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Draw lottery games overview

What are draw lotteries

Draw games are a traditional lottery game type involving a draw that determines the winning tickets. Favorite draw games include the multi-state Mega Millions and the Powerball lotteries. Traditionally, draw games could only be played at convenience stores and gas stations. However, certain states now allow people to play them online.

Draw games offer significant prizes; for example, the minimum jackpot for Mega Millions is $40 million.

Rules of draw games

The rules are very similar across all Draw varieties. Players are usually required to choose five or six numbers from a range (for example, 1-70), plus an additional number from a different range. The main jackpot is split between players whose ticket numbers match the ones determined in a public draw.

While some rules may differ between draw game variations, other ones remain the same across the board. For example, it is always the player’s responsibility to keep their ticket safe, be aware of the game the ticket is associated with as well as the draw date, and remember to check if they’ve won.

Any winning ticket must usually be redeemed in the first 180 days following the draw date.

For land-based purchases, your ticket is the only valid method of proving your number selection. Because draw tickets are a bearer instrument, players are advised to sign their tickets upon purchase. Online players do not face this problem.

Currently, draw game tickets can only be bought and redeemed by legal adults.

How to play Draw games online?

You can buy draw tickets on at any legal online lottery website, including:

The New Hampshire Online Lottery offers long-term draw lottery subscription purchases only.

Then, navigate to the relevant lottery’s website and browse their “draw” game selection. Games that are available for online play feature a “buy” button that lets you choose your numbers and purchase tickets. Alternatively, you can allow the website software to choose the numbers randomly. You can then watch the official drawing directly from the website.

Some draw lotteries cannot be played online. When that’s the case, the website should feature a list of approved land-based retailers.

Claiming winnings

Online players will have their winnings sent to them through their chosen payment method. Available payment options include credit cards, bank transfers, and checks. To claim larger winnings, online players must mail in a payment request form or visit the lottery’s headquarters; this is usually required for wins larger than $50,000.

For land-based purchases, prizes are usually paid out as cash, a money order, or a check. Some states require players to submit a claim form for prizes exceeding a certain amount. These forms can be found at lottery retailers as well as the lottery’s area office.

For example, in Pennsylvania, you must fill out a claim form to redeem winnings of over $600. You can mail your completed form, along with the signed ticket, to the address found on the form.

Winnings exceeding $600 may be subject to taxation depending on the state.

Probabilities for draw games

Probabilities vary between draw games. As an example, here is a probability breakdown for multi-state draw games like Mega Millions:

MatchPrizeProbability (one in)
5 + 1Jackpot302,575,350
5$1 million12,607,306
4 + 1$10,000931,001
4$50038,792
3 + 1$20014,547
3$10606
2 + 1$10693

How much can you win playing draw games?

Multi-state draw games offer significant jackpots. In 2016, the largest jackpot in history was played in the US Powerball – $1.586 billion.

In-state draw game jackpots are generally smaller and rarely exceed a few hundred thousand dollars.

The vast majority of players can expect to win between $10-$20 from any given ticket.