Cha-ching!

That’s the sound Lotto Max players might hear not once but twice a week thanks to a recent lottery revamp.

Last Saturday, Lotto Max announced changes to the decade-old lottery, including a draw every Tuesday and a new $70-million jackpot maximum. Two new prize categories were also introduced.

“Lottery players have told us — and we see it from sales — that they’re interested in those big jackpots, and so this is a way to make them even bigger,” said Kevin van Egdom, spokesperson for the Western Canada Lottery Corporation.

Each week, ticket buyers pay $5 for three sets of numbers. Participants can customize their first set, while a computer generates the remaining two.

The range of numbers players have to pick from has been expanded.

For 10 years, ticket holders picked seven numbers between one and 49. Now, they have to pick numbers between one and 50.

“That does affect the overall odds,” van Egdom said. “For every $5 play, the odds will now be about one in 33 million for winning the jackpot. Previously, there was about one in 28 million.”

But it’s important to remember people have an extra jackpot to play for every week, which increases the number of chances to win, said Yaozhong Hu, a statistics professor at the University of Alberta.

Hu said he has never purchased a ticket because the likelihood of winning is so small.

But he doesn’t think that should stop others from having fun.

“It’s a good idea to play if you have time, just don’t get addicted to it,” Hu said. “You can enjoy it … five dollars isn’t a lot of money.”

According to van Egdom, many Canadians enjoy lotteries — and Albertans are no exception.

“About three-quarters of adults in Canada have played lotteries in the last year, so there’s a lot of people,” van Egdom said.

He said every Lotto Max cycle sees about five million tickets sold, but that figure increases as the jackpot’s value grows.

Donna Moore, left, and Danielle Letto belong to a group of about 15 co-workers who regularly buy Lotto Max tickets. (Anya Zoledziowski/CBC)

Donna Moore and Danielle Letto belong to a group of about 15 co-workers who have pooled their tickets every week for a decade.

Now, they’re trying to figure out how to respond to the lottery’s changes.

“We plan to sit down and talk about it as a group, but we haven’t had a meeting yet,” Moore said.

So far, the team hasn’t won more than $20. The money was put towards more Lotto Max tickets.

Despite the modest winnings, Letto said she plans to keep playing.

“I play so that I get the opportunity to dream,” Letto said. “You don’t play, you can’t dream and make plans for when you win the lotto down the road.”



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