New York Lottery FAQ

You can find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about New York Lottery games on this page, including important information about how to play and how to claim prizes.

How to Play

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How old do I have to be to play the lottery?

You must be at least 18 years of age to enter New York lotteries, and you must be at least 21 years old to purchase Quick Draw tickets from retailers that sell alcohol.

How much does it cost to play?

The cost of playing the lottery in New York varies between games. In Numbers, Win 4 and Quick Draw, you can choose how much you want to wager.

Game Cost of Entry
NY Lotto $1 for two lines
Win 4 $0.50 - $1
Numbers $0.50 - $1
Powerball $2
Mega Millions $2
Quick Draw $1 - $10
Pick 10 $1
Take 5 $1
Cash4Life $2
Do I have a better chance of winning if I choose my own numbers over a Quick Pick?

No. Despite the misconception that Quick Picks reduce your chances of winning, the odds remain the same whether you go for your own numbers or a random Quick Pick line.

When do draws take place?

New York Lottery games are drawn on different days and at different times. The table below shows when each game takes place and the cut-off time for ticket sales for each one.

Game Draw Days Draw Times (EST) Ticket Cut-off Time (EST)
NY Lotto Wednesdays and Saturdays 11:21pm 11:00pm
Win 4 Twice Daily 12:20-12:30pm and 7:30-7:40pm 12:20pm and 7:30 pm
Numbers Twice Daily 12:20-12:30pm and 7:30-7:40pm 12:20pm and 7:30 pm
Powerball Wednesdays and Saturdays 10:59pm 10:00pm
Mega Millions Tuesdays and Fridays 11:00pm 10:45pm
Quick Draw Daily Every four minutes Immediately before each draw
Pick 10 Daily 8:30pm 7:30pm
Take 5 Daily 11:21pm 11:00pm
Cash4Life Mondays and Thursdays 9:00pm 8:45pm
Where Can I Watch the Draws?

New York Lottery drawings are broadcast on television throughout the state. The only exceptions are Take 5 and Lotto draws, which are aired exclusively on WABC.com.

Can I play from another state?

You do not have to be a resident of New York to play NY Lottery games, but tickets can only be purchased from licensed retailers in the state. If you buy a lottery ticket in New York but reside in another state, you would need to return to claim any prizes. Alternatively, you could mail your winning ticket (and a completed claim form for prizes of $601 or more) to the New York Lottery, PO Box 7533, Schenectady, NY 12301-7533.

What happens if I’ve damaged or lost my ticket?

If you have damaged your ticket, sign your name and write your social security number on the back of it and mail it to the New York Lottery to be verified. Include your contact details in case a representative needs to get in touch with you.

If you have lost a winning ticket, you may not be able to claim the prize. Contact a Customer Service Center as soon as possible to report the loss.

Where does the profit from lottery tickets go?

The New York Constitution states that all profits from the sale of lottery tickets must be put towards public education in New York. Since 1967, over $64 billion has been used to fund the work of the New York State Education Department.

Prize Information

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How do I claim a prize?

Prizes up to and including $600 can be claimed from any licensed lottery retailer in New York. You can claim prizes of $601 or more by taking your winning ticket and a completed claim form to one of the 16 Customer Service Centers located throughout the state.

Alternatively, you can claim by mail by sending your ticket to the New York Lottery at PO Box 7533, Schenectady, NY 12301-7533. You must also mail a completed claim form for prizes of $601 or more.

Can I claim Powerball, Mega Millions or Cash4Life prizes in any state?

No, you must claim your prize in the state in which the ticket was bought.

How long do I have to claim a prize?

All lottery prizes won in New York must be claimed within one year of the draw taking place. Prizes for scratch-off games must be claimed within one year of the announced end of game.

Will I be taxed on my lottery prize?

The New York Gaming Commission is required by law to withhold tax on any prizes over $5,000, or on prizes over $600 if you don’t provide a social security or tax identification number when you claim. The amount you are taxed depends on a number of factors, including how much you win and where you live.

What’s the difference between cash and annuity payouts?

If you win the Powerball, Mega Millions or NY Lotto jackpot or one of the top two Cash4Life prizes you have the choice to take your winnings as a cash lump sum or a series of annuity payments. If you choose the annuity payments you will receive the full advertised jackpot amount over a number of years. If you choose the lump sum option you will receive one payment amounting to the cash value of the jackpot at the time you claim. This will be less than the advertised jackpot, which takes into account any increases in payments over the course of the annuity period.

What happens to unclaimed prize money?

Any prize money left unclaimed after the one-year claim deadline is returned to the prize fund for subsequent draws or used to subsidize future jackpots or special events.

Can I stay anonymous if I win the jackpot?

No, you cannot remain anonymous if you win the jackpot in New York. Your name and city of residence will be released into the public domain, but other personal information such as your street address and telephone number will remain private.

I’ve been told I won a lottery prize. Is it real?

The New York Lottery will never contact you to notify you that you’ve won a prize. If you have received an email, text message, letter or phone call claiming that you’ve won a prize, it is most likely to be a scam. Always remember that you cannot win a prize in a lottery you did not enter, so if you receive a notification that you’ve won money in a lottery that you have never played, it is fraudulent.

Game Details

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What are the odds of winning the lottery?

As each game is played differently, the odds of winning vary. The table below shows the odds of winning the jackpot or top prize in each New York Lottery game, as well as the overall odds of winning a prize in each one.

Game Overall Odds of Winning Odds of Winning Jackpot/Top Prize
NY Lotto 1 in 46 1 in 45,057,474
Win 4 Varies by play type 1 in 10,000
Numbers Varies by play type 1 in 1,000
Powerball 1 in 25 1 in 292,201,338
Mega Millions 1 in 24 1 in 302,575,350
Quick Draw Varies by play type 1 in 8,911,711
Pick 10 1 in 17 1 in 8,911,711
Take 5 1 in 9 1 in 575,757
Cash4Life 1 in 8 1 in 21,846,048
How do I play Numbers and Win 4?

Numbers and Win 4 work slightly differently to standard draw games as you can choose from several different play types when you place your wager. For example, you can choose to play a Straight, where you must match the winning numbers in the exact order they are drawn, or you could play a Box, where you can match them in any order.

Each play type offers its own prizes and different odds of winning. You can find more information about the different play types and how they work on the Numbers and Win 4 pages.

What is Lucky Sum?

Lucky Sum is an additional game you can play with Win 4 and Numbers. It costs an extra $1 and gives you the chance to win a prize if the sum of your chosen numbers matches the sum of the winning numbers. For example, if the winning line 0356 is drawn, you will win a prize if you pick 1607 because both combinations add up to 14.

The amount you win depends on which sum you match. For example, in Win 4 the only combination of numbers that adds up to 36 is 9999, so the prize in this category is much higher than the prize for matching a sum of 18, for which there are 670 possible combinations.

How do the ‘for life’ prizes work in Cash4Life?

If you win the top prize in Cash4Life, you will receive the equivalent of $1,000 every day for the rest of your life. The second prize is $1,000 every week for life. You can choose to receive these prizes in one cash lump sum deposit or as annuity payments. More information can be found on the Cash4Life page.

What are pari-mutuel prizes?

The prizes in Take 5 are calculated on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning they are not fixed amounts but depend on how many players enter a particular draw and how many winners there are in each tier.

Fifty percent of the total ticket revenue for each Take 5 draw is allocated to the prize pool. A proportion of this money then goes into each of the top three prize tiers: 50% for the Match 3 tier, 30% for Match 4, and 20% for Match 5. The money is then split equally between all winners in each prize tier.

The Match 2 tier awards a fixed prize of a free Quick Pick ticket, which is redeemable from any licensed lottery retailer. As a result, this tier does not receive any of the money from the prize pool.

How often is Quick Draw played?

Quick Draw is played every four minutes every day and night, except for a short break between 3:25am EST and 4:00am EST.

What is the Quick Draw Extra Number?

The Extra Number is a random multiplier that’s drawn after the main numbers. If you opt in to Quick Draw Extra, you have the chance to multiply your winnings by up to 10 times their original value, but it will double your wager.

What is the Powerball Power Play?

The Power Play is an optional multiplier you can add to your Powerball ticket for an extra $1 per line. On the night of each Powerball draw, a 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, or 10x multiplier is drawn and if you opted in to Power Play, any non-jackpot prize you win will be multiplied by this number. The 10x multiplier is only active when the advertised jackpot is less than $150 million, and the Match 5 prize of $1 million can only be multiplied by a maximum of x2.

How does the Mega Millions Megaplier work?

The Mega Millions Megaplier is an optional multiplier which can be added to your ticket for an additional $1 per line. A 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x multiplier will be drawn alongside the winning Mega Millions numbers, and any non-jackpot prizes you win will be multiplied by this number if you chose to opt in.