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Perhaps you've seen the goofy commercials on local television where the ticket buyer must wear an oven mitt to avoid the unexplainable burns of the new game's "hotness." Well, all issues of fire safety aside, the Oklahoma Lottery has introduced "Hot Lotto," a new number-picking game similar to Powerball.

Like Powerball, the player selects six numbers, five "white ball" and one specially designated, in this case the "hot ball." Hot Lotto has far fewer participating states, though, and the prizes are smaller. Of course, I don't know many instant millionaires who lament winning only a few million. Then again, I don't know many instant millionaires either, so maybe I'm just guessing. A smaller number of players brings better odds. With 29 states in the fold, the odds of winning the top prize in Powerball are about 1 in 146 million. Hot lotto odds are about 1 in 11 million.

This new addition comes at a time when the Oklahoma Lottery is facing a great deal of criticism. Revenue has not been as expected thus far, and lottery officials want a greater portion of proceeds going to prizes than education, where administrators often spend the money based on projections rather than actual receipts.

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