California Lottery Basics

The California State Lottery Act was passed in 1983, and the game’s first tickets were sold on October 3, 1984. At least 37% of its revenue goes to public education, to supplement other funds that are provided by the state. The prizes make up about 50% of the takings so a total of 87% of funds is given back to the public, with the remaining 13% used for administration. The California Lottery is overseen by a Governor-appointed 5-member commission, as mandated by its Act. The games can be played in their full capacity online, making things very convenient.

California Lottery Games

Several different games are currently offered by the Lottery. Scratch Cards, which were the first tickets sold, are still an important part of the California Lottery and carry the brand name of Scratchers. These are instant-win games and there are several on the go at any time.

The bulk of the entertainments are Canadian casino games where players buy tickets, each with different number sequences on them, in advance. You can choose the numbers yourself, or have the online or offline machine that you’re buying from do it with the Quick Pick option. Today many of these draws are done using Random Number Generation, including the Daily 3, Daily 4, Daily Derby, Fantasy 5 and Hot Spot games. The first 2 games require players to pick 3 or 4 numbers from 0 to 9, and 2 draws are held each day. The Daily Derby is also held every day, and simulates a horse racing game so that the winning numbers are where 3 horses placed and the racing times they made. In Fantasy 5 players choose up to 5 sets of 5 numbers from 1 to 39, which can be played in up to 12 drawings. Hot Spot is pretty unique in the California Lottery offering, and is based on Keno games. Players choose to play up to 10 number Spots, choosing from digits from 1 to 80, for up to 100 consecutive draws. There’s also 1 number that is drawn from 20 as the Bull’s Eye Number, and players can choose to bet on that as well. Each day draws are held every 4 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., which keeps things very exciting for players and was part of the inspiration behind the Hot Spot name.

There are some Draw Games that still involve balls being physically drawn from barrels to create winning combinations, including Mega Millions, Powerball and, at specific draw times, Super Lotto Plus as well. The first 2 are multi-jurisdictional games, and California is the only state that divides all 9 Mega Millions prize levels according to how many winning tickets there are rather than with set values. This often means that the Jackpots paid out are much higher than what is advertised. Powerball, which was introduced in 2013, and SuperLotto Plus, which is exclusive to California, are both structured similarly to Mega Millions. SuperLotto Plus features the additional option of having your prize money annuitized, if you’d prefer it. Players can choose between getting all their winnings in 1 lump sum, or in several annual interest-accruing amounts.

Something for Everyone

The wide range of entertainments offered by the California Lottery means there is always something to play, and that the preferences of all visitors can be accommodated. Players should check out the odds and maximum jackpots of the various games, and decide how they’d prefer to spend their Lottery budget.