Mark Goodman
Linda Kollmeyer
Bill Barber
Tony Russell
Illinois Syndication/WGN Superstation: 8/22/98 - 10/21/00
Jonathan Goodson Productions

Illinois' Luckiest was a revamp of Illinois Instant Riches with bigger payoffs and different formats. Most of the minigames from its predecessor were used on the show, with a few other games added.

Contestant SelectionsEdit

Contestant selection was different too. It was in two formats during the show's run, the revamp occurring on 1/29/00.


Six people (out of 18 in total) are chosen and a basket with six envelopes containing a survey answer were presented. Each player would take one envelope. A survey would be read and each player would then open their envelope revealing an answer. The players holding the top three survey answers would then be chosen.


The Pinball game from the first season's bonus round would be used to select contestants later in the run. For a brief time 18 contestants were still used. Later shows had 25 contestants; they were placed so that five are in each of the five slots and a ball is released. The players chosen would be in the slot the ball lands in. Players cannot pick the same step more than once.

The winners of the selections rounds would then proceed to the minigames.

The Games of Illinois' LuckiestEdit


The game underwent a rule change to accommodate the new format. Contestants bid on how long the bouncing cube can bounce around a circular table without knocking down one of 2 cylinders on the table. If the cube doesn't knock a cylinder down, the high bidder(s) win money - $2,000 in Round 1, $3,000 in Round 2, and $5,000 in Round 3.

If a cylinder is knocked down, everyone but the bidder wins the money. A $10,000 bonus is awarded to the player with the most money after Round 3, and is split for a tie.


A revamped version of "Double Dollars". To start, Goodman launches a ball up a machine similar to the Double Dollars game board from IIR and each of the names of the 3 contestants is in a bag (or the numbers 1, 2, and 3 are printed on balls and placed into a fish tank with water). One player is chosen by hostess Linda Kollmeyer at random. That person launches a ball up the contraption. If the ball lands in one of the 7 unoccupied slots, that person wins $2,000. Kollmeyer goes back in the bag and pulls out one of the 3 names. This time, if the ball lands in one of the 6 unoccupied slots, the player wins $4,000. Every successive time after a ball has been placed in an open slot is worth an additional $2,000. If a ball lands in an occupied slot, that person's turn is over and all money accumulated is cut in half (or if the player earned nothing, he/she won $500). Also, one can freeze at any time. The player with the most money after everyone is knocked out or has frozen wins a $10,000 bonus; again, this bonus is split for a tie.

The strike sound effect and graphic from "Double Dollars" carried over to "Freefall."

Force FieldEdit

Everyone starts with $3,000 and wagers their money hoping a pendulum will land on a WIN space. The game is played on a round board with a pendulum in the middle and 10 magnets arranged in a circle on the table. For round 1, 6 areas are marked with WIN and 4 are marked LOSE and contestants can wager up to half their money. If a WIN space is hit, the contestants win the amount of money wagered (and lose the amount if the LOSE space is hit).

For round 2, 4 areas are marked WIN [one is regular, one is WIN x 2 (double the wager), one WIN x 3, one WIN x 4] and there are 6 LOSE spaces. The contestants can wager as much as they would like in the 2nd and final round. Again, $10,000 is awarded to the player with the most money or the money is split in case of a tie.


Introduced on the 25th Anniversary Special, and officially added on 1/29/00. The players face a board of 18 numbered rods, split into three rows (1-4 on top, 5-10 in the middle, and 11-18 on the bottom), each holding up a colored ball. Rods 1-4 held up two reds and a green, and the rest held yellow balls. The captain of the team draws a number, and that number's rod gets removed from the playfield.

If a yellow ball splashes down into the water, the team wins $5,000. If no balls splash down, the team wins $500.

The only way the game ends (besides the captain saying "I'll stop") is if a red ball or a green ball splashes down. If the red ball splashes down, either by itself or with other colored balls (even the green one), the team loses half its winnings. If the green ball splashes down with no red ball, the team's total is bumped to $75,000 ($50,000 on the Special).


Introduced on 1/29/00. Same rules as IIR, except the money's split by the team. The team captain is assigned to pull the lever that releases the balls.

Double DollarsEdit

Introduced on 1/29/00. Same rules as IIR, except the money's split by the team. The team captain, instead of pulling a lever, presses a button on a buzzer that looks like the hand-held buzzers on Jeopardy!.

The button carried over to the "Double Dollars" spin-off game, "Freefall," described above.

The Money MachineEdit

Introduced on the 25th Anniversary Special. The team captain, placed in a money machine with money blown all over the place by jets (similar to the bonus games on the 2002 version of Beat the Clock & The Diamond Head Game) has 45 seconds to grab as much lottery money as possible. The lottery money has one $1,000 bill within a ton of $50 and $100 bills. The captain can grab money flying through the air and stuff it into his/her apron, but may not pick up money off the floor. After 45 seconds, the jets are turned off, and the auditors separate the money grabbed from the money left on the floor into two boxes appropriately labeled "Money Grabbed" and "Money Left on the Floor." The team then gets to guess where the $1,000 bill is. If correct, their winnings get bumped up to $50,000. If not, they only win the money grabbed. The money is split by the team members.

Bonus GamesEdit

This bonus round had two formats.

$100,000 PinballEdit

A gigantic CGI pinball table would appear on the screen and all the players would choose which slot they think the ball would land in. The first table had 3 slots, the second four and the third had five. Each round, wherever the ball landed, if anyone was in the slot where the ball landed, they would continue on where everyone else was eliminated. They then chose a different slot for the second and third times. The player(s) win a share of $100,000 if they can make it through all three passes by picking the correct slot the ball lands in.

The table was a computer graphic superimposed over a blue field, a common special effect for those times.

Pot of Gold (Format 2)Edit

Played similarly to the "Pot of Gold" from Illinois Instant Riches except that its setting was a train motif, the number of spaces was reduced to seven, and all the contestants of the evening were playing. The contestant who won the most money became the one laying down the traps. This time, two traps were laid out and anyone who fell into those traps were eliminated immediately. If anybody made it to "Big Money" without getting trapped, he/she/they would then pick one of ten oversized coins, each one of which hid an amount between $30,000-$200,000. If all the challengers are eliminated, then the trapper gets to try his/her luck at the cash. The trapper faced three letters (A, B & C); behind those letters were cards marked with the same awards as the winning spaces. The right card could give the trapper a shot at the "Big Money" coins.


Main - Edd Kalehoff for Score Productions
Others - Killer Tracks

Freefall/Double Dollars Gameplay - "Full Speed Ahead" by John Hobbs
Knockout Gameplay - "Unleashed" by Brad Smith
Win Fanfare - "Street Knowledge" by Larry Wolff


Like Illinois Instant Riches, this show was also was available nationally as well as in Illinois. The show was viewable over the air in portions of Indiana and Wisconsin, but only residents of Illinois were eligible to participate.


Illinois Instant Riches - Predecessor to this show from 1994 to 1998

The Illinois Lottery 25th Anniversary Special - One Time Special Spinoff from 1999

YouTube VideosEdit

A full episode of the show

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Same episode but in one part

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