Illinois Lottery FAQs

Get the answers to some of the most common questions about the Illinois Lottery. The queries below cover various topics, from draw details to winning prizes and how to claim.

Playing in Illinois

How old do I have to be to play in Illinois?

You have to be at least 18 years old to play any Illinois Lottery game.

Can I play in Illinois even if I don’t live in the state?

Yes. You can purchase Illinois Lottery tickets without being a resident of the Prairie State. If you are just visiting the state, though, remember that you will have to claim any prizes you win in Illinois.

Can I play as part of a lottery pool?

Yes, playing in a group is a fun way to take part with friends or work colleagues, and can also help to improve your chances of winning. Go to the page on Lottery Pools for more information.

Where do lottery profits go?

The Illinois Lottery’s primary mission is to raise funds for public education, capital projects and other good causes. See the page on Where the Money Goes to find out how the revenue from ticket sales is broken down.

Can I buy tickets in advance?

You can enter Lotto, Mega Millions and Powerball in advance for up to 25 draws, while you can play Pick 3 and Pick 4 up to seven days ahead. If you play online, you can even subscribe to enter all draws for up to a year.

What is a Quick Pick?

A Quick Pick is a set of randomly-generated lottery numbers. You can play a Quick Pick for any draw game, or choose your own numbers. Go to the Quick Pick page to find out more, and generate your own random numbers.

Draw Details

What time are Illinois Lottery draws?

The draw times for Illinois Lottery games are shown below:

  • Lotto - Monday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9:22 PM CT
  • Pick 3 – Every day at 12:40 PM and 9:22 PM CT
  • Pick 4 - Every day at 12:40 PM and 9:22 PM CT
  • Lucky Day Lotto - Every day at 12:40 PM and 9:22 PM CT
  • Powerball – Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 9:59 PM CT
  • Mega Millions – Tuesday and Friday at 10:00 PM CT

What is the cut-off time for ticket sales?

The sales hours for each game are shown below, so make sure you get your tickets in before the deadline on draw days or else you will have to wait until the next draw.

  • Lotto - 9:15 PM CT
  • Pick 3 - 12:35 PM and 9:15 PM
  • Pick 4 - 12:35 PM and 9:15 PM
  • Lucky Day Lotto - 12:35 PM and 9:15 PM
  • Powerball – 9:00 PM CT
  • Mega Millions – 9:45 PM CT

How are the draws conducted?

The winning numbers for all Illinois Lottery games – Lotto, Lucky Day Lotto, Pick 3 and Pick 4 – are determined by an online digital draw system. This random number generator was designed and built by Smartplay International and the system is kept in a highly secure room that is locked and under 24-hour surveillance. Multi-state lotteries Mega Millions and Powerball are drawn outside of Illinois and use traditional ball machines.

How does Extra Shot work in Lotto?

If you add Extra Shot when you play Lotto, you will receive a seventh number on your ticket. This will be randomly generated between 1 and 25 and gives you more chances to win. It costs an additional $1 per game to play Extra Shot. Go to the Lotto page to find out more about how it works.

Claiming Prizes

How do I claim a prize?

You can claim a prize by visiting a retail store or a claim center, depending on how much you have won. Go to the How to Claim page to learn more. You can also claim by mail or via e-claims.

How do e-claims work?

The e-claims system makes it easier for online players to claim prizes, as you can just fill out a form online to arrange payment of your winnings. You can claim prizes of up to $10,000 via the e-claims process.

Do I have to pay taxes on lottery winnings in Illinois?

Yes. All lottery winnings in Illinois are taxable. Visit the Taxes page to find out how much will be withheld if you win.

How long do I have to claim lottery winnings in Illinois?

You have one year from the date of the winning draw to claim lottery prizes in Illinois. However, if you win a jackpot in Mega Millions, Lotto or Powerball, you must come forward within 60 days if you would prefer to take the cash option rather than the annuity.

What’s the difference between the cash and annuity options?

The cash option for jackpot winners is a lump sum for all the money that is available at the time of the draw. The annuity option is a series of graduated payments over 29 years. Find out more by going to the Cash vs Annuity page.

What happens to a prize if a winner dies before they receive it all?

If a winner dies before they have received all their payments, the rest of the money is paid to their estate.

Can I stay anonymous if I win a prize?

You can stay anonymous if you win a prize of $250,000 or more. You will need to indicate that you wish to remain private when you fill in your Claim Form, otherwise the Illinois Lottery will publish information such as your name and home city.