New York operates a range of legalized state lottery games available to players ages 18 or older.
Players can purchase physical tickets and scratch-offs at retailers or get tickets online through a dedicated mobile app.
The NY Lottery app does not offer online lottery games. If you want to play casino games on your phone, your best bet is one of these sweepstakes apps:
COVID-19 and the New York Lottery
The NY Lottery remains active during the pandemic. There is a lot of interest in the lottery, especially when Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots swell. If you do win a big payday, it may take longer than usual to get paid though.
Prizes under $601 can be redeemed at any NY Lottery retailer. Bigger prizes need to be redeemed at a lottery claims center. The problem is these claims centers are currently by appointment only. If you are trying to redeem a prize in excess of $250,000, only these four claim centers are available as options:
- Buffalo: 165 Genesee Street
- Fishkill: 18 Westage Business Center Ste 6
- Schenectady: 1 Broadway Center
- Syracuse: 620 Erie Blvd W
You’ll want to make an appointment online through the NY Lottery website. Be advised that every office keeps different hours. Some, in fact, are only open one day a week. Depending on your location, it may be a month or even two months before appointments are available.
Another option available to winners is to send in the tickets to the NY Lottery via mail. Winners must fill out and include a claim form from the lottery along with their signed ticket and a copy of your government-issued ID.
NY lotteries laws and history
The New York State Lottery launched in 1967, the third US lottery after New Hampshire and Puerto Rico. The NY Lottery was always set up to aid education, and it’s raised billions for projects across the state.
The New York Lottery and Gaming Commission oversees the lottery.
Players must be 18 years or older to purchase New York Lottery tickets, although the Quick Draw game is open only to players aged 21 or older where alcohol is available.
Lottery jackpots more than $5,000 are subject to a state tax.The gaming commission is required to withhold taxes from any lottery wins.
The state tax is 8.82% on prizes, on top of the standard federal tax of 24%. New York City imposes an additional tax on prizes worth 3.876%.
After prizes, 100% of lottery revenue goes toward public education programs in the state.
More than $64 billion has been raised from the sale of lottery tickets since the late 1960s. New Yorkers can purchase lottery tickets at 17,000 retailers in the state.
Each outlet receives a commission from ticket sales. Retailers include 7-Eleven stores, pharmacies and tobacconists in New York City and across the state.
Land-based lotteries and jackpots
Games are divided into two rough categories: lotto games and draw games.
Lotto games are multi-jurisdictional and often feature tickets purchased across many states. Draw games are specific to New York state only.
Tickets purchased through retailers feature “quick pick” and “pick your own” options. With the quick pick option, a computer automatically chooses random numbers for the player.
Game draws are broadcast on TV throughout the state.
What to do if you win the New York Lottery
New York Lotto draws
Powerball players have a shot at winning a huge jackpot for just a $2 outlay. You select five numbers between one and 69, plus a Powerball between one and 26.
Six numbers are drawn at random. By matching three white numbers, you win $7. If you win two white numbers and the Powerball, you also win.
By matching all the numbers correctly (five numbers, plus the Powerball), you win a prize worth more than $100 million. After a jackpot win, the Powerball jackpot seeds at $40 million.
Powerball draws take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the same time as the New York Lotto. Wednesday draw prize pools can be sizeable, reaching more than $1 billion in 2016.
You can also opt for a “Powerplay” bet. For an extra $1, the Powerplay multiplies the prize up to 10 times.
Mega Millions was introduced in New York State in 2002. The Mega Millions draws take place on Tuesdays and Fridays. Jackpots in 2019 have regularly hit the $150 million to $220 million mark.
To play, select five main numbers from one to 70 plus a “Mega Ball” number from one to 25. If you match five main balls and the Mega Ball, you win the jackpot. As in Powerball, the jackpot seeds to $40 million following a Mega Millions win.
For an additional $1, you can purchase the “Megaplier” option. All non-jackpot wins can be multiplied from two to four times by the Megaplier factor.
New York Lotto
The New York Lotto draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday evening. Two games cost $1. There are 59 numbers to choose from, and you can select six. If you draw three matching numbers, you win $1.
Because of its relatively poor payouts, the New York Lotto has been losing out to bigger jackpot games like Powerball and Mega Millions.
Lotto jackpot winners can opt for a one-off payment plus annual payments or a lump-sum cash option.
New York Lottery draw games
Cash4Life started life in 2014 as a joint venture between New York and New Jersey. The new draw game replaced the earlier Sweet Million lottery that existed in New York alone.
There are 60 numbers to choose from for the Monday and Thursday Cash4Life draws. You pick five numbers in the main field, plus one “Cash Ball” number.
The jackpot is worth $1,000 a day for life, with a consolation prize of $1,000 per week for life. The winners have the option to opt for a one-off payment worth $7 million or $1 million, depending on the initial prize.
Cash4Life is available in nine US states including Florida, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
Numbers is a local lotto game drawn twice a day. Tickets cost 50 cents to $1. You select three numbers between zero and nine.
You win prizes according to how many numbers you match, and in what order.
Numbers involves a unique payout structure and prizes are awarded based on the exact order of the balls you draw.
The “Straight Play” carries odds of 1,000:1. If you match the winning numbers drawn in their exact order, you win the jackpot.
The “Box Plays” work slightly differently. To win the $80-$160 prizes (for entries of 50 cents-$1), you need to match the winning numbers in any order.
There’s an equivalent prize for matching the “3-Way Box.” Choose a three-digit number with two identical digits (e.g., 3-4-3), and if the numbers come out as 3-3-4, you win for all three combinations.
Similarly, the “6-Way Box” pays out a $40/$80 prize if you select a winning three-digit number with three unique digits (e.g., 4-5-6).
Win4 is similar to Numbers, but you choose four numbers instead of three. If you match the winning numbers in their exact order (Straight Play), the jackpot pays $5,000 for a $1 ticket. The draw is twice daily, at midday and in the evening.
Like Numbers, Win4 features a range of “Box Plays” payout if you choose identical numbers. You can purchase tickets for 50c or $1, with different prizes to match.
- 4-Way Box: Select a four-digit number that contains three identical digits. (Pays $600/$1,200 for a 50 cent/$1 play.)
- 6-Way Box: Select a four-digit number that includes two identical pairs. (Pays $400/$800 for a 50 cent/$1 play.)
- 12-Way Box: Select a four-digit number that contains four unique digits. (Pays $100/$200 for a 50 cent/$1 play.)
Straight/Box Plays pay out if you match the winning numbers drawn in their exact order.
The 4-Way Straight/Box pays $3,100 for an exact order match (Straight and Box), while a 6-Way Straight/Box pays $2,900. A winning 12-Way Straight/Box pays $2,700, and a 24-Way Straight/Box pays out $2,600 for your $1 winning ticket.
The “Booster Ball” promotion applies to both Win4 and Numbers games. On Booster Ball days, there is a unique drawing straight after the regular one.
A percentage bonus of 5, 10, or 20% is added to all winnings depending on the draw of a special ball.
Take 5 also costs $1 to play. You choose five numbers from 1-39, then five numbers are drawn. You earn prizes for matching two to five numbers.
If you match all five numbers, you win. The jackpot rolls over if no one selects five winning numbers. Fifty percent of sales go toward prize money, 20% of which goes to the jackpot winners.
There are also prizes for matching four, three and two numbers.
Pick 10 costs $1 to play, and there’s a chance to win $500,000 in the game’s jackpot.
To play Pick 10, choose 10 numbers from one to 80 and match all 10 from the 20 drawn to win the jackpot. You can also earn prizes by correctly choosing nine, eight, seven, six and zero numbers.
Pick 10 draws take place daily at 8:30 p.m.
Quick Draw works similarly to bingo or keno. You choose one to 10 “spots” per game. Quick Pick is also available, and tickets cost between $1 and $10 per game.
Quick Draw games take place every four minutes all day and through most of the night.
If you match all 10 numbers, you win $100,000. Matching nine numbers wins you a $5,000 prize. Match zero numbers for a prize of $5.
Online lotteries and games
Currently, the state doesn’t sell individual tickets for any NY lottery online.
You can, however, purchase subscriptions online for draw games like Mega Millions and Cash4Life. Some New York Lottery promotions are also available to mobile players.
You can check multiple draws via the New York Online Lottery app available on iOS and Android devices.
The NY Lottery produces a wide range of scratch-off games with prices as low as $1.
The $10,000,000 Colossal Cash game costs $30 a ticket and awards a top jackpot worth $10 million. Smaller prizes start at $50.
New York boasts a range of special statewide and local lottery events.
Collect ‘N Win runs across the Numbers and Win4 games.
You can win instant bonus cash, gift cards, concert tickets or coupons by collecting special symbols and filling a Play Card. A completed Play Card earns you entry into a monthly prize drawing.
On a local level, New York Lottery booths are staged at food and music festivals across the state. Booths sell scratch-offs to adults and a chance to win a spin on the prize wheel.
Players Club: The New York Lottery Players Club offers bonuses and drawings to regular ticket buyers.
You can download the Players Club app for iOS or Android. By scanning your losing scratch-off and lottery tickets via your smartphone, you can earn “Second Chance Drawings” to win a bonus payout.
Non-winning draw tickets from big games like Mega Millions and Powerball aren’t eligible.
Record NY state lottery winners
New York joined Powerball in 2010, and since then, state residents have won the jackpot six times.
Nothing comes close to the $201.9 million won in 2011 by the 1937 Flatbush Avenue Dodgers Group of Jericho syndicate.
However, in 2019, a group took down the biggest Mega Millions jackpot in New York State Lottery history. Twenty-three Long Island coworkers won $176 million after opting for a one-off, lump-sum payment.
A Manhattan man won $136 million in 2015 to record the New York Lottery Powerball’s biggest jackpot to date.
Land-based bingo halls in New York state
Bingo halls are legal in NY. Since 2017, they have only been available to players 18 and older; minors can no longer participate in bingo games. As with lotteries, the New York State Gaming Commission regulated bingo as well.
When the state barred minors in 2017, the prize payout limits were raised.
The maximum single payout from a bingo game in New York state is now $5,000, up from $1,000. Overall prizes “per occasion” have also risen from $3,000 to $15,000.
New York City boasts dozens of legalized and regulated bingo halls running real money games throughout the week. Operations are mostly small-scale and held in clubs and American Legion halls, but standalone clubs and bingo palaces can attract big crowds.
The game is played on 5×5 grids. You can win jackpots by hitting columns, rows and full houses. Many bingo halls can also offer raffles and “Bell Jar” prize draws. Entry can cost as little as 25 cents.
Computerized bingo terminals are available at many of the bigger halls in the state, and jackpots can go as high as $6,000.