Lottery FAQ answers questions about playing lotteries in the USA.
Are the rules different if I play the lottery online?
No, the rules are the same. When you play online, you play the same game so the rules and prizes available are the same as if you had played at a store.
How do I know that the lotteries on here are legitimate?
All lotteries that appear on our website are state operated lotteries and that makes them completely legitimate and safe. Lotteries are highly regulated with their accounts being audited by a number of independent organizations to ensure that the games are fair and that there is no foul play.
How do I know I have a winning lottery ticket?
Find the game and check how many of those numbers match the ones on your ticket. The more numbers that you match, the bigger your prize. Apart from some daily game play types, the draw order of numbers does not matter.
How do I claim my prize?
The process to claim a prize depends on the game and the jurisdiction where the ticket was obtained. Please check for details on how to claim prizes on the corresponding page for the state where the winning ticket was purchased.
How often do we update lottery numbers and information?
As soon as a lottery draw is held and the official numbers are published, we update them on our website.
What jurisdictions offer the possibility to buy lottery tickets online?
You can buy tickets online in the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and North Dakota offer the ability to play lottery games online. New York and Virginia offer online subscriptions for certain lottery games. Pennsylvania offers instant win and keno games online but does not yet offer draw games such as Powerball and Mega Millions. Most of these jurisdictions require you to be a resident, be located within the state borders, or both in order to be able to play online. Please visit our page dedicated to each state for more details.
Why should I play lottery games online?
If you play online you will never lose a ticket, forget to buy your numbers or miss out on claiming a prize again. You can play whenever you want and pre-purchase your numbers for many draws in advance.
Can I purchase lottery tickets by phone or mail?
No, the only way to purchase lottery tickets without leaving your home is online. However, some states offer the possibility to subscribe to particular games by mail. Visit the page for a particular state in order to get all of the details.
How old do I have to be to play the lottery?
Most jurisdictions require that you are at least 18 years old or older to be eligible to participate in the lottery. The exceptions are Nebraska where the minimum age to play is 19, and Arizona, Iowa, and Louisiana where participants need to be at least 21 years old to play.
If I already won, can I still participate in other drawings?
Yes, you can play as many times as you want regardless of the number of prizes that you have won previously.
How many states have a lottery?
There are currently 45 U.S. states with an official state lottery as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Can lottery draws be rigged?
No, high-tech computerized lottery draw machines or systems that use certified and tested Random Number Generators ensure that lottery draws are completely random and unpredictable.
What is a Quick Pick?
When playing with this option, the system randomly selects the numbers for your ticket instead of you picking them yourself. Most lotteries and games offered in the US usually have a Quick Pick option.
Can I play as part of a group or a syndicate?
Yes, you can. Playing as part of a group or syndicate is one of the most popular ways to play the lottery. The prize money gets split between all of the participants, but the chances of winning are greatly increased.
Can I purchase lottery tickets for multiple draws in advance?
Yes, you can. The number of advanced draws that you can participate in is dependent on the game and the state from where you play.
Is there a limit on how many tickets I can buy?
No, you can buy as many tickets as you want for a particular draw.
Can tickets be cancelled?
In most cases, once you purchase a ticket and it’s been printed out, it can’t be canceled. We suggest that you take all of the possible precautions to make sure that the numbers on the play slip are the ones you wanted to play before confirming the purchase.
Some states offer the possibility of canceling tickets after purchase, under certain circumstances, and for particular games. To get more details about a particular game or state, please visit our information page for the state in question.
Can certain numbers be sold out?
Lotteries that offer games where there is a fixed prize that can be won by multiple participants, such as daily games, sometimes limit the number of times a given combination can be purchased. For example, on September 11, the Pick 3 combination 911 often sells out in New York. Although rare, it does happen.
How long do I have to claim my prize?
Lottery winnings are subject to federal income taxes and may be subject to local taxes depending on the jurisdiction where the ticket was purchased.
Some states and jurisdictions are required to report lottery winnings of certain values to the corresponding tax collecting agencies. In those jurisdictions where local income tax applies, a percentage of certain prizes will be withheld for tax purposes, and all jurisdictions are required to do the same for federal taxes on certain lottery winnings.
How soon after the draw takes place can I claim the prize of a winning ticket?
You can claim your prize as soon as the draw is finished, and the results are verified and published. This process can take up to a few hours, depending on the game.
Is there a way to make sure that my ticket can only be claimed by me?
Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Keep the winning ticket safe and tell as few people as possible. If the ticket is signed, this will further indicate ownership and any prizes that are due because of it.
Can you anonymously receive your winnings?
States that allow you to remain anonymous when you win are Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, and South Carolina.
There are also a few more exceptions where winners can remain anonymous under certain conditions. In Arizona, winners of jackpots with a value of $100,000 or more may request that their names not be made public while the Georgia Lottery allows winners of $250,000 or more to remain anonymous.
In the state of Texas, winners of prizes of $1,000,000 or more can keep their identity private and, in Virginia, players who win prizes that exceed $10 million will automatically remain anonymous unless the winner requests otherwise.
Can more than one person share a jackpot prize?
Yes, if more than one person has the winning numbers, the jackpot is shared among them.
What happens if I lose a winning ticket or it gets damaged?
If you lose a winning ticket or it gets damaged beyond recognition, it becomes void and you can’t claim any prizes with it. Only a few state lotteries have a service that allows players with damaged/lost tickets to try and claim their prizes through a particular process, but it’s not guaranteed that you’ll be able to do so.
Missing out on prize money because of lost or damaged tickets is very unfortunate, so we recommend that you keep all of your tickets in a safe place. In addition, keep in mind that if you play online you don’t need to worry about damaged or lost tickets.
Are lottery prizes subject to taxation?
Lottery winnings are subject to federal income taxes and may be subject to state taxes depending on the state where the ticket was purchased.
Some state lotteries are required to report winnings of certain values to the corresponding tax collecting agencies. In those states where state income tax applies, a percentage of certain prizes will be withheld for tax purposes, and all states are required to do the same for federal taxes on certain lottery winnings.
Why is my prize different from the advertised jackpot?
The advertised jackpot is an estimate as the real amount can’t be confirmed until they stop selling tickets for that draw and all sales are accounted for. Also keep in mind that the advertised jackpot is the amount you would get if you choose the annuity option. The cash option is always less than the advertised annuity value.
Why is the cash prize always less than the annuity prize?
The annuity amount is the value of the cash amount invested in securities over 25 years. The cash option is the same prize, but without the value generated by the long-term investment. The annuity value is always the advertised amount.
Do I have to choose the cash or annuity option before buying the ticket?
No, it is only when you win the jackpot that you have to choose an option. We suggest that you always seek professional advice before making your decision.
Can you switch to the cash option once the annuity starts?
No, once you choose the annuity option and payments have started, it cannot be changed to the cash option.
What happens to the annuity when a jackpot winner dies, and the installments are not finished?
On the annuity agreement there is normally a beneficiary assigned to receive the rest of the prize money in case the original winner dies before it’s paid in full. If you win the jackpot, be sure to go over these details with a lawyer.
What happens to unclaimed prizes?
Unclaimed prizes are sent back to the state where the winning ticket was purchased. Each state has different guidelines on what to do with the money, but most states distribute the funds to social, educational, environmental, and/or health programs.
I’ve received an e-mail/text message informing me of a lottery win. Is this genuine?
This will probably not be genuine. Prize notifications are often the work of criminals, who are hoping to get your personal details, bank details, or money from you.
When you receive an e-mail/text message notifying you of a lottery win, ask yourself whether you participated in the lottery. If you play online, some states will send you a text message or email alert for small prizes but will not ask for a fee.
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MULTI-STATE LOTTERY GAMES