LITTLE ROCK — Tickets will go on sale at 12:01 a.m. Monday for the Natural State Jackpot, the state lottery’s first Arkansas-only jackpot game, lottery officials said.
The game will cost $1 to play and will offer a top prize that starts at $25,000 and increases by $5,000 each time a drawing fails to produce a jackpot winner. After a jackpot is claimed, the prize will reset to $25,000.
Players will pick five numbers between 1 and 39, or have a computer pick numbers for them randomly. Drawings will be held at 8 p.m. every night from Monday through Saturday. In addition to the jackpot, lower-tier prizes can be won by matching two to four numbers.
Unlike the multi-state Mega Millions and Powerball jackpot games, the Natural State Jackpot game is expected to be won mostly by Arkansans, which is the reason the game was created, lottery spokeswoman Julie Baldridge said Friday.
"I’m really excited about it," she said. "People have been calling us since the lottery opened to say, ‘Why don’t we have (an Arkansas-only) jackpot game?’"
Baldridge said she believes the game will appeal to players despite jackpots that are much smaller than the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots.
"The odds are 1 in 575,000. Compared to Powerball or Mega Millions or Decades of Dollars, that means that our odds are way, way better of winning," she said. "Now obviously you don’t win as much, but for me at least, and I think for most people in Arkansas, $25,000 is kind of a game changer."
Lottery officials have predicted that ticket sales will total about $130,000 a week. Baldridge said about a third of that should go to fund college scholarships, judging by the profit margin of other drawing games, which are more profitable for the lottery than scratch-off games.