Canada’s first nationwide lottery game introduced to Canadians that continues to be one of the top lotteries in Canada, Lotto 6/49 has awarded billions of prizes since its introduction in 1982. Lotto 6/49 starts off at $3,000,000 and gradually climbs until the jackpot is won.
About Lotto 6/49
Lotto 6/49 is one of two national lottery games in Canada. Launched 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, Loto Canada and Superloto 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 $3,000,000 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. Should more than one player 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 $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.
Lotto 6/49 Prize Information
The prize pool for LOTTO 6/49 is based on a pari-mutuel share. A pari-mutuel share is a calculation where the total monies allocated to a prize category are divided by the total number of winners in that category. Sometimes, customers select certain number combinations more often than other number combinations, and this may result in a greater number of winning tickets and a lower prize share. Some of the more popular combinations are based on sequence of numbers, vertical, horizontal or diagonal lines on selection slips, multiples of numbers, variations of historic dates or birth dates, etc. These combinations vary from draw to draw and change depending on customer play patterns.
LOTTO 6/49 prizes must be claimed within 12 months of the draw date.
Unclaimed prizes from national games, e.g., LOTTO MAX and LOTTO 6/49, are returned to players through future bonus games or promotions. These funds are held separately from Ontario-only games and are administered by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation.
LOTTO 6/49 winning tickets may be redeemed only in the province where they were purchased.
Number of matches Win Probability of winning on one play 6/6 Share of 80.5% of the Pool’s Fund 1 in 13,983,816 5/6 + Bonus Share of 5.75% of the Pool’s Fund 1 in 2,330,636 5/6 Share of 4.75% of the Pool’s Fund 1 in 55,492 4/6 Share of 9% of the Pool’s Fund 1 in 1,033 3/6 $10 prize 1 in 56.7 2/6 + Bonus $5 prize 1 in 81.2
Before July 2010, if there was no winning ticket for a jackpot of $30 million or higher, the following prize structure was applied to all subsequent draws until the jackpot was won. This did not apply to bonus jackpots.
Number of matches Win Probability of winning on one play 6/6 Share of 40% of the Pool’s Fund 1 in 13,983,816 5/6 + Bonus Share of 16% of the Pool’s Fund 1 in 2,330,636 5/6 Share of 15% of the Pool’s Fund 1 in 55,492 4/6 Share of 29% of the Pool’s Fund 1 in 1,033 3/6 $10 prize 1 in 56.7 2/6 + Bonus $5 prize 1 in 81.2
The probability of winning some prize in one play is 1 in 32.3.
From the game’s inception until the 2004 price change, the prize pool consisted of 45% of sales, and was distributed thusly:
Number of matches Win Probability of winning on one play 6/6 Share of 50% of the Pool’s Fund 1 in 13,983,816 5/6 + Bonus Share of 15% of the Pool’s Fund 1 in 2,330,636 5/6 Share of 12% of the Pool’s Fund 1 in 55,492 4/6 Share of 23% of the Pool’s Fund 1 in 1,033 3/6 $10 prize 1 in 56.7
The overall odds of winning were 1 in 54.
Lotto 6/49 Record Breaking Jackpots
The largest single jackpot record in Canadian lottery history was drawn on April 13, 2013 for a jackpot of $63.4 million. There were four winning tickets. Three of the tickets were purchased in British Columbia, and the fourth in Alberta.
The second largest jackpot, was drawn on October 26, 2005. The single winning ticket, worth $54.3 million, was purchased in Camrose, Alberta by a group of 17 oil and gas plant workers. The $54.3 million jackpot was originally estimated at $40 million, but because of rapid sales created by lottery fever across the country, the jackpot increased to $54,294,712. An estimated $99.4 million worth of tickets were sold.
The third largest jackpot was worth $50.3 million, was drawn on February 21, 2009. There were four winning tickets: three in Ontario and one in Quebec.
The largest Lotto 6/49 jackpot, when tickets were $1 per play, was $26,410,706 on September 2, 1995