An Introduction to Playing Lottery in USA

Everything is bigger in the United States, from portion sizes for food to the size of cars and houses. Lotteries are no exception. When one thinks of the biggest lotteries in the world the first two games that come to mind are Powerball and Mega Millions, the multi-state lotteries that offer jackpots that can grow as high as $1.586 billion. It’s no wonder that so many people all over the world love to bet on American lotteries for a chance to win enormous lotto prizes.
American lotteries can be divided into two categories. There are multi-jurisdictional games which are played in more than one state, and there are local draws offered by individual states. In our guide to American lotteries, we’ll give a quick review of the biggest games.

Multistate America Lotto Games

The biggest, and most popular lotteries in the United States are the two that are offered in the most states – Powerball and Mega Millions. Powerball tickets are available in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mega Millions tickets are available in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

lottery in usa

Powerball

Play Powerball by choosing 5 numbers between 1 and 69, and an additional Powerball number between 1 and 26. Match all six numbers and you win the jackpot. In addition, Powerball offers eight secondary prize divisions. Including the Power Play option in your entry can increase non-jackpot prizes by as much as 10 times.

Powerball holds the world record for having awarded the largest jackpot ever, a $1.538 billion prize shared by three lucky winners in January 2016. Powerball has awarded three additional jackpots worth more than $700 million each, but has yet to award another $1 billion prize.

Powerball drawings take place three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. For more information, visit the Powerball website.

Bet on Powerball draw results for your chance at winning Powerball prizes!

Mega Millions

Play Mega Millions by choosing 5 numbers between 1 and 70, and an additional Mega Ball number between 1 to 25. Match all six numbers and you win the jackpot. In addition, there are eight secondary prize divisions. Including the Megaplier option in your entry can increase non-jackpot prizes by as much as 5 times.

Mega Millions has, to date, awarded two jackpots worth more than $1 billion. On 23 October 2018, a single ticket purchased in South Carolina won a $1.537 billion prize, which set the record for largest lottery prize ever awarded to a single ticket. In January 2021, a four-member lottery club from Michigan won a $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot.

Mega Millions drawings take place weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays. For more information, visit the Mega Millions website.

Bet on Mega Millons draw results for your chance at winning Mega Millions prizes!


Lotto America

The original Lotto America game had its first draw in February 1988. Originally offered in seven jurisdictions, it later grew to 16 jurisdictions. The state lotteries that offered Lotto America were members of the Multi-State Lottery Association. As that organization grew, Lotto America was replaced in April 1992 by Powerball.

Lotto America relaunched in November 2017. In its current format, players choose five numbers from 1 through 52, and an additional Star Ball from a guess range of 1-10. In addition to the jackpot, there are eight secondary prize divisions.

Today, Lotto America is offered in 23 states. The first jackpot awarded by the relaunched Lotto America is also, to date, the largest prize the lottery has ever awarded. The Kujava family from Minnesota won $22.8 million in the Lotto America draw on March 14, 2018.

Lotto America draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday. More information can be found on the Lotto America website.

Cash4Life

Cash4Life is played in 10 states and draws take place every night of the week. The New Jersey Lottery serves as the flagship lottery for the game, which launched in New Jersey and New York in June 2014.

Players choose 5 numbers between 1 and 60, and an additional 'Cash Ball' between 1 and 4. The jackpot prize is worth the equivalent of $1,000-per-day-for-life, or $7,000,000 cash. The second prize is worth the equivalent of $1,000-per-week for life, or $1,000,000 cash. If there is more than one winning jackpot ticket sold, the Jackpot amount for each winning ticket is $7 million dollars divided by the number of winning tickets sold.

The New Jersey Lottery added an option, at an additional cost, called Doubler which doubles any non-for-life prize. New Jersey is the only Cash4Life state that offers such an option.

More information can be found on the New Jersey Lottery website.

Lucky for Life

Lucky for Life is played in 23 states and the District of Columbia. The game began in Connecticut as Lucky-4-Life in 2009, and drawings are performed by the Multi-State Lottery Association every night of the week.

Players choose 5 numbers between 1 and 48, and an additional "Lucky Ball" number between 1 and 18.

The top prize in Lucky for Life is $365,000 a year for life, paid out weekly. Second prize is $25,000 a year for life, paid yearly. There are 8 additional secondary prize categories.

More information can be found on the Lucky for Life website.

What Are the Jackpot Odds in Multi-State American Lotteries?

Powerball and Mega Millions offer the biggest jackpots, but the chances of winning them are not as good as the chances of winning jackpots in other multi-jurisdictional lotteries. Take a look at this table comparing the biggest American lotto games.

Lottery Range Jackpot Odds Draw Time

Powerball

5/69 + 1/26

1:292,201,338

Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 22:59 ET

Mega Millions

1/70 + 1/25

1:302,575,350

Tuesday and Friday at 23:00 ET

Lotto America

5/52

1:25,989,600

Wednesday and Saturday at 23:00 ET

Cash4Life

5/60 + 1/4

1:21,846,048

Sunday through Saturday at 21:00 ET

Lucky for Life

5/48 + 1/18

1:30,821,472

Mondays and Thursdays at 22:38 ET


How Do You Play Lottery in USA?

If you live in the United States, playing the lottery is simply a matter of going to a retailer and purchasing tickets, but luckily you can play lottery in USA by betting on the draw results of the biggest American lotto games. You can play multi-state lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions, but also different state lotteries across the country. Some of the state lotteries are actually quite big!

New York was the state with the largest lottery sales in 2020, generating approximately 9.74 billion U.S. dollars, according to data provided by Statista. New York was followed by Florida and Texas, with lottery sales amounting to 7.5 billion and 6.7 billion U.S. dollars, respectively. Fourth on the list was California, with 6.6 billion U.S. dollars in lottery sales. Here is a quick introduction to some of the biggest state lotteries across the United States.

New York Lotteries

The New York Lottery began operations in 1967 and according to its website, it "continues to be North America's largest and most profitable lottery." Revenue supports public education in New York State and is distributed to local school districts based on their size and income level.

New York's biggest lottery game is Lotto, drawn on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Players choose six numbers between 1-59 and the game also draws a bonus number. There are five prize categories in total. The largest jackpot awarded by New York Lotto was a $65 million prize in January 2007.

Other popular New York lottery games include Take 5, Win-4, Numbers, and Pick 10. For more information, visit the New York Lottery website.

Florida Lotteries

The Florida Lottery began operations in January 1988 and a considerable proportion of its ticket sales revenue goes to the Education Enhancement Trust Fund. The Lottery also supports the Bright Futures scholarship program.

Florida's flagship lottery is Florida Lotto, a game which has awarded jackpots as high as $106.5 million, shared by six lucky players in September 1990. Players choose six numbers from 1 to 53 and anyone who matches all six numbers wins the jackpot. The game offers an Xtra option, which multiplies non-jackpot prizes by 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x.

Florida Lotto also offers a Double Play option, which allows players the chance to win up to $250,000 in an additional drawing. With Lotto Double Play, the Xtra feature becomes an instant multiplier which multiples non-jackpot by as much as 10 times. Florida Lotto draws take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Other popular Florida lottery games include Jackpot Triple Play and Fantasy 5. For more information, visit the Florida Lottery website.

american lotteries

Texas Lotteries

The Texas Lottery launched with its first ticket sales in May 1992. Revenue from the lottery supports public education in Texas, as well as providing funds for veterans’ assistance and other state programs.

The Megaplier trademark in Mega Millions is owned by the Texas Lottery.

Lotto Texas was the first in-house drawing game offered in the state and players pick six numbers from 1-54 to participate. There are four prize categories in total. The game offers the Extra! option, which gives players a chance at increasing their non-jackpot prizes by up to $10,000!

The biggest Lotto Texas jackpot to date was the $145 million prize claimed by Alfredo Ornelas Barragan in El Paso on June 19th, 2004. Lotto Texas draws take place weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

Other popular Texas lottery games are Cash Five and Texas Two Step. For more information, visit the Texas Lottery website.

California Lotteries

California State Lottery tickets went on sale for the first time in October 1985. The Lottery's mission is to provide supplemental funding for California’s public schools and colleges.

California is unique in the United States in that Powerball and Mega Millions prizes are paid out on a pari-mutuel basis. As a result, it frequently awards second place prizes that are significantly lower, or higher, than those awarded in other states. California does not offer the Megaplier option in Mega Millions, or the Power Play option in Powerball.

California's flagship game is SuperLotto Plus. Players choose five numbers from 1 through 47, and one Mega Ball number from 1 through 27. The largest SuperLotto Plus jackpot, a $193 million prize, was split by three lucky winning players in February 2002.

Other popular California lottery games include Fantasy 5, Daily 3, and Daily 4. For more information, visit the California State Lottery website.

Jackpot Odds in the States’ Biggest America Lotto Games

Lottery Range Jackpot Odds Draw Time

New York Lotto

6/69

1 in 45,057,474

Wednesday and Saturday at 20:15 ET

Florida Lotto

6/53

1 in 22,957,480

Wednesday and Saturday at 23:15 ET

Lotto Texas

6/54

1 in 25,827,165

Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 22:12 CT

SuperLotto Plus

5/47 + 1/27

1 in 41,416,353

Wednesday and Saturday at 19:57 PT


Why Play American Lotteries?

America lotto games, both multi-jurisdictional games and local draws, are the biggest in the world, and they offer the biggest prizes. Traveling to the United States to play them is not always practical. You can play lottery in USA no matter where you are in the world, by betting on American lottery draw results now for a chance at winning incredible prizes. Good luck!