State Lottery drawings are a common form of legalized gambling in the United States. Every state except Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah has a state lottery. Lotto drawings can be state-specific or share prize pools across multiple states.
Lottery tickets must be purchased within a participating state’s boundaries. This can be done at retail lottery locations, including vending machines in some jurisdictions. Some states also sell tickets online and through a mobile app. This includes states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Additionally, winning tickets must be redeemed in the same state where it was purchased. Although multiple states may participate in the same drawing, each handles its taxes and payments separately.
Lottery prize values may also vary based on the number of winners. Some prize pools are divided evenly amongst all winning tickets, while others may be reduced. US Casino Advantage encourages players to check the rules of specific games before purchasing tickets.
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Multi-state lottery drawings
With multiple states entering the same lottery drawing, players see jackpot prizes increase. Players in participating states are contributing to the jackpot value when purchasing tickets, regardless of location. A single drawing is held to determine the winner(s) of each prize pool. If there is no winning ticket(s), then the jackpot continues to grow until the next drawing. This continues until the jackpot is won, which is another reason for larger jackpot values.
All forty-five states with lotteries, Washington DC, and the US Virgin Islands participate in Mega Millions drawings. The first drawing was held on May 17, 2002. Originally, it was a collaboration between Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Virginia.
Players select five white numbers from 1 to 70 and one gold mega ball number from 1 to 25. The jackpot is won if a player(s) matches all six numbers. If there are multiple winning tickets, then the jackpot is split equally. If a player(s) matches the five white numbers but not the mega ball, then they win $1,000,000.
Most states also offer a multiplier feature, called a Megaplier. Depending on the multiplier ball drawn, it increases non-jackpot wins by 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x. It costs an extra $1 per ticket.
Another feature offered in some states is a jackpot-only option. A $3 ticket gets players two chances to win the jackpot value only.
Mega Millions tickets cost $2. Drawings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11pm ET at the WSB-TV studio in Atlanta, Georgia. There is no minimum jackpot for this game. However, the large number of participating states keeps the value of this game in the millions.
The same jurisdictions that participate in Mega Millions, also participate in Powerball drawings. Powerball started in 1992 with the first drawing held on April 22. Originally, there were 14 participating states along with the Washington DC lottery. The original states were Delaware, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
Players select five white numbers from 1 to 69 and one red Powerball number from 1 to 26. The jackpot is won if a player(s) matches all six numbers. If there are multiple winning tickets, then the jackpot is split equally. A player still wins $1,000,000 if they match the five white numbers but not the Powerball.
For an extra $1 per ticket, most states offer a multiplier feature, called a Power Play. Depending on the multiplier ball drawn, it increases non-jackpot wins by 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, or 10x. Only when the jackpot is $150 million or less, is the 10x value in play. Power Play is automatically added to tickets in Idaho and Montana.
Powerball tickets cost $2. Drawings are held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at 10:59pm ET in Tallahassee, Florida.
Powerball Double Play
Lotteries in fifteen states and Puerto Rico offer players a second chance Powerball drawing. This includes Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington.
For an additional $1, a player’s Powerball numbers qualify for a second chance drawing. The top prize is $10,000,000. Double Play Powerball drawings take place after regular Powerball drawings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Power Play add-ons do not qualify during Double Play drawings.
Lucky for Life
Lucky for Life is held across 22 states and Washington DC. Participating states are Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.
Players select five white numbers from 1 to 48 and one lucky number from 1 to 18. The top prize for matching all six numbers is $1,000 a day for life. Players that match all five white numbers win $25,000 per year for life.
Lucky for Life tickets are $2 each. Lottery drawing results can be found here. Drawings take place daily at 10:30pm ET.
Thirteen states participate in Lotto America. Tickets are available for purchase in Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
Players select five red numbers from 1 to 52, in addition to a Star Ball from 1 to 10. A player(s) still wins $20,000, if they match the five white numbers but not the Star Ball. An additional bonus ball can be purchased for $1. It increases non-jackpot prizes by 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x, depending on the value drawn.
Lotto America tickets cost $1. In Tallahassee, drawings are held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at 11pm ET.
Tickets for Cash4Life are sold in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Players select five numbers from 1 to 60 and one cash ball number from 1 to 4. For players that match all six numbers, the grand prize is $1,000 a day for life. The second prize is $1,000 a week for life. This is for players who match all numbers except for the cash ball. For $1 more per ticket, any non-jackpot prizes won are doubled.
Cash4Life tickets are $2 each. Drawings take place daily at 9pm ET/8pm CT.
The 2by2 lottery game is available in four states: Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
Players pick two red numbers from 1 and 26 and two white numbers from 1 and 26. The grand prize is $22,000. Prize values double on Tuesdays for players who purchase a ticket for seven consecutive draws. Up to ten grand prize winners can win the full value. If there are additional winners for a single drawing, the prizes are awarded on a pari-mutuel basis.
Tickets are $1 and drawings are held daily at 9:30pm CT/8:30pm MT.
State-specific lottery drawings
In addition to the larger multi-state lottery drawings, most states also offer their own drawings. These drawings regularly take form as a daily 3, 4, 5, or 6 number lottery drawing. Some states even have two-number drawings.
Most state lotteries also sell scratch-off tickets or other instant win games. Keno drawings are also available in some states. Sports betting is legal in a few states through the state lottery, including Kansas and Tennessee.
Last Updated on August 1, 2023 by Kristina Mehaffey