Sweet Million was a New York Lottery game which ran from 2009 until 2014 and was billed as having the best odds ‘to win a million for a dollar’. Draws took place twice a week and there were four different prize divisions. The game came to an end after ticket sales dropped, and it was replaced by Cash 4 Life.
How Sweet Million Was Played
Sweet Million draws were held every Monday and Thursday evening at 9:30pm Eastern Time. Players were required to choose six numbers from 1 to 40, either by choosing their own or by asking their store clerk for a Quick Pick. It cost $1 per line, and up to 10 games could be played on a single playcard. The winning numbers were drawn by a mechanical ball machine and the process was overseen by independent auditors.
Prizes and Odds of Winning
All the prizes in Sweet Million were fixed, so it was easy to know how much money a winner would receive, regardless of how many other players won in the same division. Prizes started at $3 for matching three numbers and grew to $1 million for matching all six numbers. The jackpot did not roll over if there weren’t any winners.
The following table shows the different prize divisions that Sweet Million offered, along with the payouts and odds of winning for each:
|Numbers Matched||Prize||Odds of Winning|
|6||$1 million||1 in 3,838,380|
|5||$500||1 in 18,815|
|4||$40||1 in 456|
|3||$3||1 in 32|
Overall odds of winning: 1 in 30
Rules stipulated that if there were more than five winners of the top prize, each player would receive an equal share of $5 million, but this adjustment was never required as there were never that many jackpot winners in the same draw.
When did Sweet Million Start and Finish?
The first Sweet Million draw took place on Thursday September 17th 2009 and was the New York Lottery’s first new draw game since Mega Millions was introduced in 2002. The launch was accompanied by an advertising campaign based around the ‘sweetness’ of possibly winning $1 million for a dollar. The promotional material featured lots of cute animals, including one TV ad entitled ‘Sleepy Time’, which showed an assortment of puppies, piglets and kittens in their pyjamas, before finishing with the tagline ‘Sweet Million is sweeter than sweet. Which is sweet.’ Fans of the game were urged to watch each drawing surrounded by sweet animals, or share ‘sweetscape’ pictures.
The game was active for nearly five years, but ticket sales began to decline as multi-state games with large jackpots grew in popularity. New York Lottery financial statements show that revenue for Sweet Million declined by 26% between 2011 and 2014, while Powerball revenue increased by over 120% in the same period.
Sweet Million continued to be played twice a week until the final draw was held on Thursday June 12th 2014. Cash 4 Life was introduced as its replacement straight after.
Sweet Million Winners
The jackpot was always fixed at $1 million, so there was no single biggest winner. However, there were some notable Sweet Million winners during the time that the game was played:
- Luis Cruz from Catskill became Sweet Million’s first jackpot winner when he matched all six numbers in the game’s fourth draw on Monday September 28th 2009. An IT help desk manager, he said he did not play lotteries very often but had seen the commercial and heard the odds. Cruz bought his ticket during a ‘milk run’ to the local Cumberland Farms store at 203 Jefferson Ave (state Route 23B) and said the win would ‘lift a lot of pressure’.
- Boonville resident Patricia Kelley insisted that she had no plans to give up work after taking home the top prize on Monday November 16th 2009. In fact, she started her noon shift at the Big M supermarket just an hour and a half after her winner’s news conference. Kelley revealed that she wanted to renovate her house and go travelling, but would avoid any ‘earth-shattering changes’.
- William Ball, an automotive technician from Glens Falls, won $1 million on October 21st 2011 after buying a ticket from the Stewart’s shop on Quaker Road in Queensbury. He planned to use the money to finally buy a house after a lifetime of renting, while he also wanted to purchase an SUV for his wife. Remarkably, Ball also won $500 on a scratchcard just a day after he bought his million-dollar ticket.