Playing The Lottery FAQ
Can I buy Lottery tickets with credit or debit cards?
Administrative regulations do not prohibit the use of credit cards to purchase Lottery products. Even though regulations allow credit cards to be used to purchase Lottery tickets, retailers can decide what form of payment they will accept and some do not accept credit cards to buy Lottery tickets. Regulations do prevent retailers from extending individual store credit for the purchase of Lottery tickets.
Can I purchase Lottery tickets over the phone or by mail?
Louisiana Lottery tickets must be sold from the physical licensed retail locations listed. By law, tickets cannot be sold by phone, fax, mail or other similar method. Selling Lottery tickets across state or national borders also violates federal law.
Can retailers choose which products to sell or how much to charge?
No. Retailers provided an optimal product mix for the retailer to maximize revenue based on the demographics of the stores’ customer base and traffic. Also, administrative law prevents retailers from selling tickets at a price other than what is established by the corporation, nor may retailers charge a surcharge to cash winning tickets.
How can I tell how much I’ve won?
Once you know what winning numbers were drawn or have finished scratching your scratch-off, there are several different ways to find out whether your ticket is a winner and if so, how much you have won.
The easiest way is to download the Louisiana Lottery Official Mobile App for FREE to your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet. The app allows you to scan the barcode on your draw-style game or scratch-off ticket to determine whether they are winners and the amount of the win.
The Lottery recommends that players familiarize themselves with all of the winning combinations of the particular game that they are playing. These can be found on all the game pages of this website. Also, “All Games Guide” brochures located in the Lottery’s play centers at Lottery retailers describe how each draw-style game is won.
Finally, retailers can scan your ticket to determine whether it is a winner. Watch the Customer Display Unit when having your ticket checked. It will tell you whether or not your ticket is a winner and if so, the winning amount. For tickets that win more than $600 (the maximum amount a retailer can cash), the display will direct you to a Lottery office to claim your prize. You can also ask the retailer to provide you with a Validation Receipt confirming the value of your ticket.
Even if you are unsure if your ticket is a winner, it is a good idea to sign it.
How long do you have to claim a prize?
Winning scratch-off tickets can be claimed up to 90 days following the closure of the game. A list of closed games and end-of-redemption dates can be found on this website. Winning draw-style game tickets can be claimed up to 180 days following the drawing in which the prize was won.
How old do you have to be to play?
According to state law, Lottery ticket purchasers must be at least 21 years of age. Individuals who sell tickets are required to obtain proof of age through a valid current drivers’ license, a state issued ID card, a passport, or military or federal ID containing both a photo and date of birth. Any person who knowingly sells to a minor can be fined between $100 and $500 for the first offense and $200 to $1,000 for each subsequent offense. Underage purchasers can also be fined not more than $100. The Lottery’s retailer regulations hold retailers responsible for their employees’ adherence to this law and retailer contracts can be suspended, revoked or terminated if retailers are found not to be compliant. Individuals who are at least 21 years of age can give Lottery tickets to a person under the minimum age as a gift, although minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian or a family member who is at least 21 years of age in order to claim a Lottery prize. Underage people can sell Lottery tickets if they meet the minimum employment age of 14 and are employed by a licensed Lottery retailer. The 21 minimum age requirement to purchase Lottery tickets changed from 18 years of age in 1998 to coincide with the age requirement for other forms of gaming in the state. Louisiana is one of only a few states that require Lottery ticket purchasers to be at least 21 years of age. Most states with lotteries have a minimum age requirement of 18.
I purchased four scratch-offs where the odds were 1 in 4. I didn’t win anything. Why is that?
Published game odds apply to the entire game overall. They do not mean, in this case, that every fourth ticket is a winner. Lottery games are games of chance, so winning scratch-off tickets are randomly distributed throughout the game. Just imagine what would happen to the integrity of Lottery games if it was known which tickets were winners prior to their sale.
When can I purchase tickets for the Lottery’s games?
Lottery tickets can be purchased 24 hours a day, seven days a week, subject to the retailer’s business hours of operation. On the night of a drawing, the system takes a draw break for the games that will be drawn that evening. During a game draw break, tickets for those games cannot be purchased. For Powerball and Mega Millions, the draw break lasts from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the date of the drawing. For all other draw-style games, such as Pick 3, Pick 4, Easy 5 and Lotto, the draw break starts at 9:30 and last only a few minutes. Again, draw breaks only occur on the night of the drawing. Any tickets purchased after the draw break are good for the next regularly scheduled drawing.
Who is restricted from playing the Lottery? Can retailers play?
Currently, the law does not restrict retailers from playing the Lottery. Under Louisiana Lottery law (LA RS 47:9025) those prohibited from playing the Louisiana Lottery include members of the board of directors, officers and employees, as well as any spouse, child, brother, sister, or parent residing in their same household; and those under the age of 21.
Why is it that sometimes I cannot purchase a particular number for Pick 3 or Pick 4?
On occasion, certain popular Pick 3 and Pick 4 numbers may “sell out” and cannot be purchased. Unlike other draw-style Lottery games, Pick 3 and Pick 4 pay out an established prize regardless of how many tickets are winners. In order to adequately fund these fixed prizes, the Lottery establishes a prize liability limit on these games and restricts sales of tickets for such drawings if the liability limit would be exceeded by the drawing of any particular numbers. Liability limits usually take effect when a large number of people have chosen a certain number, such as 9-1-1 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack or 2-0-0-0 when the millennium ended. There is no need for sales restrictions on Easy 5, Lotto, Mega Millions and Powerball numbers, since jackpots are pari-mutuel, meaning the jackpot is divided equally among all its winners.
Why is my license being swiped when I purchase tickets?
Swiping a player’s license to verify age is not a Lottery policy, but some retailers do require a driver’s license swipe in order to confirm that the customer meets the minimum age required to purchase a Lottery ticket.
The Lottery requires only that the retailer verify that the customer has met the minimum age to purchase a Lottery ticket, but we do NOT require retailers to use any particular technology to do so.
Section 9070 of the Lottery statute prohibits sales to minors and describes the forms of identification which may be used to establish a person’s age. It provides that the identification the person submits must on its face establish the age of the person and there must be no reason to doubt the authenticity or correctness of the identification.
This would seem to anticipate that retailers would look at the face of a license to establish age, but it does not prohibit swiping the bar code or magnetic stripe in order to be certain.
Frequently asked questions aboutplaying the lottery
Hours to buy lottery tickets
Ninety-five cents of every dollar you spend on Lottery games goes back to the community through contributions to public schools and colleges, prizes and retail compensation. See how Lottery funds are making a difference on the Who Benefits page.
Collect your prize of up to $599 at any participating Lottery retail location.
Collect your prize over $599 at any Lottery District Office or by mail. Bring your winning ticket and a completed Winner Claim Form to a District Office. Pick up the Winner Claim Form at any Lottery retail location or District Office, or download the form (PDF).
For 2nd Chance prizes, there’s a different Winner Claim Form, which you can download the 2nd Chance Claim form (PDF).
If you have a Claim Authorization Receipt from a retailer, submit that, too. We recommend sending the claim form ticket and Claim Authorization Receipt (if you have it) by certified mail, and save a copy of every item you submit.
If mailing, send Winner Claim Forms to California State Lottery, 730 North 10th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811. For your 2nd Chance prize, mail your 2nd Chance Winner Claim Form to California State Lottery, Attn: 2nd Chance Promotion, 700 North 10th Street MS: 2–2, Sacramento, CA 95811.
After your Winner Claim Form is processed at Lottery Headquarters in Sacramento, you’ll receive a check in the mail in about 6 to 8 weeks.
Get answers to your questions about the California State Lottery. Learn where to play, see results, collect your prize, replace damaged tickets and more.