Tiny houses such as this are up for grabs in the lottery.

As the phenomena of tiny houses gains popularity, they seem to be popping up everywhere, including on the newest Maine State Lottery’s scratch ticket game.

Now through Dec. 9, for $5 anyone can buy a chance at winning their very own custom-built tiny house prize valued at $87,143 including state and federal taxes as part of the lottery’s “Tiny Homes, Big Wins” game.

Not a bad return on a $5 home investment. If you win, that is.

[How some Mainers are financing tiny houses and off-grid dreams]

“The Maine Lottery is always looking for ways to make our games fun and exciting for players,” said Michael Boardman, director of the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations lottery division. “We were looking for something different that would be fun and relevant in today’s culture and we thought that a tiny home was a perfect fit.”

There is no unified building code or legal definition of a “tiny house,” but a residential structure under 500 square feet is generally accepted to be a tiny home, according to various online groups advocating the simplified lifestyle.

The Maine Uniform Building and Energy Board is currently in the final stages of amending its building code rules to take into account the unique structural aspects of a tiny home including sleeping lofts, stairs, ladders and emergency escapes.

[See how this guy built a tiny log cabin for $500]

Tiny homes can be placed on a permanent slab or foundation or mounted on trailers for a more nomadic lifestyle.

“Unlike what you might think, people of all ages seem to like the idea of owning a tiny home,” Boardman said. “Some people told us it would be great to have for traveling while others thought it would make a great home office [and] others told us they thought it would make a great camp somewhere so they could get away for the weekend.”

There are actually two chances to win, Boardman said — hitting the lucky scratch ticket or entering a non-winning ticket in a second chance drawing.

Either way, two winners will each receive a $60,000 certificate to get a custom tiny home built for them along with a $1,000 gift certificate to help them decorate it.

[‘One peaceful place’: Midcoast man builds tiny house by hand]

The odds of winning a tiny home in the second chance drawing are dependent upon the total number of entries in the second chance drawing, according to Boardman. In addition to the tiny home there is also a top cash prize of $100,000 as part of the game. Overall odds of winning any cash prize in the game, he said, are 1 in 3.88.

Winners do not have the option of taking the cash value of the tiny house as their prize, so anyone dreaming big on winning a tiny house should have a plan on where it’s going to be placed.

“As I said, we were looking for something fun that is current in today’s culture,” Boardman said. “The tiny home phenomenon has really taken off and in the past few years and we thought it would be something our players would be interested in.”

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Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.