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What night is Illinois Lotto?

The Illinois Lotto is one of the most popular lottery games in the state of Illinois. It is drawn twice a week, on Monday and Thursday nights, giving players two chances per week to win big jackpot prizes. The Illinois Lotto has created dozens of millionaires since it first began in 1983. With two drawings per week, players want to know – what nights can you play the Illinois Lotto?

What Days are the Illinois Lotto Drawings?

The Illinois Lotto drawings take place on Monday and Thursday nights at 9:22 PM CT. Tickets can be purchased until 8:30 PM on the night of the drawing at licensed lottery retailers across the state.

Here is an overview of the Illinois Lotto drawing schedule:

Drawing Day Drawing Time
Monday 9:22 PM CT
Thursday 9:22 PM CT

As you can see, the Illinois Lotto takes place two nights per week, every Monday and Thursday evening at 9:22 PM Central Time. This consistent schedule gives players set days and times they can purchase tickets and tune in to see if they are holding a jackpot winner.

Purchase Deadline on Drawing Nights

On drawing nights, Monday and Thursday, ticket sales cut off at 8:30 PM CT. Any tickets purchased after this time will be entered into the next drawing.

It is important to note the ticket purchasing deadlines each evening if you want to play the same night’s drawing:

Drawing Night Ticket Purchase Deadline
Monday 8:30 PM CT
Thursday 8:30 PM CT

Keep these Monday and Thursday evening cutoff times in mind. Be sure to buy your Illinois Lotto tickets before 8:30 PM if you want them to be eligible for that night’s drawing.

How to Play the Illinois Lotto

Playing the Illinois Lotto requires matching 6 numbers out of 52 possible numbers to win the jackpot. Here is a step-by-step overview of how to fill out an Illinois Lotto play slip:

1. Select Six Numbers

Start by selecting six numbers between 1-52 on your Illinois Lotto play slip. You can choose your own numbers or use the quick pick option for randomly generated numbers. It’s entirely up to luck which numbers are eventually drawn.

2. Add Extra Plays (Optional)

You can play multiple sets of numbers on one play slip. Simply mark the number of additional plays you want to make for that drawing. This exponentially increases your odds of winning a prize.

3. Choose a Draw Date

Be sure to select the next Monday or Thursday drawing date you want to play. This ensures your ticket will be valid for the correct night.

4. Take Your Play Slip to a Retailer

Bring your completed Illinois Lotto play slip to an authorized lottery retailer to purchase your ticket. Give the retailer your play slip and cash payment for the number of ticket plays you selected. You will receive a ticket with your official game numbers.

5. Check the Winning Numbers

Tune in to the drawing on the nights you played to see if your numbers match those drawn. Monday and Thursday drawings are televised across the state at 9:22 PM CT. You can also look up the winning numbers online after they are announced.

Matching all 6 numbers wins the Illinois Lotto jackpot prize! There are also smaller prizes for matching just some of the winning numbers.

Illinois Lotto Jackpot Odds and Prizes

The odds of winning the Illinois Lotto jackpot are steep – only 1 in 7 million. However, the jackpot prize is also sizable, often growing to multimillion dollar amounts. Here are the odds and potential prizes:

Match Odds Prize
6 numbers 1 in 7,059,052 Jackpot
5 numbers 1 in 143,355 $2,500
4 numbers 1 in 2,794 $150
3 numbers 1 in 154 $10

As you can see, matching all 6 numbers is incredibly rare, but doing so wins at least millions and sometimes tens or hundreds of millions of dollars! Even matching just 3 numbers wins a $10 prize.

Jackpot Roll Overs

One important factor in the Illinois Lotto jackpot size is rollovers. When no one wins the jackpot on a drawing night, the prize money rolls over to increase the jackpot for the next drawing. This means jackpots can grow to huge amounts when there are multiple successive rollovers. Jackpots frequently surpass $10 million and even $100 million before someone finally wins.

Rollover jackpots generate huge excitement and ticket sales, allowing prizes to rapidly escalate in value over the course of just a few drawings. Playing when the jackpot is very high means your odds are the same but the potential payout is exponentially bigger!

The Biggest Illinois Lotto Jackpots

Since the Illinois Lotto began in 1983, there have been many jackpot winners across the state. Here are some of the biggest, record-setting jackpots awarded:

$150 Million – February 6, 1990

In February 1990, a suburban Chicago couple won the largest Illinois Lotto jackpot to date, a whopping $150 million. The winners said they plan to keep working despite their new 9-figure fortune.

$112 Million – August 9, 1996

Just six years later, the record was broken when a Westmont man hit a $112 million dollar jackpot on August 9, 1996. At the time, it was the second highest individual lottery prize in U.S. history.

$109 Million – April 18, 1992

In April 1992, a Chicago construction worker became an instant millionaire, sharing a $109 million Illinois Lotto jackpot with a law student from Poland. Their win marked the second time the Illinois jackpot surpassed $100 million.

$106.5 Million – March 30, 1990

Just two months after the biggest Illinois Lotto jackpot, the lottery produced another 9-figure winner. A Northwest Side print shop owner claimed a $106.5 million prize in March 1990.

$101 Million – January 11, 2000

At the start of the new millennium, an Elmhurst man came forward with the winning $101 million ticket from the January 11, 2000 drawing. At the time it was the 5th largest U.S. jackpot ever won by a single ticket.

$97 Million – July 30, 2008

More recently, in July 2008, a Tinley Park soldier back from Iraq had his hometown buzzing after winning nearly $98 million. After taxes, he took home $64 million.

As you can see, the Illinois Lotto has minted many millionaires and multimillionaires over the years. Jackpots frequently climb into huge 9-figure prizes before someone ultimately wins. With two chances a week, will you become the next Illinois Lotto jackpot winner?

Notable Illinois Lotto Winners

The Illinois Lotto has produced many jackpot winners, but not all want the publicity. Here are some notable past winners from Illinois Lotto history:

Frankie Smith

Frankie Smith, a grandmother from the small town of Caseyville, hit the $22 million jackpot back in 1988. She purchased her ticket at a local gas station. After winning, Smith said she planned to spoil her grandchildren.

The Piasecki Family

In 1990, Northwest Side residents John and Susan Piasecki won a $42 million Lotto prize. The suburban Chicago pair came forward a few weeks later and said they wished to keep their identities secret.

However, once their names leaked, reporters uncovered John had a criminal history. But Susan said she always believed her husband would get lucky.

Mike Wittkowski

Mike Wittkowski won $40 million in the Illinois Lotto in 1984. But tragedy struck when just 9 months later, Wittkowski was murdered in his home by apparent robbers. Police investigated but never made any arrests.

The “Lucky 13” Group

A group of 13 printing plant coworkers in Chicago won $69.3 million split 13 ways in March 1992. Calling themselves the “Lucky 13”, they ranged in age from 25 to 58 years old.

Many said they still planned to keep working. With professional money management, the group ensured their shares would provide long term stability.

The Onwentsia Club

In an unusual case, a Lotto ticket worth $11 million was purchased under the name “Onwentsia Club” at a Highland Park country club in 1988. Over 100 club members came forward, claiming shares of the prize.

After disputes, the club leaders eventually determined appropriate distributions and donated $1 million to local charities.

Advantages of Playing the Illinois Lotto

The Illinois Lotto has remained popular for decades because it offers major advantages. Here are some of the key benefits:

Huge Jackpots

Lotto jackpots frequently exceed 9-figures and have even surpassed $100 million on several occasions when rollovers cause massive jackpot buildups. A huge jackpot means huge potential winnings.

Good Odds

While odds of 1 in 7 million seem daunting, the Illinois Lotto actually has more favorable jackpot odds than most other lottery games. For example, Powerball odds are 1 in 292 million – over 40 times harder!

Easy to Play

Players simply pick six numbers between 1-52. There are no special requirements or complex rules. This straightforward format appeals to many players.

Two Chances to Win Per Week

With drawings on Mondays and Thursdays, the Illinois Lotto gives players two opportunities per week. More chances equal more opportunities to potentially hit it big.

Prevents Split Jackpots

Unlike games like Powerball, the Illinois Lotto requires one winner takes all for the full jackpot amount. You don’t have to split giant prizes with other winning tickets.

For these reasons, the Illinois Lotto has remained one of the most popular lotteries in Illinois for over 30 years. With jackpots constantly growing into huge amounts, a life-changing payout could be just one ticket away!

Getting the Most from the Illinois Lotto

To maximize your chances of winning, there are some tips to follow when playing the Illinois Lotto:

Purchase Multiple Tickets

Increase your odds by buying several plays on the same Lotto ticket. Buying 5 plays is 5 times better than buying 1. More tickets equals more chances to match the winning numbers.

Join an Office Pool or Lottery Group

Join colleagues or friends to purchase more tickets together. This spreads the cost around and increases your group’s overall odds. Winning can be shared or pooled for an even bigger payout.

Use Both Play Types

Mix up quick pick and your own numbers. Having both computer generated and personalized numbers ensures all number combinations are covered.

Play When Jackpots Are Big

Focus lottery play during periods when jackpots escalate. The potential payout rises exponentially higher as rollovers occur, despite the fixed odds.

Check Numbers Carefully

Always double check the numbers on your ticket to ensure they match the numbers you intended to play. It would be devastating to find out you had the winning numbers but they were on the wrong date or play line!

Sign the Back of Your Ticket

Immediately sign the back of your Illinois Lotto ticket after purchase and keep it very safe until drawings occur. This establishes ownership and prevents anyone else from claiming your ticket.

Stay Anonymous if You Win

While winners have the option to hold press conferences, it may be smarter long term to remain anonymous. This prevents long lost relatives and scammers from coming out of the woodwork!

Using these tips can help you maximize your Illinois Lotto play. Pick numbers wisely, play consistently, and always use caution if you get lucky enough to win!

Fun Facts About the Illinois Lotto

Over nearly 40 years, the Illinois Lotto has created some interesting history and fun facts:

– The first Illinois Lotto drawing was held on July 1, 1983 with a starting jackpot of $500,000.

– To date, the Illinois Lotto has awarded over $18 billion in prizes since its inception.

– Illinois Lotto tickets have 6 number play grids because studies showed people had difficulty choosing more than 6 numbers.

– The Illinois Lotto uses real ball machines and physical number balls for drawings, rather than computerized systems.

– The original host of Illinois Lotto drawings was popular radio DJ Jeff Davis. He hosted from 1983 until the late 1990s.

– Powerball and Mega Millions were once included as additional games on Illinois Lotto tickets until being removed in 2010.

– Illinois Lotto gave away over 500 Ford Mustang cars as part of a promotion in the 1980s when ticket sales were still low after launch.

– An Iowa man named Bill Morgan was declared legally dead after a car crash before winning the Illinois Lotto years later, earning him the nickname “The Dead Man Who Won Lotto.”

– Lotto lottery ads were banned on Illinois TV and radio from 1990 to 2013 due to concerns over excessive gambling.

After nearly four decades, the Illinois Lotto has cemented its place as a lottery icon across Illinois. It has made millionaires, powered the state budget, and given fun trivia over its long history!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about playing the Illinois Lotto:

What are the Illinois Lotto rules?

The Illinois Lotto requires players to match all 6 numbers between 1-52 to win jackpots. Tickets can be purchased until 8:30 PM on Mondays and Thursdays before that night’s drawing at 9:22 PM. Players must be 18 or older.

What days are the Illinois Lotto drawings?

Drawings are held every Monday and Thursday evening at 9:22 PM Central Time.

What is the average Illinois Lotto jackpot?

The average Illinois Lotto jackpot is around $4 million, however, rollovers frequently push jackpots to $10 million, $50 million, or even over $100 million before a winner is drawn.

What is the biggest Illinois Lotto jackpot ever?

The record Illinois Lotto jackpot is $150 million, won by a suburban Chicago couple on February 6, 1990. It remains the biggest state lottery jackpot ever won by a single ticket in U.S. history.

Can Illinois Lotto tickets be purchased online?

No, Illinois Lotto tickets must be purchased in person at licensed retailers across the state. There is no official online sales option. Players outside Illinois cannot participate either.

Where does Illinois Lotto money go?

After prizes, Illinois Lotto revenues go to the state Common School Fund to support K-12 education expenses as well as towards capital projects across the state.

Is the Illinois Lotto rigged?

There is absolutely no evidence the Illinois Lotto drawings are rigged. The lottery is closely monitored by state officials and follows stringent security protocols to ensure fair randomness.

Can I remain anonymous if I win the Illinois Lotto?

Yes, Illinois allows jackpot winners to request anonymity, which prevents their name and likeness from being publicly disclosed. Winners should immediately consult a lawyer to claim prizes anonymously.

The Illinois Lotto has a long history behind it, but hopefully, there are many more big jackpot winners still to come. Good luck!


The Illinois Lotto offers big jackpots twice per week, on Monday and Thursday nights. Drawings take place at 9:22 PM Central Time. By knowing the Illinois Lotto schedule, following gameplay tips, and purchasing tickets before the 8:30 PM deadline on drawing nights, you can maximize your chances of winning.

The Illinois Lotto has created many millionaires since 1983 by offering huge rolled over jackpots. While odds are long, they are better than most other lottery games. With two opportunities a week to play, the next multimillionaire could be you!

The Illinois Lotto has an established reputation for life-changing jackpots. Play regularly for the chance at a massive lottery prize. Remember – you can’t win if you don’t have a ticket! Good luck and hope to see you as the state’s next big Illinois Lotto winner!