draws numbers that are compared
to the players' tickets to determine the outcomes.
Pulltab: See "breakopen."
Quick pick: A method for playing
numbers or online games where players choose to have a computer
randomly select their numbers rather than picking the numbers
Rollover: An event that occurs
when an online game jackpot is not won. The jackpot thus "rolls
over" to the next drawing, resulting in a higher jackpot for
Scratch-off game: See "instant game."
Spiel: An add-on feature to a
lotto game. For an additional fee an extra set of numbers (typically
four to six numbers) is printed on the bottom of a ticket. Players
win by matching one or more of these numbers to those selected
in a random drawing. Spiel games are found throughout Canada
but are not yet common in the United States.
Sports lottery: Games where outcomes are determined by the results
of sports events. Sports lotteries are the most popular lottery
games in much of the world (where they are frequently called
"toto" or "football pools") but have not achieved this level
of popularity in North America. They are offered throughout
Canada but in the United States are only sold in Delaware and
Straight bet: A form of betting
on a numbers game where the player attempts to match both the
numbers drawn and the order in which they are selected. For
example, if the numbers "1,2,3" are selected in a three-digit
game, a ticket bearing "1,2,3" will win but a ticket bearing
"2,1,3" will not. (See "box bet.")
Terminal: A computerized device
located at a lottery retailer that is used to sell online games
and to validate winning tickets of online and instant games.
Terminals are connected to a lottery's central computers by
3-digit game: A numbers game
in which three digits between 0 and 9 are selected. Numbers
may be repeated.
Toto: See "sports lottery."
Video Lottery Terminal (VLT): Electronic
games of chance played on a video screen. They often simulate
popular casino games such as blackjack, poker, or spinning-reel
slot machines. Unlike slot machines, video lottery terminals
do not dispense money. Rather, a winning player is provided
a ticket that is redeemed by the retailer for prizes.
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