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How do you tell if a PA Lottery ticket is a winner?

Winning lottery tickets in Pennsylvania can be identified in a few key ways. Here are some quick answers to common questions about determining if you have a winning PA lottery ticket:

Scratch-Off Tickets

For scratch-off instant game tickets, you need to scratch off the play area on the ticket to reveal the symbols or numbers underneath. Generally, there are a few ways to win on a scratch-off ticket:

  • Match 3 like symbols in the same game.
  • Reveal a “symbol” that automatically wins a prize shown.
  • Match numbers in the right order to win a prize.
  • Reveal a “multiplier” symbol to multiply non-jackpot prizes.

Specifically, to identify if you have a winning scratch-off ticket in PA:

  1. Scratch off the play area of your ticket completely using a coin or the edge of a gift card. Make sure you fully uncover the symbols, numbers or prize amounts underneath the latex coating.
  2. Check the uncovered play area(s) to see if you matched the winning combinations of symbols or numbers printed on the front or back of the scratch-off ticket.
  3. Match the winning symbol combinations on your ticket to the prize legend printed on the ticket to identify what you have won.
  4. Look for a “multiplier” symbol which multiplies any non-jackpot prizes you win.

Draw Games

For PA lottery’s draw games like Powerball, Mega Millions, Cash 5 and Match 6, you need to compare the numbers on your ticket to the winning number combinations drawn to see if you have a winner. Specifically:

  1. Check the numbers printed on your ticket to the winning numbers published after the drawing. Winning numbers are typically displayed at PA lottery retailers, published on the PA lottery website and official mobile app, and announced on local TV news stations.
  2. See if your numbers match the winning numbers, in the right order, for the specific draw game and date printed on your ticket.
  3. Match the winning numbers on your ticket to the prize chart on the website to determine your prize amount.

Here are some quick tips for validating winning draw game tickets:

  • Start by matching the Powerball number or Mega Ball number on your ticket to the winning number published.
  • Then, match the remaining 5 main numbers on your ticket to the 5 winning main numbers.
  • The numbers must match in the exact order drawn to win a prize.
  • If you match the Powerball or Mega Ball plus some main numbers, check the prize chart for amount.
  • For PA’s Cash 5 and Match 6 games, match 2-5 numbers or 3-6 numbers in exact order to win.

Online Games

For PA iLottery online instant games and drawings, winners are identified a couple ways:

  • Instant Games – Winners are displayed automatically onscreen after purchase and revealed with touch or click.
  • Drawings – Winning numbers are displayed onscreen for applicablepurchases and also published on PA iLottery website/app aftereach drawing.

Follow these steps to confirm winners for PA online lottery games:

  1. For instant games, winners will be revealed instantly with touch or click after purchase.
  2. For drawings, return to your account and match numbers on your purchased entries to winning numbers displayed onscreen and published on iLottery after each drawing.
  3. Match all numbers in exact order, plus Powerball or Mega Ball if applicable, to win prize.
  4. Winnings are automatically credited to your online account.

Second Chance Drawings

For PA lottery’s second chance drawings, players enter eligible losing tickets via the Lottery’s website or official app. Winning numbers for each second chance drawing are selected randomly and published online after the drawing:

  • Log in to your PA Lottery account where you entered losing tickets for a second chance drawing.
  • Find the applicable second chance game and click to see if your entries have a matching number to those drawn.
  • Match all numbers in exact order, plus Powerball if applicable, to win the second chance prize.

Winners will be notified directly by the PA Lottery if they win a second chance drawing prize.

Expired Tickets

Please note PA lottery game tickets expire one year from the game’s official end date. Here are the rules around expired tickets:

  • Scratch-Offs: Expire 1 year from the game’s official end date, which is publicly posted.
  • Draw Games: Expire 1 year from the draw date printed on the ticket.
  • Online Games: Expire 1 year after the purchase date.

You should always check the remaining validity on lottery tickets before purchasing. Expired tickets can no longer be redeemed for prizes.

Claiming Prizes

Once you have identified that you have a winning PA lottery ticket, here is how to claim your prize:

  • Prizes Up to $2,500
    • Can be redeemed at any authorized PA Lottery retailer.
    • Retailers validate the ticket and pay prize amount.
  • Prizes Up to $25,000
    • Can be claimed at a PA Lottery area office.
    • Call ahead to confirm claim procedures and required documentation.
  • Large Prizes Over $25,000
    • Must be claimed at PA Lottery headquarters in Harrisburg.
    • Call to make an appointment to claim your prize.
    • Certain tax forms must be completed for large prizes.

Remember, you have 1 year from a game’s end date/draw date to claim any PA lottery prize. Unclaimed prizes are forfeited after 1 year. Sign the back of your ticket and store in a safe place until claiming.


Here is a quick summary of how to tell if you have a winning PA lottery ticket:

  • Scratch-Offs: Scratch off the latex coating completely and match symbols/numbers to the legends.
  • Draw Games: Match numbers on your ticket to winning numbers in exact order.
  • Online Games: Winners automatically revealed for instant games and posted for drawings.
  • Second Chance: Match numbers to those randomly drawn.
  • Check expiration date to ensure ticket can still be claimed.
  • Follow prize claim procedures for your prize amount.

Knowing the different ways winners are identified and claimed for PA lottery games can help you verify any winning tickets and obtain your prizes properly. With some basic steps, you can confirm you have a jackpot or prize winning ticket!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I tell if I won on a scratch-off ticket?

To identify winners on PA scratch-off tickets, completely scratch off the latex coating over the play area on the ticket using a coin edge. Match the symbols or numbers revealed to the winning combinations printed on the front or back of the scratch-off ticket. Prizes can be won by matching 3 like symbols, getting a “win” symbol, matching number combinations and more.

What should I do if my scratch-off ticket shows a winning combination?

If your scratch-off ticket reveals a winning match after scratching it off, verify the prize amount by matching the winning combination to the prize legend printed on the back or front of the ticket. Sign the back of the ticket for security. Tickets up to $2,500 can be cashed at any PA Lottery retailer. Larger prizes must be claimed at Lottery headquarters or a district office.

How do I know if my Powerball ticket is a winner?

To identify if your Powerball ticket is a winner, start by matching the Powerball number printed on your ticket to the winning Powerball number from the drawing. Next, match the remaining 5 main numbers on your ticket to the winning main numbers from the drawing in the exact order drawn. If the Powerball number and main numbers match, check the prize chart on the PA Lottery website for your prize amount.

What is the quickest way to check PA draw game tickets?

The fastest way to check PA lottery draw game tickets is using the ticket checker on the PA Lottery website or mobile app. Enter the ticket barcode to instantly see if it’s a winner. You can also compare numbers on your ticket to winning numbers published in newspapers, online, at retailers and on TV newscasts after each drawing.

How do I claim a $10,000 PA Lottery prize?

Prizes from $2,501 up to $25,000 can be claimed at any Pennsylvania Lottery district office. To claim, sign the back of your winning ticket and take it to your nearest Lottery office. Call ahead before going to confirm required documentation and claim procedures. You’ll need to show a valid photo ID and Social Security card.

What happens when a PA Lottery prize expires?

PA lottery game tickets expire 1 year from a game’s official end date or drawing date printed on the ticket. Expired, unclaimed tickets cannot be redeemed for prizes. Make sure to check the remaining validity period before purchasing tickets. Scratch-Offs expire 1 year after the publicized end date, while draw games expire 1 year from the drawing date printed on the ticket.

Winning PA Lottery Odds

Wondering what are your chances of winning the lottery in Pennsylvania? Here is a table summarizing the odds of winning different prize amounts for the state’s biggest lottery games:

Game Odds of Winning Jackpot Overall Odds of Any Prize
Powerball 1 in 292,201,338 1 in 24.87
Mega Millions 1 in 302,575,350 1 in 24
$1 Million Spectacular 1 in 1,000,000 1 in 2.88
Cash 5 N/A 1 in 9.62

As you can see, hitting the jackpot is rare but the overall odds of winning any prize are much better. Scratch-off games also have varying odds, typically ranging from 1 in 3 to 1 in 6 overall. Check odds before playing and know your chances of winning!

Unclaimed PA Lottery Prizes

Over the years, millions of dollars in PA lottery prizes have gone unclaimed as winning tickets expired before being redeemed. Here is a table showing the total value of unclaimed prizes for each fiscal year:

Fiscal Year Unclaimed Prizes
2021-2022 $291 million
2020-2021 $300 million
2019-2020 $285 million
2018-2019 $260 million

That adds up to over $1 billion in unredeemed PA lottery prizes in just the last 4 fiscal years! So be sure to thoroughly check any tickets you have and claim any prizes before they expire.

Biggest PA Lottery Prizes

Here is a look at some of the largest prizes ever awarded by the Pennsylvania Lottery since it began in 1971:

  • $110.2 million Powerball jackpot – November 5, 2022
  • $153.3 million Powerball jackpot – June 10, 2022
  • $316.3 million Powerball jackpot – March 26, 2018
  • $290.7 million Mega Millions jackpot – July 25, 2022
  • $187.0 million Powerball jackpot – May 8, 2004
  • $61.6 million Classic Millions jackpot – December 14, 2002

Jackpots like that would be life-changing! The PA Lottery has awarded over $57 billion in prizes to date. It just takes one lucky ticket to win big.

Checking PA Lottery Tickets Safely

When checking PA Lottery tickets for prizes, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Sign the ticket – Sign your name on the back of the ticket for security as soon as possible after purchase.
  • Check carefully – Take your time validating tickets to ensure accuracy in reading winning numbers.
  • Avoid sharing publicly – Only advertise winnings after you have claimed the ticket to avoid theft.
  • Make copies – Make photocopies of both sides of valuable tickets for your records in case the ticket is lost or damaged.
  • Claim quickly – Redeem winning tickets promptly to avoid loss or expiration.
  • Verify legitimacy – Make sure tickets are official PA Lottery tickets purchased from a licensed retailer.

Following these simple precautions can prevent issues and help ensure you properly receive any lottery prizes you win.

Tips for Winning the PA Lottery

While luck ultimately determines the winning PA Lottery numbers, there are some tips players can follow to potentially increase their odds:

  • Stick to a budget – Only spend what you can afford to help manage losses.
  • Join a pool – Buying tickets with a group improves odds and splits costs.
  • Try Quick Pick – Using randomly generated numbers provides variety.
  • Scan for winners – Check remaining prizes for scratch-off games before buying.
  • Avoid patterns – Pick a spread of numbers not birthdays or dates.
  • Review the odds – Check the probability of winning before selecting games.
  • Play consistently – Regular play over time can improve your chances.

While jackpots can’t be predicted, using some strategy and staying within your entertainment budget can help make playing the lottery more enjoyable.


Identifying and claiming winning PA Lottery tickets takes just a few simple steps. Scratch-Offs, draw games, online games and second chance prizes each have different ways winners are revealed. Matching numbers accurately, checking expiration dates, and following prize claim procedures carefully can ensure you walk away with any lottery jackpots or prizes you win.

With lottery fever sweeping Pennsylvania for record breaking jackpots, taking the time to properly check your tickets could make you the state’s next millionaire! Follow the guidance outlined above and you’ll be prepared to cash in if your lucky numbers come up.