The California SuperLotto Plus is one of several games run by the California State Lottery, a charitable operator voted into existence by the state's residents in November 1984. The organisation introduced California SuperLotto Plus in 2000 to replace California Super Lotto, another famous game that had been running since 1986. The lottery’s draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 7:45pm local time, and are intended to raise supplemental funds for public education in California.
The rules of California SuperLotto Plus are similar to America’s national Mega Millions draw in that players select five main numbers alongside one Mega number. The key difference between these lotteries is that California SuperLotto Plus has a more restricted range of numbers in the main draw – punters select digits ranging from one to 47, while the Mega number must be between one and 27.
The California State Lottery guarantees that the SuperLotto Plus jackpot starts at $7 million. As in many draws, if no punter scoops the jackpot on a given week, this causes a rollover that builds the prize pot for the next week. There's no cap on the number of rollovers can occur, which means players can pocket truly some enormous prizes – the lottery has paid out a cool $193 million in the past.
Punters can only win the SuperLotto Plus jackpot if they match all five main numbers plus the Mega number. However, there are also eight other ways to win sums ranging from $1 to thousands of dollars. These non-jackpot prizes are awarded to gamblers who match the Mega number on its own, the Mega and one or more main numbers, or nail three or more main draw digits without getting the Mega right.
Players who enter California SuperLotto Plus also receive a code for the SuperLotto Plus 2nd Chance lottery. As the name suggests, this separate online draw gives gamblers an additional opportunity to win one of five $15,000 cash prizes.
Punters can purchase California SuperLotto Plus tickets any time before 7:45pm local time on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Gamblers have the option to select their own numbers or generate random digits with a computerised Quick Pick option. A third route, labelled Advance Play, enables punters to choose the same set of numbers for up to 20 future SuperLotto Plus draws.
Tickets can only be purchased from licensed SuperLotto Plus retailers and can't be bought online. At present, punters who aren't actually resident in the state can only take part in the draw if they use an online concierge to purchase tickets on their behalf.
SuperLotto Plus results are posted online on at CALottery.com shortly after each draw, but busy players can also view results via CALottery.com's 'buy and scan' app the 2nd Chance mobile app on Android or Apple iOS smartphones. Traditionalists may also check their winnings by scanning tickets at one of 22,000 licensed stores in the state.
Winnings of up to $599 can be claimed directly from a SuperLotto Plus retailer, but players need to fill in a claim form to get at prizes of $600 or more. Most retailers keep copies of these forms on their premises, but it's also possible to simply download the form and print it at home. Once one of the lottery's district branches or main office in Sacramento has received a valid claim form, punters can expect to wait six to eight weeks before receiving their money.
Players usually receive cash in 30 annual payments, but can also opt for a lump sum payout with significantly lower cash value – winners have 60 days to choose between these options. The California State Lottery offers a handbook to help lucky gamblers decide what to do following a jackpot victory, as many lottery commentators disagree over whether it's best to take the annuity or go for the lump sum and invest.
All punters should note that the California State Lottery requires prizes to be claimed within 180 days following a winning draw. Unclaimed sums are automatically forfeited and paid into the state's public education system.