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What is the cut off for the lottery in North Carolina?

The lottery in North Carolina has specific cut off times for when lottery tickets can be purchased for the various lottery games offered in the state. Knowing the cutoff times is important so that you don’t miss your chance to play and potentially win big prizes.

Cut Off Times for Powerball and Mega Millions

Two of the biggest national lottery games in the United States are Powerball and Mega Millions. These games are offered in multiple states across the country, including North Carolina. For both Powerball and Mega Millions, ticket sales cut off in North Carolina at 10:00 PM EST on the night of the draw.

The Powerball draw occurs every Wednesday and Saturday evening at 10:59 PM EST. To play Powerball in North Carolina, you need to purchase your ticket by 10:00 PM EST on the night of the draw. Tickets cannot be purchased after the 10:00 PM cutoff.

Mega Millions draws happen each Tuesday and Friday night at 11:00 PM EST. To play Mega Millions in North Carolina, you must buy your ticket by 10:00 PM EST on the evening of the draw. As with Powerball, no Mega Millions tickets can be bought in North Carolina after 10:00 PM on draw nights.

Ticket Sale Cutoff on Draw Days

In summary, on Powerball and Mega Millions draw days in North Carolina:

  • Powerball sales cutoff is 10:00 PM EST for the 10:59 PM EST draw
  • Mega Millions sales cutoff is 10:00 PM EST for the 11:00 PM EST draw

Being aware of these deadlines is crucial if you want the chance to win huge jackpots in these exciting national lottery games.

Cut Off for North Carolina’s State Lottery Games

In addition to Powerball and Mega Millions, the North Carolina Education Lottery offers state-specific lottery games that are only available to play within North Carolina. These games have their own cutoff times that you need to know.

Carolina Pick 3 and Carolina Pick 4

For Carolina Pick 3 and Carolina Pick 4, ticket sales end at 11:45 PM EST on the night of the drawing. Here are the key details:

  • Carolina Pick 3 has drawings twice daily at 1:30 PM EST and 11:22 PM EST
  • Carolina Pick 4 also draws twice a day at 1:30 PM EST and 11:22 PM EST
  • You can buy tickets for the 1:30 PM Pick 3 and Pick 4 drawings until 1:45 PM EST
  • You can purchase tickets for the 11:22 PM drawings until 11:45 PM EST

Make sure to get your Pick 3 and Pick 4 tickets before these deadlines to participate in that day’s drawings.

Carolina Cash 5

Carolina Cash 5 is drawn nightly in North Carolina at 11:22 PM EST. You can purchase Cash 5 tickets up until 11:45 PM EST on the evening of the drawing.

Lucky for Life

Lucky for Life is drawn every night at 10:38 PM EST. In North Carolina, you can buy Lucky for Life tickets until 11:00 PM EST on the night of the draw.

Sales Cut Off for Online Ticket Purchases

The North Carolina lottery also allows you to buy lottery tickets online through its website. The ticket sales deadlines for online purchases are slightly different than at retail locations.

Here are the cut off times for buying tickets online in North Carolina:

  • Powerball – Online sales end at 9:00 PM EST on draw nights
  • Mega Millions – Online sales end at 9:00 PM EST on draw nights
  • Carolina Pick 3 – Online sales end at 1:30 PM EST and 10:45 PM EST on drawing days
  • Carolina Pick 4 – Online sales end at 1:30 PM EST and 10:45 PM EST on drawing days
  • Carolina Cash 5 – Online sales end at 10:45 PM EST on drawing nights
  • Lucky for Life – Online sales end at 10:00 PM EST on drawing nights

When buying tickets online, be aware that the website will shut down ticket sales an hour or so prior to the retail sales cutoff times. Planning ahead is important if you wish to play lottery games online in North Carolina.

What Happens If You Miss the Deadline

If you try to purchase a lottery ticket in North Carolina after the posted cutoff times, either online or at a retail location, you will not be able to play. All ticket sales are halted after the deadlines pass.

If you make an attempt to buy a ticket after hours, the lottery terminal will display an error message that sales are closed for that particular drawing. You will have to wait until the next available drawing to purchase your ticket.

It is not possible to get an exception or to purchase tickets after the posted deadlines. The cut off times are strictly enforced so all tickets are accounted for before the drawings occur. If you miss out, you simply have to try again next time.

Other Helpful Tips

Here are some other useful tips related to North Carolina’s lottery ticket sales deadlines:

  • Tickets cannot be canceled once purchased, even if bought before the sales cutoff
  • Retailers stop selling tickets a few minutes before the posted deadlines to allow time for processing
  • Online ticket sales end 1-2 hours before retail sales to account for transaction processing time
  • Cutoff times occasionally vary on holidays or when drawings are rescheduled
  • Ticket prices and game rules are subject to change at any time

It is always a good idea to check the North Carolina lottery’s official website for the most up-to-date information on game rules, ticket prices, cut off times, and contact information if you need assistance. Knowing the details can help ensure you don’t miss your opportunity to play.

How to Get Lottery Results

Once you have purchased your North Carolina lottery tickets on time, you undoubtedly will want to find out the winning numbers for the drawings. Here are some ways you can check lottery results in North Carolina:

  • Visit the North Carolina lottery website. Winning numbers are posted soon after the drawings.
  • Watch the live drawing online or on television. Some local channels broadcast the live drawings.
  • Check newspapers. Many newspapers print the lottery numbers in the next day’s edition.
  • Go to a lottery retailer. Winning numbers are displayed at retail locations.
  • Call the lottery hotline number at 1-866-824-5368.
  • Download the official lottery app for iOS or Android devices.

Be sure to take time to carefully check your ticket against the official winning numbers, including any additional features like Mega Balls or Powerballs. Matching all the right numbers in the exact order drawn is the only way to win the jackpot!

The Luck of Lottery Winners in North Carolina

Thousands of people play the lottery every day in North Carolina, hoping to win anything from small prizes to multimillion dollar jackpots. The state has had its share of big winners over the years.

Here are some of the biggest North Carolina lottery prizes awarded:

  • A Brunswick County couple won a $1 million prize playing Mega Millions in October 2022.
  • An Onslow County man won a $10 million prize playing the $300 Million Supreme Riches second-chance drawing in September 2022.
  • In August 2022, a Randolph County woman won a $366,673 Cash 5 jackpot.
  • In June 2022, a Powerball ticket sold in Pitt County won a $1 million prize.
  • In April 2022, a Mega Millions ticket sold in Pitt County won a $2 million prize.

Will you be the next lucky North Carolina lottery winner? Remember to get your tickets before the cutoff times and then check those numbers carefully. Huge jackpots could be waiting for you!

The Odds of Hitting the Jackpot

Winning a massive lottery jackpot requires incredible luck. The odds of matching all numbers and winning the top prize are astronomical.

Here are the overall odds for the biggest jackpot games in North Carolina:

  • Powerball: 1 in 292,201,338
  • Mega Millions: 1 in 302,575,350
  • Lucky for Life: 1 in 30,821,472
  • Carolina Cash 5: 1 in 962,598

Although the probability of hitting the jackpot is extremely low, it only takes one winning ticket to take home a life-changing fortune. Huge prizes can build up when jackpots roll over for several drawings without a winner. For example, the record Powerball jackpot reached $1.586 billion in January 2016!

Tips for Playing the Lottery

Here are some tips to follow when you play North Carolina lottery games:

  • Always buy tickets before the cutoff times
  • Check tickets carefully yourself – don’t rely on store clerks
  • Play consistently for better odds versus playing infrequently
  • Consider joining an office pool to buy more tickets
  • Use quick pick for random numbers versus choosing your own
  • Take time to study past winning number patterns
  • Buy tickets for one game versus spreading money over several
  • Set a budget and don’t go over it chasing losses

Responsible play is important. Never spend more than you can afford on lottery games and remember that big jackpots are exceedingly rare. Have fun dreaming about what you would do with a huge prize!

Lottery Revenue Benefits North Carolina

In Fiscal Year 2021, the North Carolina lottery generated more than $729 million in revenue for education programs in the state. All lottery profits go directly to supporting initiatives like:

  • School construction and repairs
  • Scholarships and grants for college students
  • Educational funding and initiatives

So even if you don’t win, knowing your lottery purchase helps students and schools can make playing a little more fun. Since the NC lottery began in 2006, over $9 billion has gone to education programs statewide.

Can You Buy Lottery Tickets From Other States?

Lottery games are operated independently in each state that offers them. North Carolina residents cannot purchase lottery tickets from other states either online or by crossing state lines.

Some key rules to know:

  • You must be physically located in North Carolina to play the NC lottery
  • Powerball and Mega Millions tickets must be purchased in North Carolina
  • Tickets from other states cannot be redeemed in North Carolina
  • Prizes won in North Carolina must be claimed there

The purchase and possession of out-of-state lottery tickets in North Carolina is prohibited by law. Players must buy tickets through the North Carolina Education Lottery to support local education programs.

Claiming Lottery Prizes

If you are lucky enough to win a North Carolina lottery prize, here is what you need to know about claiming your winnings:

  • Prizes up to $599 can be claimed at any NC lottery retailer
  • Prizes $600 and over must be claimed at a lottery office
  • The lottery has regional offices in Raleigh, Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, and Wilmington
  • You have 180 days from the drawing date to claim prizes
  • Jackpots over $5 million must be claimed at lottery headquarters in Raleigh
  • You will need valid ID and your winning ticket to claim any prize
  • Winnings are subject to both federal and state tax withholding

Be sure to fill out your ticket carefully and sign it once you win. Keep it very safe until you are ready to claim your prize. Losing a winning ticket means losing your prize!


Playing the lottery in North Carolina can be exciting, but knowing the rules and cutoff times is essential. For Powerball, Mega Millions, and state games, ticket sales end between 10:00 PM and 11:45 PM EST on drawing nights.

Online ticket sales stop 1-2 hours earlier than retail sales. Buying tickets before these deadlines is necessary if you want a chance to win prizes ranging from small rewards up to enormous multimillion dollar jackpots.

Check lottery results carefully and claim any winnings properly within 180 days. Responsible play that fits your budget allows you to enjoy lottery games while also helping education programs across North Carolina. Good luck!