Since the mid-1970s, the people of Ohio have been playing lottery games since the mid-1970s.
The Ohio Lottery has had a significant economic impact, and its billions of dollars in sales have provided funding for public education and state retailers alike.
Naturally, players have enjoyed many prizes during that time as well, further driving the lottery’s economic impact.
Ohio Lottery players are best off knowing what games are available, how to buy tickets, how to check to see if they’ve won, and what to do when that happens. In addition, it’s good to understand the history of the lottery in Ohio and how exactly it benefits all Ohioans, whether they ever buy a ticket or not.
Multi-state draw games in Ohio
In 2002, the Ohio Lottery joined the Multi-State Lottery Association. Through that partnership, Ohioans have access to three of the most popular draw-style games in the country.
A draw game is one in which a series of numbers or other symbols determine winning plays. The object of the game is to have as many of those symbols on your ticket match those that come up in a drawing.
In Ohio, players can purchase tickets for three multi-state games. Technically speaking, these are multi-jurisdictional games since not only can players from many US states participate, but so can those in the District of Columbia (for all three), the US Virgin Islands (for Mega Millions and Powerball) and Puerto Rico (for Powerball).
Lucky for Life
The newest multi-state draw game can be worth more depending on how long you live.
Drawings for Lucky for Life take place every Monday and Thursday at 10:35 p.m. ET. Each ticket costs $2 and players can either select their own numbers or have the computer do an Auto Pick for them. To play, select five numbers from a pool of 1 to 48, then a Lucky Ball number from 1 to 18. This game offers 10 ways to win.
Prizes start at $4 for matching just the Lucky Ball. But there are two grand prizes, and this is where longevity pays off. If your ticket matches all five numbers, you win $25,000 a year for the rest of your life. If all five numbers plus the Lucky Ball on your ticket match, the prize is $1,000 a day for the remainder of your life. Thus, more years equal more winnings.
Mega Millions is the original multi-state draw game but has lost no popularity over the years. Most of that is because of the game’s progressive jackpot. Tickets cost $2, but for an additional dollar, you can add the Megaplier to your ticket. That is a multiplier for non-jackpot winnings.
Drawings for this game happen every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m. ET. Each drawing determines the value of the Megaplier as well, ranging from 2X to 5X. When you select your five numbers and Mega Ball number, you can opt to activate your play for up to 10 consecutive draws.
The bottom prize for matching only the Mega Ball is $2. If all five numbers and the Mega Ball match on your ticket, you win the jackpot. The corporation bases initial jackpot values and roll increases based on nationwide sales.
Probably the most easily recognized multi-state draw game, Powerball costs just $2 and has its drawings each Wednesday and Saturday at 11 p.m. ET. For another dollar, engage the Power Play, which multiplies the value of non-jackpot prizes.
This is another progressive jackpot game, which has seen players win nine- and 10-figure sums in the past. Just like with Mega Millions, each drawing decides the value of the Power Play, but the top multiplier here is 10X.
Matching just the Power Ball will net you a $4 prize, as does matching the Power Ball and one number. It’s important to note that for all these multi-state draw games, you must match not only the numbers but the sequence as well. For example, if a drawing’s result is 6-14-38-39-65 with 6 as the Power Ball, that must be the exact sequence on your ticket to win the jackpot. If you have the same numbers but in a different order, that won’t get you the big win.
State draw games in Ohio
The Ohio Lottery doesn’t leave all the draw-style action to its participation in multi-state games. It offers several titles predicated on its own drawings. The menu of these games offers more frequent drawings and a range of prizes. Through these games, you can get the excitement of seeing if a drawing favors your play on a daily basis.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 7:05 p.m., you can see whether the six numbers on your Classic Lotto ticket match those in the drawing. This game has a progressive jackpot, but you can claim a $2 prize by matching three numbers in sequence. Each play costs $1, but if you like, you can add the Kicker for an extra buck. The Kicker is an instant win mini-game, with a chance to win up to $100,000.
As the Pick 3 name suggests, select three numbers, then wait for the next drawing to see if you’ve won. Drawings happen Sunday through Friday at 12:29 p.m. and 7:29 p.m. and again Saturday at 12:29 p.m. There are several different ways to play your three numbers, and you can wager either $0.50 or $1 on each play. As you wager more, your potential prize goes up as well. For example, a straight bet (matching all three numbers in sequence) with a $1 wager pays out $500 if you hit.
This game offers all the same variety in ways to play as Pick 3. But Pick 4 ups the ante by asking you to include a fourth number. Drawings take place on the same days and at the same times as Pick 3. The top prize in this game is $5,000, and you can wager either $0.50 or $1 on each play.
If you want to really maximize your potential winnings for these daily drawings, you’ll have to maximize your risk by adding a fifth number to your plays in Pick 5. Again, plays cost either $0.50 or $1. Matching all five numbers in sequence in this game gets you a prize of $25,000 on a smaller bet or $50,000 for the larger bet.
Rolling Cash 5
Another daily draw, Rolling Cash 5 drawings take place once a day, at 7:05 p.m. There are four ways to win on your $1 ticket. The upside to this game is sequence doesn’t matter. The winning also starts out at matching just two of five numbers, which gets you your dollar back. If you match all five numbers, you land the progressive jackpot.
Instant win games in Ohio
Many Ohioans prefer to not have to wait for a drawing to take place to find out if their lottery play is a winner. Scratch-off cards are usually the tickets of choice for such gamblers.
The Ohio Lottery has a wide variety of these games, which have prizes escalating along with the tickets’ costs. There’s something for every budget in that range and many of the cards have special themes. An example at each price level:
- $1: I Love To Win asks you to match three identical prize amounts in your scratches, with the prize corresponding to the amount shown. The top prize available is $1,000.
- $2: Customer Appreciation carries a top prize of $500 for simply matching any one or more numbers in the two sets on the card.
- $3: Twisted Treasures requires players to scratch off four numbers then choose a color-coded path. The top prize here is $30,000.
- $5: Double The Money gives you a shot at up to $100,000 if any one or more of your numbers match any of the winning numbers on the card.
- $10: Black Ice has sets of numbers that you have to match in addition to bonus symbols. The most lucrative scratches are worth $500,000.
- $20: Extreme Cash can net you up to $2 million if your scratching reveals the right bonus and numbers from the spots on the card.
- $30: Fastest Road to $1 Million is another matching number plus a multiplier bonus game with the top prize insinuated in the name.
EZPLAY Games are a newer way to win instantly in Ohio. Instead of scratching a card to see if you’ve won, your ticket reveals a set of numbers and symbols that automatically reveal whether a play is a winner.
Prices for these games range from just $1 all the way up to $10. As you would expect, prize values vary and increase as the wager goes up. Some of the games even have progressive jackpots such as found in slots and a special pari-mutuel pool feature called the Countdown Series.
Lottery retailers in Ohio
There are nearly 10,000 places to buy lottery tickets in Ohio. The Ohio Lottery website has a tool that lets you find the retailer closest to your location. Businesses you can find lottery sales at include:
- Convenience stores
- Gas stations
- Liquor stores
- Tobacco shops
- Truck stops
One of the recent innovations for Ohio Lottery players is the introduction of cashless payments at vending machines. Card readers at participating locations accept a variety of electronic payment forms, including third-party wallet apps on smartphones. You can add as little as $10 or as much as $100 to your playing credit.
However, you should note that you can’t withdraw any money from the terminal once you have deposited it. You must play through any funds before you can withdraw them in cash.
I just won the lottery, now what do I do?
No matter how you play or how much you win, there are specific procedures for claiming your prizes in Ohio. For winners of large prizes, usually at least six figures, there are also some best practices. With games featuring large jackpots, winners can decide between taking the annuity option (annual payments) or the cash option (a single lump sum payment), with the choice affecting taxes on gambling winnings.
It’s good to know everything in the video below before you play so you can be prepared in the event you hit it big.
Ohio Lottery app
As is the case with most modern businesses, the Ohio Lottery has its own app for mobile devices. Whether your device runs on the Android or iOS operating system, you can quickly download and install the app.
There are still many ways to utilize the app connected to your lottery play. Those include:
- Buy tickets for select draw-style games
- Customize the welcome screen with your favorite games and results
- Prepare your play slips for buying physical tickets for draw games
- Scan physical tickets to see if they’re winners
- Sign up for the lottery’s rewards program and redeem points for prizes
Who benefits from the Ohio Lottery?
Since the early 1980s, lottery sales proceeds have gone exclusively to benefit public education in the state. That applies not only to K-12 programs but also vocational schools and scholarships for higher education.
The lottery also awards annual or monthly gifts to schools, students and teachers who merit special recognition. In fiscal years 2018 through 2020, the total transfers to education topped a billion dollars each year.
Other charity causes that the lottery partners with includes:
- Buckeye Boys/Girls State
- Coats for Kids Foundation
- Harvest for Hunger
History of the Ohio Lottery
In 1971, Sen. Ron Mottl led a campaign to create a state lottery. Two years later, voters overwhelmingly approved the first form of legal gambling in Ohio.
By 1974, Buckeye 300, the first-ever Ohio Lottery game, went on sale. Seeing value in lottery sales, the state legislature moved to divert profits from lottery sales to education in 1983.
In 1987, Ohioans went back to the ballot box, this time to finalize the legislature’s effort to dedicate lottery proceeds to education. The measure passed by a landslide again.
Mega Millions became the first multi-state lottery game sold in Ohio in 2002. Six years later, the lottery took another step forward in innovating its products with the introduction of EZPLAY Games.
Thanks to all the hard work and innovations, the Ohio Lottery ranks sixth in draw-game sales and 10th in total traditional game sales among all US lotteries.