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How to play Lotto in New York?

New York offers a wide variety of lottery games for residents and visitors to play. The New York Lottery is one of the largest and most successful lotteries in the United States. Playing the lottery in New York can be a fun and exciting way to potentially win big prizes while also generating revenue for education in the state. This comprehensive guide will provide all of the key details on how to play the lottery in New York.

Types of Lottery Games in New York

The New York Lottery offers a diverse selection of lottery games to choose from. The major lottery games available in New York include:

  • Mega Millions – This hugely popular multi-state jackpot game has produced some of the biggest lottery prizes in history. Mega Millions draws take place every Tuesday and Friday evening.
  • Powerball – Another massive multi-state game that frequently has jackpots in the hundreds of millions. Powerball draws are held each Wednesday and Saturday night.
  • New York Lotto – New York’s own in-state jackpot game with drawings held every Monday and Thursday. This game has awarded many eight-figure and nine-figure prizes to New York residents over the decades.
  • Cash4Life – This unique game offers a “cash for life” top prize along with other secondary prize tiers. Draws are every Monday and Thursday.
  • Pick 10 – Pick 10 is a New York-only numbers game where players choose 10 numbers from 1 to 80. Drawings take place twice daily.
  • Take 5 – Players pick 5 numbers out of 39 for a chance at a top prize of $50,000 in the midday and evening Take 5 drawings.
  • Lotto – New York’s original lotto game. Select 6 numbers from 1 to 59 and match 3, 4, 5 or 6 to win prizes. Two drawings per week.
  • Numbers – A quick-play game where players choose how much to wager and select numbers. Twice daily draws.
  • Win 4 – Pick 4 numbers between 0 and 9 and match them in exact order to the winning numbers. Also drawn twice daily.

These are the main lottery games available for play throughout New York. The lottery also offers occasional special event and seasonal games from time to time.

How to Buy Lottery Tickets in New York

There are a few different ways to purchase lottery tickets in New York:

  • At retail locations – Most convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, and pharmacies in New York have lottery sales terminals. You can select your game and numbers and pay for your ticket right there.
  • Online – For certain games like Mega Millions and Powerball, players can create an account at and buy tickets online through the website or mobile app.
  • Subscription service – Some of the New York Lottery’s daily and weekly games offer subscription services. This allows you to buy tickets for multiple upcoming draws without having to go to the store each time.
  • Lottery ticket vending machines – These self-service kiosks can dispense quick pick tickets for various lottery games at certain retail locations.

When purchasing lottery tickets in person, you must be at least 18 years old. Online ticket sales also require players to be a minimum age of 18.

How to Pick Lottery Numbers

For many lottery games, players can choose to have the numbers randomly generated by the quick pick option or manually select their own numbers:

  • Quick Pick – Choosing quick pick allows the lottery terminal or website to randomly assign numbers for your ticket. This is the easiest option but provides no control over the numbers selected.
  • Manual Selection – You can choose your own numbers by completing a playslip at retail locations or entering them manually online. Some players use special techniques like picking meaningful dates, doing patterns, or using statistic-based formulas.
  • Combo – You can do a combo play that involves a mix of quick pick numbers and manually selected numbers on a single ticket.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. Quick picks are fast and easy while manual picks allow for more personal customization.

Understanding Your Chances of Winning

The odds of winning any of New York’s lottery games are extremely long. However, the specific odds vary quite a bit depending on the game:

Lottery Game Odds of Winning Jackpot
Mega Millions 1 in 302,575,350
Powerball 1 in 292,201,338
New York Lotto 1 in 45,038,416
Take 5 1 in 575,757
Pick 10 1 in 8,911,702
Numbers 1 in 2,535

As you can see, some games have astronomically high odds but also enormous jackpots, while others have more reasonable odds but smaller prizes. It’s important to only play for fun and enjoy the experience rather than banking on winning.

Claiming Lottery Prizes in New York

There are a few steps involved in claiming any New York Lottery prizes:

  • For small prizes up to $600, you can cash the ticket at any authorized lottery retailer in New York.
  • For larger prizes, you must claim the ticket at one of the New York Lottery’s Customer Service Centers.
  • You will need to complete a lottery claim form and provide proof of identification and age.
  • Taxes will be withheld from any prize over $5,000. The current tax withholding rate in New York is 8.82%.
  • For jackpots over $100,000, you may need to participate in a press conference when claiming your prize.
  • You have one year from the date of the drawing to claim any lottery prizes in New York.

Be sure to sign the back of your winning ticket and treat it as cash. If you lose a ticket or it is stolen before claiming the prize, you may be out of luck.

Getting Lottery Results

There are many ways to get the winning numbers and results for all New York Lottery drawings:

  • Website – Visit to view winning numbers, jackpot amounts, and prize payouts.
  • Mobile app – Download the New York Lottery app on iOS or Android to get the latest results.
  • Winning numbers hotline – Call 518-388-3444 to hear that day’s winning numbers.
  • Radio and TV – Many local stations announce the numbers during their news bulletins.
  • Retailers – Lottery terminals at retail locations display the latest results.
  • Newspapers – Most newspapers in New York print the drawings and jackpots.

Results are generally available within an hour or two after each drawing takes place.

Joining a Lottery Play Group or Pool

To increase your odds and fun, you may want to join a lottery play group or pool:

  • Lottery pools involve a group of people purchasing a large number of tickets together and agreeing to share any winnings.
  • There are formal lottery clubs and online services that organize pools. Or you can start one with friends, family or co-workers.
  • Decide on a written agreement upfront that outlines how many tickets will be bought, who will purchase them, and how to distribute prizes.
  • Appoint a pool captain to handle administrative tasks like buying tickets and managing money.
  • Pools allow you to play more tickets for just a share of the cost while splitting any prizes.

Joining a lottery pool can multiply the fun and excitement. Just remember to always keep it fun and gamble responsibly.

Responsible Lottery Play

When playing the lottery, it’s important to do so responsibly:

  • Treat lottery games as entertainment and only spend discretionary money, not rent or grocery money.
  • Set a budget for how much you can afford to spend on tickets each month and stick to it.
  • Never borrow money hoping to win it back. This is a sign of problem gambling behavior.
  • Don’t go chasing losses by continuing to buy more tickets after losing.
  • Balance lottery play with other hobbies and social activities.
  • Don’t play while impaired, as this can lead to reckless decisions.
  • If you recognize signs of a gambling problem, call the NY Problem Gambling Hotline at 1-877-8-HOPE-NY.

Playing the lottery responsibly makes for a much more enjoyable experience. Use good judgment and don’t spend more than you can afford.

Lottery Scams

Lottery scams are common, so protect yourself by recognizing the signs:

  • There is no legitimate way to increase your odds or guarantee lottery winnings.
  • Be wary if someone contacts you claiming you’ve won a prize and requests money to process payment.
  • Never pay any fees upfront to receive lottery winnings.
  • Look out for fake lottery websites that trick you into entering personal information or paying phony fees.
  • The New York Lottery will never contact you requesting your personal or banking information by phone, email or mail.

Use caution sharing any sensitive details to avoid falling victim to lottery scams. Legitimate lotteries never require you to pay to collect winnings.

Historical New York Lottery Winners

The New York Lottery has created many big winners over the years:

  • In 2022, a Mega Millions ticket sold in New York won a $432 million jackpot, the largest in state history.
  • A 2019 Powerball ticket worth $298.3 million was sold at a gas station in Brooklyn.
  • In 2018, a Staten Island man won a $245.6 million Powerball prize, then the biggest in NY Lottery history.
  • A 2006 Mega Millions ticket sold in Brooklyn hit for $370 million, the highest ever in New York.
  • In 2000, a retired couple from Long Island won a $61 million Lotto jackpot with a ticket purchased on Long Island.

These are some of the biggest New York Lottery winners, though there are many smaller prizes awarded daily. You never know when the next major jackpot winner could be you!

New York Lottery Proceeds

The New York Lottery was established in 1967. Since then, it has generated over $78 billion in funding for education programs in the state.

Here is how lottery revenues are distributed:

  • Around 48% goes to paying out prizes to players.
  • About 25% goes to commissions for retailers who sell tickets.
  • Roughly 10% covers operating costs and administrative expenses.
  • The remaining 17% is transferred to education aid in New York State.

The funds support primary and secondary education across New York. So by playing responsibly, you are contributing to vital programs that benefit students and schools.

Finding Lottery Retailers and Locations

There are over 15,000 authorized retailers where you can purchase New York Lottery tickets. These include:

  • Convenience stores
  • Gas stations
  • Supermarkets
  • Bodegas
  • Smoke shops
  • Newsstands
  • Pharmacies
  • Liquor stores

You can find a lottery sales retailer near you by using the retailer locator on the New York Lottery website and mobile app. Just enter your location and nearby stores will be displayed on a map.

New York Lottery Contact Information

Below is the contact information for the New York Lottery:

  • Phone: 518-388-3415
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Mail: New York Lottery, PO Box 7533, Schenectady, NY 12301-7533
  • Website:

You can use this information to get answers to any other questions about playing the lottery in New York. The lottery’s website also has extensive FAQs and information.


The New York Lottery offers fun and lively games with the chance for major jackpots. By understanding the different games, how to play, claiming prizes, and playing responsibly, you can safely enjoy the experience. Just be sure to gamble in moderation and avoid spending more than you can afford. With strategic play, a little luck, and sound choices, you’ll maximize your entertainment and maybe even score a big lottery win sometime!