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Questions

Got a Question?

Want to know more about our games, or winning big prizes, or who decides where Lottery dollars go? This is the place.

Playing the games

In Oregon, you must be 18 or older to play Scratch-its and jackpot games like Powerball. You must be 21 or older to play Video Lottery or Scoreboard (our online sports betting game).

Here in Oregon, as long as your winning ticket was purchased inside the geographical boundaries of our beautiful state, you can win regardless of where you might call home. We like visitors! Come enjoy the natural beauty of Oregon and grab a ticket while you’re here.

Lottery games are games of chance, so there is no trick or magic when it comes to winning the Lottery. A visual explanation of how odds work with our games is on our Scratch-its page.

While the odds of winning a smaller prize are often favorable, your chances of winning the big prize are slim, which makes those wins so exciting. If you want to have the most fun playing the lottery, here’s how you do it:

  1. Buy a ticket or two. You have a zero percent chance of winning if you don’t have a ticket.
  2. Don’t buy too many tickets. This should be part of your entertainment budget, something you do just for fun. Overspending on Lottery games or on gambling in general isn’t joyful for anyone.
  3. Know that with every game we sell, winners are totally random. There are no special secrets, hot machines, magical spells, or tips and tricks to winning a game. The winning numbers are randomly generated by a computer and that’s it.
  4. Many of our players ask why bigger states seem to win the big jackpots. It’s simple, larger populations have more people in those states buying tickets. If a state sells a million more tickets, there is more likely to be a winner there. If you want to increase your odds (but with smaller jackpots), try Oregon’s Game Megabucks— the jackpot game sold only in Oregon.
  5. See if your ticket was a winner. You can check your numbers on the Oregon Lottery website or by scanning your ticket (any Oregon Lottery ticket) on our mobile app.

The best odds at winning a big jackpot is Raffle, which is 1 in 250,000 to win $1 million. In fact, those of some of the best odds to win a prize that size in the entire world. Odds are better for winning smaller amounts and vary by the game. Specific odds are listed for each game throughout this site on the game’s details page.

Overall odds refers to the chance of winning across all tickets for the entire game, not for a batch of tickets sold at one location. For example, let’s say a game has 4 million tickets and 1 million of those will be winners. Imagine putting all 4 million tickets into a giant bag and shaking them up so they mix up randomly. The odds of winning will be 1 in 4, but that doesn’t mean if you reach into the bag 4 times then you’ll be guaranteed to pull out a winning ticket. This is essentially what happens with tickets that are randomly placed across the state throughout the entire run of tickets.

The Lottery’s sports betting game, Scoreboard, is available online as are entries for Scratch-it Second Chance drawings. We are aware of the enormous potential and convenience of the Internet and are monitoring state lotteries in the US who do offer online ticket sales. We will continue to provide the latest information about our games, background on the Lottery and other helpful information on this website.

On jackpot games, you can either choose the numbers you want or select Quick Pick to have the computer randomly pick the numbers for you.

The odds of winning are the same, either way. More people choose the convenience of Quick Pick so there are more Quick Pick winners. About 70% of tickets sold are Quick Picks, and because the odds are the same, about 70% percent of prizes won come from Quick Picks.

Short answer, Yes! You win $4 even without matching any white balls when you have the Powerball number. You can get all the details on our Powerball page.

If you only match two white ball numbers, that ticket would be a non-winner. However, if you match the red Powerball and another white ball you win a prize. If you don’t have the Powerball, you’ll need to match at least three white balls to win. Obviously, the more white ball numbers you match, the bigger the prize. Powerball specifics are all available on that game’s section of our website.

If you match the Powerball and one of the white ball numbers, congratulations, you win $4. It’s always a good idea to scan your ticket with the Oregon Lottery mobile app just to be sure.

If you match one number from the first set on Mega Millions, that’s a non-winning ticket. However, if you match just the Mega Ball and no other numbers, go ahead and fist pump, you just won $2. Just to be sure, download the Oregon Lottery mobile app and scan your ticket with your smartphone before you head to the store to collect your prize.

With Oregon’s Game Megabucks, if you match three of the six numbers, you win a free Megabucks ticket (or you’ll win $4 if you added the Kicker). But if you match all six numbers you’ll be living out some dreams and doing that big money dance of joy. Obviously, the more numbers you match with the drawn numbers, the bigger prizes you win. Check out our Megabucks section for all the Oregon’s Game Megabucks details.

Yes, usually a year after the game has ended. Check here to see the last date to claim a prize for a specific ticket.

Mega Millions jackpot reached $1.6 billion in October, 2018. Powerball was a close second at $1.586 billion.

Yes, the Oregon Lottery is proud to have had a few $150 million+ Powerball winners. In 2005, two families shared a $340 million Powerball jackpot. We award millions in smaller Powerball prizes every month. For a list of Powerball winners, you can find the list of winners right here on our website. And if you’re counting, Oregon has had five Powerball jackpot winners.

Here in Oregon we have awarded a $1 Million+ prize and millions in smaller prizes, collectively each month, but have yet to award the big jackpot on a Mega Millions drawing. Maybe you’ll be the first! For specific Mega Millions winners, visit the winners section of our website.

Winning a Prize – FAQ

Celebrate, fist pump, do a happy dance…whatever feels right! Then sign the back of your ticket to show that it’s yours.

Where you claim your prize depends on how much you won and which game you played. Smaller prizes can be claimed where you play or buy your ticket, but larger prizes need to be redeemed by mail or at a Lottery office. Our Claiming Prizes page will give you all the details.

Generally, you get any prize money as soon as your ticket is validated as a winner at an Oregon Lottery retailer or store. If someone wins a large prize, after the appropriate paperwork and background checks are completed, the claim is paid that day. Typically, the whole process takes 30 minutes to an hour. Some people choose to mail in their claim form, which requires 3-5 business days for processing once received. Multi-state games such as Powerball and Mega Millions can take up to two weeks for a jackpot prize to be deposited in the winner’s account.

Our typical open hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but for specific days and details, visit Contact Us.

In the Lottery we use a legal term called the “bearer instrument.” That just means the person who possesses the ticket is the winner. This is why we suggest that everyone signs the back of any Lottery ticket they buy! At the point that ticket is a winner, it is as good as cash, signing the back of it is additional  winthat you’ll receive your prize. So you if you find a winning lottery ticket and can’t find the owner, it stands to reason that you could claim the prize connected to that ticket. The same goes for a ticket given as a gift. The ticket is the bearer instrument and whosoever possesses the ticket can claim an associated prize.

If you win a jackpot playing Powerball, Mega Millions or Oregon’s Game Megabucks, you can choose between a one-time cash payment or receiving 30 annual installments. There are several reasons to choose either way, it’s up to you to choose. All other prizes are paid in one lump sum. We recommend consulting with a trusted financial planner to help you make the choice that is best for you.

Nope. There are just a handful of lotteries in the U.S. that do allow winners to remain anonymous. In Oregon, certain information about Lottery prizes is public record, including the name of the winner, amount of the prize, date of the drawing, name of the game played and city in which the winning ticket was purchased.

Absolutely. Winners of large Lottery prizes often want to share their good fortune with family and friends, and we do our best to accommodate those wishes.

Any remaining payments for a jackpot annuity will go to the designated heir(s) of the estate. This designation can be made when the winner redeems the ticket.

Stories about big jackpot winners spending all their winnings make for engaging news content and interesting conversations. It certainly has happened. While we don’t track the finances or taxes of big winners here at the Oregon Lottery, we often hear back from winners who experienced a life-changing jackpot in the form of phone calls, postcards or social media messages. Generally they are stories of Oregonians who are prudent with their spending, enjoying early retirements, paying off debt, or any number of ways their lives were made easier with the dollars they won.

In terms of best use of the money, there are several important things to consider when someone wins a life-changing prize:

  1. Sign your ticket and validate your win with the Lottery. You have 60 days after validation to actually claim the prize, giving you more than ample time to do the research needed to make the most of your win.
  2. Consult a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a financial advisor. They can help you navigate all the tax implications as well as any financial approaches that best fit your lifestyle.
  3. Don’t be too hasty. Spending recklessly is inadvisable in any situation at best. If you make a snap decision, claim your prize without some professional advice and buy outside your means, you won’t make the most of your Lottery prize.
  4. Celebrate and stay calm. We have several people each year win and claim $1 million+ jackpots, and it doesn’t need to be a stressful or scary process. While we can’t give out any financial advice, we’re here to give you the factual, common sense information you need.

The Oregon Lottery withholds an 8% state tax on all prizes of $1,500 and more. This means that the Lottery will pay your prize minus the 8% state tax. This is in compliance with a state law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2018. Non-Video Lottery prizes over $5,000 will have both the 8% state and 24% federal taxes withheld. Video Lottery prizes only have the 8% state tax withheld.

Claiming taxes on Lottery play or winnings all depends on your personal situation. Players receive a W2G form for tax purposes for prizes over $600 or for any prizes won through Oregon Lottery Scoreboard. Players can also report gambling losses each year as well. It is advised to consult a tax professional to learn more details about how to best handle any tax obligations related to gambling or Lottery prizes.

The Oregon Lottery withholds an 8% state tax on all prizes of $1,500 and more. This means that the Lottery will pay your prize minus the 8% state tax. This complies with a state law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2018. Non-Video Lottery prizes over $5,000 will have both the 8% state and 24% federal taxes withheld. Video Lottery prizes only have the 8% state tax withheld.

How lottery prizes or winnings affect your taxes or potentially unemployment benefits, depends upon your individual financial situation. Winning a lottery prize over $600 does get reported as taxable income, so do any research you need in order to make the best decision for your own financial situation.

Lottery winnings are not taxed twice. Just like a raise in wage, some people who win a significant prize may move into a new, higher tax bracket that may adjust their tax obligations at the end of the year. We advise anyone who claims a prize to consult a CPA or a financial advisor to make sure there are no surprises when taxes come due each year.

To be clear, any large Oregon Lottery prize claim counts as taxable income. This can depend upon whether a winner of a big jackpot prize like Powerball or Mega Millions chooses to distribute via a cash pay or annuity option. An annuity option pays out a larger amount of dollars over 30 years, but each annuity payment would be subject to tax. A one-time lump sum cash payment pays out less overall but as it comes in a single payment, gets taxed at payout.

Based on Oregon law, anyone who claims a prize of $600 or more goes through a background check to make sure they are up-to-date on any money owed to the State of Oregon, including child support. If someone is behind on payments, the amount is deducted prior to paying out a prize claim. This does not include any federal money owed.

Creditors cannot garnish your lottery prizes in Oregon. Typically, a creditor that holds a judgment against a person cannot simply take money from them to pay off the judgment debt, there is a process of getting court-ordered garnishment that generally only touches on a percentage of someone’s work wages. Prizes over $600 ($1500+ for Video Lottery prizes) are reported as taxable income however, so none of this precludes a creditor from admitting evidence of a lottery prize claim to the courts after the fact.

Lottery prize claims do not affect Social Security benefits. Many retirees are familiar with the Social Security benefits test and the good news for winners is that Lottery prize income do not play into that test. If a large prize changes a winner’s taxable income greatly, there could be some Medicare implications. It is always best to consult a financial advisor or a CPA prior to claiming a high dollar prize.

Oregon Lottery prize winnings are not subject to Social Security taxes, but they are included as income when it comes to paying federal and state income taxes.

How the Lottery Works – FAQ

Oregon law requires that at least 50% of the Lottery’s total annual sales is paid to players as prizes. Most of the rest goes to funding state programs. A small percentage is used for operating costs. Click here for all the details.

Nearly every Lottery-generated dollar recirculates back to Oregonians. Based on voter approval, Lottery profits fund Education, State Parks, Natural Resources (Watershed Enhancement), Economic Development, Veterans’ Services, Outdoor Schools and Problem Gambling Treatment. Additionally, Lottery dollars pay hundreds of millions in prizes each year, commissions to businesses that sell Lottery games, contracts to Oregon-based vendors and the salaries of an Oregonian workforce dedicated to doing good things for the state they call home. For detailed allocations of funding, take a look at the Where the Money Goes section of our website.

The Lottery itself plays no role in how or where Lottery dollars are spent. Oregonians vote to approve constitutional amendments that determine the categories of programs that may receive Oregon Lottery funds. Most recently, Oregonians voted to fund Outdoor Schools and Veterans’ Services with Lottery funding.

By law, no more than 16% of total annual sales can be used to run the Oregon Lottery (administrative costs). The Lottery typically operates at less than 4%. This includes things like commissions for the stores who sell Lottery games, the cost of buying and distributing games, paying prizes, and Lottery operating expenses.

No. The Oregon Lottery is entirely self-financed through its game sales and receives no tax dollars to operate.

People who play the Lottery are typical Oregonians in terms of age, income, and education. We update our player profile each year to illustrate the demographics of Lottery players in Oregon

Right now, there are about 3,900 Oregon Lottery retailers across the state.

If you would like more information about the process to apply for Lottery-funded business loans, business support services and grants for community development projects log onto the Business Oregon website (https://www.oregon4biz.com/) or call 503-986-0123.

Any prizes that are not claimed within the designated time are transferred to the State to be used to fund the voter-approved beneficiaries.

Problem gambling and responsible gaming

Current studies show the prevalence of problem gamblers in Oregon to be about 2.6 percent of adult Oregonians, potentially impacting approximately 84,000 people across the state.

The Oregon Legislature directs more than $5 million of Lottery revenue per year to fund free problem gambling treatment statewide. The Lottery dedicates an additional $3 million each year in advertising to connect problem gamblers or others impacted by gambling issues to resources that are free, confidential, and effective. Visit our responsible gaming page for details about the Lottery’s role in responsible gaming in Oregon.

Regardless of the source of a gambling problem — casinos, internet, social games, or Lottery — problem gambling treatment in Oregon is free, confidential and it works. To learn more, start by visiting the Oregon Problem Gambling Resource.

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