Lotto America FAQs
Find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Lotto America right here on this page, covering topics such as how the game works, how you claim prizes and how much tax might be owed.
Lotto America drawings are held on Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 22:00 CT (23:00 ET, 21:00 MT). They take place in the studios of the Florida Lottery in Tallahassee, straight after the Powerball numbers are drawn.
The cut-off time varies depending on where you are buying your ticket, but in most cases it is around an hour before the drawing takes place. The following table shows the deadline for purchasing entries on draw days:
|State||Draw Time||Sales Cut-Off|
|Delaware||23:00 ET||21:45 ET|
|Idaho||21:00 MT||19:55 MT|
|Iowa||22:00 CT||20:59 CT|
|Kansas||22:00 CT||20:59 CT|
|Maine||23:00 ET||21:30 ET|
|Minnesota||22:00 CT||21:00 CT|
|Montana||21:00 MT||20:00 MT|
|New Mexico||21:00 MT||20:00 MT|
|North Dakota||22:00 CT||20:58 CT|
|Oklahoma||22:00 CT||20:59 CT|
|South Dakota||22:00 CT||21:00 CT|
|Tennessee||22:00 CT||21:00 CT|
|West Virginia||23:00 ET||21:59 ET|
You win Lotto America prizes by matching the numbers you selected to the winning numbers drawn. To win the jackpot, you must match all five main numbers and the Star Ball. However, there are nine prize tiers in total, starting from $2 for matching the Star Ball alone. See the Prizes page for more information.
The Star Ball is the sixth number in each drawing. It is drawn from a separate pool of ten numbers, so the same number can appear twice in one draw – as the Star Ball and one of the main numbers. You are guaranteed to win a prize if you match the Star Ball.
The All Star Bonus is a multiplier offered by all Lotto America states which increases the value of non-jackpot prizes by up to five times their original value. You must opt in to play the All Star Bonus when you buy a ticket. If you win a prize in tiers two to nine, it will be multiplied by the All Star Bonus number, which is randomly selected just before the main draw. Find out more on the How to Play page.
It costs $1 per line to play Lotto America, half the price of other multi-state games such as Powerball and Mega Millions. The All Star Bonus costs an additional $1 per line.
You have a 1 in 9.6 chance of winning a Lotto America prize and odds of 1 in 25,989,600 for winning the jackpot.
You can play and win Lotto America prizes by visiting any of the participating states, but you must return to that state to claim any awards you are due.
You do not have to be a resident of one of the states that play the game, or even an American citizen, to win prizes. You will, however, be liable for federal tax and a withholding from the state in which you played, if that state collects its own taxes. See the Rules page for more information.
Claim periods range from 90 days to a year, depending on the state in which you play. See the Claims page to find out how long you have to come forward with a winning ticket in your state.
You must have a valid winning ticket to be able to claim a Lotto America prize. A ticket is a bearer instrument and the person holding it will be regarded as the winner of any prize it might be due, so you are advised to sign the back of your entry to ensure that nobody else can claim it for themselves. A selling lottery is under no obligation to pay out a prize if your ticket has been damaged, but you may still be eligible if the validation number is still intact. You should contact your state lottery if your ticket is lost, stolen or damaged.
The age limit for playing Lotto America stands at 18 in all participating states except Iowa, where you must be at least 21 to take part.
Lotto America prizes count as income so must be declared on your income tax form, where you will be charged the appropriate rate.
As a rule, lotteries immediately withhold 24 percent for federal taxes on prizes above $5,000, with the balance dependent on your circumstances and due at the end of the tax year. You may even be due a rebate.
In addition, all states withhold state taxes on wins above a certain level, except South Dakota and Tennessee, which do not collect state income tax. The Tax Calculator page contains a full run down of state tax rates and allows you to work out how much you will take home in your state.
Fifty percent of the money raised from ticket sales goes towards the prize pool in every draw. The remaining funds are distributed by the individual state lotteries according to their own policies, and help to support local good causes as well as covering operational costs and retail commissions.
The Lotto America jackpot begins at $2 million and grows by at least $50,000 every time it rolls over. The increase in the prize level can happen at a faster rate if the volume of ticket sales is larger than usual.
The cash value of the jackpot represents the total jackpot fund on the day of the drawing, whereas the annuity value shows how much it would be worth after a 29-year investment. You can either take the lump sum immediately to spend or invest how you see fit, or opt to receive 30 payments over the 29 years (the first instalment is made straight away).
Both options are liable for federal and state taxes, as they are both counted as income. Although your tax bill for the cash sum will be paid in one go at the end of the tax year in which you win, you could also owe taxes in the future on income gained from interest on the sum.
If an annuity winner dies before receiving all of their payments, the prize transfers to their estate or to a beneficiary designated by them. The lottery will not keep the money and it will not go back to the state. Depending on the rules of the state in question, the payments will either continue every year until the annuity ends or the winner’s estate can request a lump sum. The table below details what method each participating state would use:
|State||Lump Sum or Continued Payments?|
|Minnesota||Payments (estate can request the lump sum)|
|New Mexico||Payments (estate can request the lump sum)|
|North Dakota||Lump sum|
|South Dakota||Payments (estate can request the lump sum)|
|West Virginia||Payments (estate can request the lump sum)|
In most US states, lotteries require you to go public with a big win. Of the Lotto America states, only Delaware, Kansas and North Dakota allow lottery winners to remain anonymous. However, in some other states, you may be able to claim through a blind trust, but you should seek expert advice on this before coming forward with your winning ticket.
The next drawing will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2019.
The next jackpot is worth $18,850,000.
The biggest Lotto America jackpot was $22 million. The Kujava family from Badger in Minnesota won on March 14th 2018, becoming the first winners since the game was launched.
Lottoamerica.com will never contact you via email or any other communication method to inform you of a lottery win. If you are contacted purporting to be from this website, then it is a scam. Take a look at our Scams page for more information on lottery scams.