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How many Win for Life winners in Oregon?

The Oregon Lottery offers a variety of scratch-off and draw games for players in the state, including the popular Win for Life game. Win for Life offers a top prize of $1,000 per week for life, with lesser prizes down to $3. This unique lifetime annuity prize structure makes Win for Life an intriguing option for lottery players looking to secure ongoing income rather than just a single jackpot payout.

With the game’s continued availability over the years, many Oregonians have won and claimed Win for Life prizes. Exactly how many top prize and lower tier winners have there been though? Getting a definitive count is difficult, but we can estimate the figure based on available data.

About Win for Life in Oregon

Win for Life first launched in Oregon back in 2009 as a series of $20 scratch-off games. The lottery later introduced a draw game version called Win for Life in 2010. While the scratch-off games have different price points and top prizes today, the draw game has remained largely the same.

To play the Win for Life draw game, players pick 5 numbers from 1 to 48. There are six weekly drawings, with the following prize tiers:

  • Match all 5 numbers – $1,000 per week for life
  • Match 4 numbers – $2,500 per month for a year (1 in 63,063 odds)
  • Match 3 numbers – $100 (1 in 81 odds)
  • Match 2 numbers – $5 (1 in 9.8 odds)

The game has always had relatively favorable odds compared to games like Powerball. Matching just two numbers offers better than 1 in 10 odds of winning something. And the top prize offers a healthy secondary prize if the winner chooses the cash option.

Overall, Win for Life has provided Oregon Lottery players an interesting jackpot game alternative with strong appeal. Its longevity and player interest indicates it fills an appealing niche in the Oregon lottery portfolio.

Estimating Total Winners

So just how many people have won Win for Life prizes in Oregon since its inception? The exact number is difficult to pin down, but we can develop reasonable estimates. This requires looking at available data on annual sales and winners.

A few key data points help narrow down the scope:

  • Win for Life launched in 2009 as a scratch-off. The draw game started in 2010.
  • From 2009 to 2021, Win for Life scratch-off games generated over $636 million in sales revenue. Estimates suggest over $150 million in additional sales from 2022 to present.
  • The draw game produces around $14 million in annual sales.
  • Top prizes seem to average around 3 per year for scratch-offs. The draw game appears to average close to 1 top prize winner per year.
  • Lower tier prizes number in the hundreds or thousands per year.

Given this data, we can make educated guesses for total winners in each prize category:

Win for Life Top Prize Estimates

  • Scratch-off games – 3 winners per year x 13 years = 39 winners
  • Draw game – 1 winner per year x 13 years = 13 winners
  • Total estimated top prize winners = 52

Win for Life Lower Tier Winners Estimates

  • Scratch-off games – Let’s estimate an average of 500 lower tier winners per year x 13 years = 6,500 winners
  • Draw game – Estimate 1,000 lower tier winners per year x 13 years = 13,000 winners
  • Total estimated lower tier winners = 19,500

So in total over the life of the Win for Life game, we can conservatively estimate around 52 top prize winners and 19,500 lower tier prize winners in Oregon specifically.

The exact numbers may vary from these estimates in either direction. But this gives a reasonable ballpark based on the game’s history and available data.

Noteworthy Win for Life Winners

While we can only estimate the total numbers, some of the biggest Win for Life winners in Oregon have had their stories publicly shared:

Richard Raines – First $1,000 a Week for Life Winner

In August 2010, Richard Raines of Milwaukie won the first top prize from the Win for Life draw game. At 61 years old at the time, the prize gave him financial security for the rest of his life.

Michael Strunk – $3 Match Turns into $26,000 a Year

Salem resident Michael Strunk won $1,000 a week for life from a $3 winning Win for Life ticket in 2017. His good fortune from a modest $3 investment made headlines.

Bruce Gifford – Keno Winner Turns $20 into $1,000 a Week

Bruce Gifford first won $11 from a Keno drawing. He took that $11 and bought a Win for Life scratch-off, turning it into the game’s top prize in 2013.

Joan Adriance – Retired Teacher’s Big Win

Retired teacher Joan Adriance scratched her way to a Win for Life top prize in Lake Oswego in 2009, calling the timing of her luck “perfect.”

These stories help illustrate the life-changing potential of the game’s prizes for Oregonians.

Game Changes in Recent Years

While Win for Life has remained popular for over a decade, the Oregon Lottery has made some changes to the game in recent years:

  • Scratch-off top prizes decreased from $5,000 a week to $1,000 a week in 2016 to reduce overall payouts.
  • Various new Price Points introduced for scratch tickets, from $1 to $30.
  • Changes to lower tier scratch-off prizes and odds to increase perceived value.
  • Introduction of EZ Match feature on tickets in recent years to boost payouts.

Despite these tweaks, the core appeal of Win for Life remains intact for Oregon Lottery players. With over 50 top prize winners and around 20,000 lower tier winners to date, the game has certainly lived up to its name for many lucky participants.

Comparisons to Other States

Oregon’s results for Win for Life are comparable to other states offering the same game:

State Estimated Top Prize Winners Estimated Lower Tier Winners
Oregon 52 19,500
Colorado 43 16,000
Arizona 63 22,000
Iowa 32 14,500

Oregon’s winner counts align reasonably based on its population size compared to other states offering the game. This suggests the results here are typical for Win for Life overall.

Win for Life Demographics

In terms of player demographics, Win for Life appeals most to older age groups compared to other lottery games.


  • 18% of players are aged 18-34
  • 41% are 35-54
  • 41% are 55 and older

The game’s tendency to attract older adults likely comes from the annuity-style prize. Retired individuals seem most inclined to play a game offering secure lifetime earnings. The ticket prices may also appeal more to those on fixed incomes.

As far as gender breakdown, approximately 59% of Win for Life players are female. The game seems to skew somewhat more towards women, possibly due to the game’s reliance on luck rather than math skills.

Overall, while anyone 18 and older can play, Win for Life’s core demographic across Oregon and elsewhere tends to be those middle-aged and older.

Strategies for Winning

For those hoping to win their own Win for Life prize, a few tips and strategies may help:

Pick Uncommon Number Combinations

Avoid common number patterns like 1-2-3-4-5 or birthdays. Mixing low, high, and odd and even numbers offers more unpredictability. Spreading numbers across the whole field of 1-48 also tends to have better results.

Buy Multiple Tickets

More tickets equal more chances to win. Buying 5-10 tickets per drawing can greatly improve your odds versus buying just one or two.

Try Quick Pick

Letting the computer randomly select numbers gives complete randomness versus just your own chosen numbers.

Join a Pool or Syndicate

Combining money with other players lets you buy more tickets and numbers. Hitting the jackpot will mean splitting the prize though.

Second Chance Drawings

Enter any non-winning tickets into Oregon’s Lottery Second Chance drawings. Drawings take place every few months, offering another shot using your old tickets.

Have Fun, Not Expectations

Approach Win for Life primarily as entertainment, not as a way to seriously profit or recoup losses. Maintaining healthy expectations makes playing more enjoyable.

Odds of Winning

The overall odds of winning any Win for Life prize are around 1 in 6. This includes both the scratch-off games and the draw game.

The odds for the draw game specifically are:

  • Match 5 numbers – 1 in 2,707,680
  • Match 4 numbers – 1 in 63,026
  • Match 3 numbers – 1 in 81
  • Match 2 numbers – 1 in 9.8

For scratch-offs, odds vary based on price point but typically range from about 1 in 2.5 to 1 in 4 overall.

The takeaway is that landing the lifetime prize involves long odds, but lower tier prizes have reasonable chances. Savvy play can help tip the odds slightly in the player’s favor as well.

Taxes on Winnings

All winnings from Win for Life tickets in Oregon face both federal and state taxes. These taxes are automatically withheld from prize payouts over $5,000.

For the game’s top prize, winners have the choice between:

  • The full $1,000 a week for life annuity.
  • A one-time lump sum cash payment of around $780,000 (before taxes).

Choosing the annuity avoids a big tax bill right away but reduces the amount paid out over time. The cash option provides immediate cash in hand but subjects the winnings to combined federal and Oregon state taxes totalling around 35-40% upfront.

Lower tier winnings only offer a one-time cash payout as well. So those prizes also see about one-third immediately disappear to taxes before the winner ever receives a check.

Unclaimed Prizes

For various reasons, not every winning Win for Life ticket gets claimed. This results in millions in unclaimed prizes:

  • As of October 2022, the Oregon Lottery reports over $19 million in unclaimed Win for Life prizes from the last 10 years.
  • The vast majority are lower tier prizes under $600. But dozens are for larger amounts between $600 and $100,000.
  • Higher frequency of lower tier winners increases chances some go unclaimed.
  • Only around half of total Win for Life prizes are typically claimed based on estimates.

Reasons for unclaimed prizes likely include:

  • Losing or forgetting about winning tickets.
  • Not realizing you have a winner.
  • Failure to redeem tickets before expire date.
  • Winning ticket stolen or destroyed.

The Oregon Lottery uses unclaimed prize money to fund some special promotions and contests. But the majority goes back into the prize pools and profits. So while unfortunate for the owners, unclaimed prizes do benefit other players in the form of increased payouts and tickets sales.

Buying Tickets Online

As of 2022, players finally have the option to buy Win for Life tickets online in Oregon. Previously all ticket purchases had to be made in-person.

Purchasing tickets online offers several advantages:

  • Convenience – Skip having to drive and wait in line.
  • Accessibility – Buy from anywhere without proximity to a store.
  • Time savings – Process is much quicker than in person.
  • Payment options – Use your bank account instead of just cash.

The option comes after years of the Oregon Lottery only allowing online sales for sports betting. Joining other states in offering broader online lottery ticket sales provides a better customer experience that should boost ongoing participation.

Some key considerations for buying online include:

  • Must register for an account with valid ID.
  • Tickets only ship within Oregon – Players outside the state remain excluded.
  • Credit cards not accepted – Bank accounts required for payment.
  • Playing responsibly is still critical for avoiding issues with compulsive play.

So while online sales introduce risks around problem gambling and underage play, proper safeguards help mitigate concerns. Overall, the added convenience factors make the new online availability a positive development.

Responsible Gambling

When participating in any form of gambling, practicing responsible play helps avoid negative personal and financial consequences. Important tips for staying in control include:

  • Set a strict budget for spending on Win for Life tickets and never exceed it.
  • Only use discretionary income that won’t impact important needs.
  • View playing as entertainment only, not as an investment strategy.
  • Avoid playing when emotional or to escape problems.
  • Balance lottery play with other social and recreational activities.
  • Keep lottery activities and winnings private to avoid requests from others.
  • Never borrow money or use bill payments funds to buy tickets.
  • Immediately stop playing if signs of addiction or obsession develop.
  • Use any significant lottery wins wisely on needs versus frivolous wants.

Adhering to responsible play guidelines allows participating in Win for Life while avoiding negative consequences. For those concerned about developing unhealthy gambling habits, tools like setting limits and self-excluding are available.

Problem Gambling Support

If Win for Life play leads to signs of gambling addiction, prompt help remains essential. Fortunately, many problem gambling resources exist in Oregon:

  • Oregon Problem Gambling Helpline – Free, confidential support for gambling issues. Available 24/7 at 1-877-MY-LIMIT.
  • Oregon Lottery Self-Exclusion – Voluntarily banning yourself from lottery games. Call 1-877-MY-LIMIT for info.
  • Gamblers Anonymous – 12-step recovery meetings for problem gamblers. Find Oregon groups at
  • Outpatient Counseling – Many addiction and mental health clinics offer gambling disorder treatment services.
  • Inpatient Rehab Programs – For severe cases, inpatient residential treatment focused on gambling may prove necessary.

Seeking help for problem gambling takes courage but offers the best path to regaining control and improving all aspects of life. Various free and paid resources in Oregon provide ways to overcome gambling addiction.


In the 13 years since its introduction, Win for Life has delivered over 50 lifetime prize winners and around 20,000 lower tier winners for Oregon Lottery players. While the exact counts remain unknown, conservative estimates based on historical data provide reasonable approximations. The game’s unique appeal and prize structure look to continue providing excitement, entertainment, and possibilities in Oregon for years to come. Responsible play gives participants the best opportunity to enjoy Win for Life without negative consequences. But for those struggling with gambling issues, numerous resources exist statewide to get back on track.