Lotto 6/49 is one of two national lottery games in Canada. It was begun on June 12, 1982. Lotto 6/49 was the first nationwide Canadian lottery game to allow players to choose their own numbers. Previous national games, such as the Olympic Lottery, Lotto Canada and Superlotto used pre-printed numbers on tickets. Lotto 6/49 led to the gradual phase-out of that type of lottery game in Canada.
Winning numbers are drawn by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation every Wednesday and Saturday, executed with a Ryo-Catteau Tulipe ball machine.
As the name implies, six numbers are drawn from a set of 49. If a ticket matches all six numbers, the jackpot prize of at least $5,000,000 is won. A bonus number is also drawn, and if a player’s ticket matches five numbers and the bonus number, he or she wins the “second prize” which is usually between $100,000 and $500,000. If more than one player happens to win the top or second prize, it is split amongst them. Lesser prizes are also awarded if one matches at least three numbers, or two numbers plus the bonus number. If the top prize is not won, the jackpot prize increases for the next draw.
As many as ten separate “lines” (sets of numbers) can be printed on one individual ticket, but the maximum number allowed varies between jurisdictions. For example, in the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) area — Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut — no more than six lines are allowed.
The price of Lotto 6/49 tickets was raised in June 2004 from the original $1 per line to $2 per line in order to offer larger jackpots. The minimum jackpot amount was also raised from $2 million to $3 million.
Beginning with the September 18, 2013 draw, further changes were made to the game: ticket prices were raised to $3 per line, matching two numbers now awards a free ticket for the next draw, and the minimum jackpot was raised to $5 million. Additionally, a new “guaranteed” $1 million raffle prize is awarded during each drawing.
The Lotto 6/49 game is administered by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation, an alliance of the five regional/provincial lottery corporations that cover all of Canada. Each of these corporations operate two regional add-on games that, for an extra $1 each, can be added to a 6/49 ticket.
One of them is a “spiel” game (named “Tag”, “Encore” or “Extra” depending on the region), which adds a 6- or 7-digit number to the ticket with a top prize of $100,000 if all six digits are matched or $250,000 to $1,000,000 depending on the region for a seven-number match ($1,000,000 in Ontario; $500,000 in Quebec; $250,000 in the Western Canada region [Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the territories]).
The other is the “49” game (named “Atlantic 49”, “Quebec 49”, “Ontario 49”, “Western 6/49” or “BC 49” depending on the region), which works in analogous fashion to the Lotto 6/49 but with a fixed jackpot of $1,000,000 ($2,000,000 in BC 49, Western 6/49 and Quebec 49). In some regions, one line costs 50 cents; while in others, the “49” game is sold two lines at a time at a cost of $1.
Learn more at the Canadian Lotteries website: http://www.canadianlottery.net/