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Numbers Games are principally a North American phenomenon, though they are also a significant feature of the Asian lottery market.
The current format is a natural extension of the illegal numbers rackets which flourished in the United States prior to the legalization of lotteries.
In all, numbers game are now played in 28 states and Puerto Rico. Each of the Canadian lottery organizations also offers the games, though with only moderate to low sales success.
Two other countries bear mention in terms of numbers games success. Singapore's 4-D game accounts for over 83% of sales there, and the very sizeable Malaysian market is predominantly numbers games.
The games come in three and four digit formats, in which players select a number from either 000-999 or 0000-9999, repectively, in an attempt to match numbers drawn by the lottery.
There are usually several wagering options. The level of complexity depends on the market. Not surprisingly markets with a tradition of numbers games, like those in the eastern United States, tend to offer the widest array of possibilties, while smaller, less sophisticated markets will offer as few as three options, usually involving straight wagers (exact order), boxed wagers (any order) or a combination of the two.
Most numbers games use a fixed payoff system. Typically, the lottery will pay approximately half the amount of the odds on any wager, eg., a $1 exact order wager at odds of 1:1,000 will pay $500. Some states use a parimutuel system, and most states switch to a parimutuel system if the number of winners exceeds a predetermined level.
In addition, most numbers games will limit the number of times a particular number can be sold, allowing it to "sell out" to limit the number of particular winners. Such policies recognize the publics tendency to play topical nembers.
SOURCE: The Whole World Lottery Guide.

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