New York Lottery


The history of the New York Lottery began on November 8, 1966, when New Yorkers voted to approve a constitutional amendment authorizing a government-run lottery in New York City. The purpose of the lottery was to provide funds for education.

The Lottery started operation in 1967. Its regulation and supervision are under the jurisdiction of the New York State Gaming Commission, based in Schenectady, New York. Since its creation, it has used the profits to finance schools and educational initiatives throughout the state, which has allowed it to distribute $75.07 billion to support education statewide, including $3.59 billion in the fiscal year 2020-2021.

The New York Lottery offers several games of different prizes, play styles, and odds. Games include Draw Games (Powerball, New York Lotto, Mega Millions, Cash4Life, Win4, Numbers, Take 5, Quick Draw, Money Dots and Pick 10) and more than 100 Scratch-Off Games with different tickets prizes and varying odds/jackpot prizes.

The best New York lottery games such as the Powerball and Mega Millions are draw games and tend to offer larger prizes with lower offs. Scratch-Off games are instant win-style games, that are played locally and may have a better chance of winning.

New York – NY Lottery Management and How the Money is Handled

As the lottery is a government body and the prizes are public funds, the New York Constitution requires that all net proceeds from games go towards the support of schools.

New York Lottery revenue is distributed to local school districts by the same statutory formula used to distribute other state aid to education. The formula takes into account both a school district’s size and its income level, larger, lower-income school districts receive proportionately larger shares of Lottery school funding.

The amount of funds disbursed by the State Education Department as Lottery Aid, under the state budget process, is based upon estimated Lottery earnings at the time of budget passage. In the event Lottery earnings exceed budget estimates, those additional funds become part of the next year’s Lottery aid distribution.

Expected Return for New York Lottery 

The return to player (RTP) percentage is a way of measuring the long-term statistical payback amount for a game. For example, 20 % of RTP means that the player will win back just $0.20 for every dollar wagered.

The expected return to players in some New York lottery games are as follows:

  • Cash4Life – 52.21% RTP 
  • Mega Millions and Powerball – less than 20% RTP
  • Money Dots – 60% RTP
  • New York Lotto – 10% RTP
  • Pick 10 – 31,28% RTP
  • Numbers – 50% RTP
  • Quick Draw – 60,13% RTP

Scratch-Off games have more than 100 different games available, and the return to player percentages vary by game. For lower-priced games, the RPT is less than 50%, and for the higher-priced games, it can be more than 60%.

How to Play Lottery Games in New York

In New York, the legal age for lottery games is 18, and players must have a valid ID to collect some prizes.

Tickets can be purchased through the Jackpocket Lottery App, Subscription Center (Lotto, Mega Millions, and Cash4Life), or at any of the 15,000 retailers.

Here is a summary of the games available in the New York Lottery:

  • New York Lotto: it is one of the most popular lottery games in the state. Players pick six numbers from 1 to 59, if they match the numbers they will win the jackpot, which starts at $2 million but grows to much higher figures thanks to rollovers. The price is $1 for two plays.
  • Mega Millions: to play, players must pick five numbers between 1 and 70 and one number 1 to 25 to be the Mega Ball. The price is $2 for one play and $3 for one Play with Megaplier
  • Powerball: to play, players must pick five numbers between 1 and 69 and one number between 1 and 25 to be the Power Ball. The price is $2 for one play and $3 for one play with powerplay.
  • Cash4Life: to play, players must pick five numbers between 1 and 60 and one number between 1 and 4 to be the Cash Bell. The price is $2 for one play.
  • Numbers: It is the easiest way to play. The player selects 3 numbers from 0 to 9 with the help of a computer or manually. It can play either 50¢ or $1.
  • Win4: to play, the player selects 4 numbers from 0 to 9 and chooses the play from multiple varieties of combinations. It can play either 50¢ or $1.
  • Take 5: to play, the player chooses 5 numbers from 1 to 39, to win the jackpot he must match all 5 numbers drawn. He has the option to win smaller prizes with 4, 3, and 2 numbers matched.
  • Quick Draw: It is a keno-style game that is drawn every four minutes. The price of the wagers is $1, $2, $3, $4, $5, or $10.
  • Money Dots: it is a quick game that is drawn every four minutes. The player will receive a ticket with eight numbers chosen by the lottery computer.
  • Pick 10: to play, the player selects 10 numbers from 1 to 80 and chooses the draw in which he/she wishes to participate. The price is $1 for one play.
  • Scratch-Off Games: There are more than 100 scratchers games. The price of the tickets is $1, $2, $3, $5, $10, $20 y $30. A general rule of thumb is that the higher the price of a ticket, the higher the value of the prize. The player can find a game using the filters available on the website to search for game types and prices.

How to Buy Lottery Ticket and Claim Prizes in New York – NY Lottery

Firstly, players must be 18 years or older to purchase a lottery ticket. Then, they have three options to buy New York Lottery tickets: through the Jackpocket Lottery App, Subscription Center, and official New York Lottery retailers.

Jackpockett Lottery App is the first officially licensed third-party lottery app in the United States that offers players a secure way to order official state lottery tickets. The most convenient and secure option for players to participate in the lottery is from the comfort of a smartphone.

Subscription Center is available for Mega Millions, Cash4Life, and Lotto games. Players can order, renew, and manage their subscriptions online. Winnings will be automatically sent to their prize account or paid to them by check.

The New York Lottery’s official retailers are a network of approximately 15,000 sales agents. Typical retailers selling lottery tickets include liquor stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, and restaurants.

How and where players claim their prize depends on how much they have won. Players can claim lottery prizes of any value in New York as long as they bought their ticket within the state. Prizes for multi-state lotteries such as Powerball and Mega Millions must be claimed in the state where the ticket was purchased.

For prizes up to $600, players can claim their winnings at any licensed retailer in New York. If the prize is worth $600 or less, it will be paid out immediately. Also, they claim prizes up to $600 directly from a Customer Service Center, without the need to visit a retailer first.

For prizes of more than $600, players will need to claim their prizes at a Customer Service Center, or by mail. They must present the signed winning ticket, a valid government-Issue Id, and a completed Winners Claim Form.

Winning tickets for all amounts may be mailed to the address New York Lottery, PO Box 7533 Schenectady, NY 12301-7533.

Prizes will be processed at the Customer Service Center unless it is a Mega Millions prize over $500,000 or a Powerball prize of $50,000 or more. Claims for those prizes will be forwarded to the NY Lottery’s Schenectady office to be processed.

Players have one year from the date of the winning draw to claim their prize. All scratch-off prizes must be claimed within one year from the announced end of the game.

How to Contact the New York – NY Lottery 

You may contact the New York Lottery through the New York Lottery Customer Service Center (by appointment only) listed below:

  1. Customer Service Center, 620 Erie Blvd West Suite 103, Syracuse NY 13204, (315) 448-4314, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm 
  2. Customer Service Center, 18 Westage Drive Hudson Valley Towne Center Suite 6, Fishkill NY 12524, (845) 897-5028, Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
  3. Customer Service Center, One Broadway Center Suite 700 PO Box 7500, Schenectady NY 12305, (518) 388-3428, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  4. Customer Service Center, 45 South Service Road, Plainview NY 11803, (516) 222-8260, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  5. Customer Service Center, 165 Genesee Street, Buffalo NY 14203, (716) 847-3960, Monday through Friday 8:40 am to 3:40 pm

Email: [email protected]

Website URL:

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Summary of the New York State Lottery

When players buy New York Lottery tickets, they are playing legally. All New York Lottery transactions are subject to New York State Gaming Commission rules and regulations. To play the New York Lottery players must be at least 18 years old.

New York Lottery has one of the largest ranges of games in the US, with enduring popularity, and provides revenue that goes to public education. 

Players have a huge variety of games to play, including national draw games, multi-state draw games, daily local games, and scratchers.  The games that offer the largest prizes are Mega Millions, Powerball, and New York Lotto. Because of the large number of participants, jackpot prizes regularly grow to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Federal, state, and local income taxes are withheld from prizes over $5,000 or from prizes over $600 when the winner does not provide a Social Security or tax identification number when claiming the prize.