California Lottery - Guide to CA Lotto Games & Laws

Learn everything you need to know about California's lottery and scratch-offs

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Legalized in 1984, the California State Lottery has been operating for almost 40 years under the supervision of the California State Lottery Commission. Since 1996, the California Lottery has also been a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association, joining 37 other US lottery jurisdictions.

Over the years, the state lottery has paid out more than $92 billion in prizes and supported public education in the state with over $37 billion. The lottery continues to aid the state, with approximately 87% of all yearly revenues going to beneficiaries.

In this California lottery guide, we’ll tell you all about the availability of online lottery and lottery apps, lottery games you can play, their draw times, additional gambling options, and other important information. These can also give you an idea of what to expect when you use the best scratch-off online casinos.

California Online Lottery

The California Online Lottery is a digital platform that brings the thrill of lottery games right to your fingertips. It offers an easy and convenient way for players to participate in various lottery games without having to visit a physical store. Remember to always check the state’s legal gambling age before playing the lottery. At the moment, you must be 18 or older to be eligible. 

How to Get the California Online Lottery App

  • To get the California Online Lottery app, simply go to the iOS or Android app store on your smartphone or tablet and search for ‘California Lottery’. 
  • Once you find the app, click ‘Install’ and wait for the download to complete. 
  • After it’s installed, you can register an account using your personal information. 

The California Online Lottery app offers a plethora of exciting features. Firstly, it provides a wide range of games, including Powerball, Mega Millions, SuperLotto Plus, and many more. It also allows you to check winning numbers, track jackpots, and even scan your tickets to see if you’ve won.

In addition, the app offers a ‘2nd Chance’ feature, where players can submit their non-winning tickets for a chance to win additional prizes. This feature is exclusive to the app, providing an extra incentive for players to use the online platform.

The app also allows you to customize your experience, including setting up notifications for when jackpots reach a certain amount and offering ‘Lucky Retailers’, a feature that shows the locations of retailers that have sold large numbers of winning tickets.

Overall, the California Online Lottery app is a comprehensive tool that provides a seamless and exciting lottery experience.

California Multi-state Draw Games

California is not just known for its scenic beauty and bustling entertainment industry; it’s also a hotspot for lottery enthusiasts. A significant portion of the California lottery’s allure stems from its participation in multi-state draw games, which promise jaw-dropping jackpots and exciting gameplay. Let’s delve deeper into the multi-state draw games available in the Golden State.


One of the biggest names in lottery gaming, Powerball is a multi-state extravaganza that Californians have eagerly participated in since its introduction to the state.

Players select five numbers from a set of 69 (white balls) and one number from a set of 26 (the Powerball). They can choose their numbers or opt for a Quick Pick, which selects numbers randomly.

Powerball ticket

Tickets are $2 per play, with an option to multiply non-jackpot winnings with Power Play for an additional $1. Jackpots start at $20 million and can roll into the hundreds of millions or even billions. Aside from the grand prize, there are multiple tiers of smaller prizes for matching fewer numbers.

In 2017, a lucky Californian claimed a $447.8 million Powerball jackpot, making it one of the state’s most significant wins.

  • Powerball draws occur every Wednesday and Saturday evening.
  • The Power Play feature can multiply non-jackpot winnings by up to 10 times.
  • California uses pari-mutuel betting for its lottery, so prize amounts may vary depending on ticket sales and number of winners.
Matching numbers Prize amountOdds
Matching 5 + Powerball$194,000,0001 in 292,201,338
Matching 5 + $1,000,0001 in 11,688,054
Matching 4 + Powerball$50,0001 in 913,130
Matching 4$1001 in 36,525
Matching 3 + Powerball$5001 in 14,495
Matching 3$201 in 580
Matching 2 + Powerball$201 in 702
Matching 1 + Powerball$101 in 92
Matching Powerball only$71 in 38

Mega Millions

Mega Millions, another titan in the multi-state lottery arena, offers Californians the chance to dream big with massive jackpots.

Players pick five numbers from a range of 1-70 and a Mega number from a range of 1-25. Quick Picks are also available for those wanting a random number selection. You’ll need to get tickets for $2 per play and you can activate the Megaplier feature to multiply non-jackpot prizes for an extra $1.

Mega Millions

The jackpot starts at $20 million and can soar to staggering heights with each rollover. Multiple lower-tier prizes are also available for different number combinations.

In 2018, a California office pool of 11 coworkers shared a Mega Millions jackpot of $543 million, one of the largest in the game’s history.

  • Mega Millions drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday night.
  • The Megaplier can boost non-jackpot winnings by up to five times.
  • As with other California lottery games, prize amounts depend on ticket sales and the number of winners due to the state’s pari-mutuel betting system.
Matching numbers Prize amountOdds
Matching 5 + Mega BallJackpot 1 in 302,575,350
Matching 5 $1,000,0001 in 12,607,306
Matching 4 + Mega Ball$10,0001 in 931,001
Matching 4$5001 in 36,792
Matching 3 + Mega Ball$2001 in 14,547
Matching 3$101 in 606
Matching 2 + Mega Ball$101 in 693
Matching 1 + Mega Ball$41 in 89
Mega Ball only$21 in 37

Lucky for Life

Another exciting multi-state game that has gained traction among Californians is Lucky for Life, which offers a unique twist – the chance to win every day for the rest of one’s life.

Players select five numbers from a range of 1-48 and one Lucky Ball number from 1-18. The Quick Pick feature is available for automatic number selection. A play costs $2.

California lucky for life

The game’s tagline, “Win up to $1,000 a day for life,” says it all. The top prize grants winners $1,000 daily for life, while the second prize offers $25,000 annually for life. In a recent draw, a Californian bagged the second prize, ensuring a comfortable $25,000 income every year for the rest of their life.

  • Lucky for Life holds its draws every Monday and Thursday night.
  • There are ten ways to win, ensuring a broad range of prize options.
  • The game is played across 26 states, making it a truly multi-state experience.
Matching numbers Prize amountOdds
Matching 5 + Lucky Ball$1,000/Day for Life1 in 30,821,472
Matching 5 $25,000/Year for Life1 in 1,813,028
Matching 4 + Lucky Ball$2001 in 8,433
Matching 4$1501 in 3,413
Matching 3 + Lucky Ball$201 in 201
Matching 3$251 in 250
Matching 2 + Lucky Ball$31 in 15
Matching 1 + Lucky Ball$61 in 50
Lucky Ball only$41 in 32

California Draw Games

In the vibrant landscape of California’s diverse lottery offerings, local draw games stand out as exciting opportunities for residents to try their luck and potentially win big. These games not only provide entertainment but also contribute significantly to supporting various public programs throughout the state. California, known for its progressive spirit, offers a range of local draw games that cater to different preferences and interests. Let’s explore these games in detail, including how to participate, prices of lottery tickets, prizes, and real-life winner examples.

SuperLotto Plus

SuperLotto Plus is a flagship California lottery game that promises sizable jackpots and numerous secondary prizes. To participate, players need to select five numbers from a pool of 47, as well as a Mega number from a separate pool of 27. Matching all five regular numbers plus the Mega number secures the jackpot. The lottery ticket price for SuperLotto Plus is $1 per play.

Jackpots start at $7 million and can grow substantially with each drawing where no jackpot winner is determined. Secondary prizes vary based on the number of matches, with rewards ranging from a few dollars to thousands.

In 2015, a fortunate couple from Chino Hills made headlines by winning a share of a record-breaking $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot, which they opted to receive as a lump sum of $327.8 million after taxes. This lucky lottery ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven store, turning the spotlight on SuperLotto Plus and California’s exciting lottery landscape.

  • SuperLotto Plus is known for its impressive jackpots and substantial secondary prizes.
  • Drawings occur twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • A “2nd Chance” program allows players to enter non-winning lottery tickets for additional chances to win.

Fantasy 5

Fantasy 5 offers a more modest yet still appealing prize pool for players who seek consistent wins. To participate, players select five numbers from a pool of 39. This game focuses on smaller, daily jackpots that start at $50,000.

Jackpots grow until they’re won, making Fantasy 5 an attractive game for those looking for a decent-sized win. Secondary prizes are also available for matching fewer numbers.

In 2020, a lucky player from Hayward won the Fantasy 5 jackpot worth $317,592. The winning lottery ticket was purchased at a local liquor store, turning an ordinary day into an extraordinary one.

  • Fantasy 5 drawings occur every day.
  • The relatively small number pool improves odds of winning.
  • Ticket prices are $1 per play.

Daily 4

For players who enjoy a quicker pace and more frequent draws, Daily 4 is an enticing option. Participants select four numbers (each ranging from 0 to 9) and can choose different play types to enhance their chances of winning.

Daily 4 offers various play types, including Straight, Box, Straight/Box, Front Pair, and Back Pair, each with its own set of odds and potential payouts. Prizes vary based on play type and the order of numbers matched.

A fortunate player from San Jose won $6,000 by playing the Straight play type on their Daily 4 ticket and successfully matching all four numbers in the exact order.

  • Daily 4 draws take place twice a day.
  • Players can choose from different play types to customize their strategy.
  • Ticket prices range from $0.50 to $1 per play.

California Lottery Number Drawing Schedule

Local draw games stand out as exciting opportunities for residents to try their luck and potentially win big. Let’s explore these games in detail, including how to participate, prices of lottery tickets, prizes, and real-life winner examples.

Powerball6:59 PM6:59 PM6:59 PM
Mega Millions7:00 PM7:00 PM
Superlotto Plus7:57 PM7:57 PM
Daily 46:30 PM6:30 PM6:30 PM6:30 PM6:30 PM6:30 PM6:59 PM
Fantasy 56:30 PM6:30 PM6:30 PM6:30 PM6:30 PM6:30 PM6:30 PM
Time Zone: PST

California Scratch Tickets

California Scratch Tickets, also known as scratch-offs, offer a fun and instant way for lottery players to win money. These games are popular due to their immediate payout and the wide variety of themes available. Each ticket comes with a different top prize, ranging from small amounts to millions of dollars. The cost of the ticket often correlates with the potential maximum win, making it an exciting choice for many lottery enthusiasts.

Scratch off nameTicket PriceMaximum Win
$10,000,000 Bankroll$30$10,000,000
$5,000,000 Extreme Cash$20$5,000,000
$2,000,000 Mega Cash$20$2,000,000
$1,000,000 Golden Ticket$10$1,000,000
$500,000 Extreme Cash$5$500,000
$250,000 Crossword$10$250,000
$100,000 Bonus Cashword$5$100,000
$50,000 Bonus Cashword$3$50,000
$30,000 Crossword$3$30,000
$20,000 Lucky 13$2$20,000

California Lottery Laws

Unlike general US gambling laws that focus on the entire nation, the California Lottery laws are designed to regulate lottery games within the state, ensuring fairness and transparency in all operations. They dictate who can play, how winnings are taxed, and the rights of winners. These laws also establish the timeframe within which winners must claim their prizes. Additionally, they determine whether lottery games can be played online.

Aspect Detail
Legal age for lottery game18 years
Tax on winningsFederal tax rate applies, no state taxes
Anonymity for winnersNo 
Limit to claim win180 days from the date of the draw
Online lotteryNo

Overview of the California Lottery

The California State Lottery, also known as California Lottery, is the official lottery game of the state. Founded in 1984, it has since grown to offer a variety of games, including SuperLotto Plus, Mega Millions, and Powerball. The lottery is run from its headquarters in Sacramento and offers substantial prizes, the biggest of which was a $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot won in 2016. The California Lottery website provides information on how to play, winning numbers, and where to buy lottery tickets.

Company NameCalifornia State Lottery
Founded Date November 6, 1984
Headquarters Sacramento, California
Biggest Win in History$1.586 billion (Powerball, 2016)

The proceeds from the California State Lottery are used to supplement funding for California public schools and colleges. As for taxes, while there is no state tax on lottery winnings in California, federal taxes still apply to all prizes over $5,000.

Other Gambling in California

In California, a variety of legal gambling options are available to residents and visitors. The state is home to numerous tribal casinos offering slots, poker, blackjack, and other table games. Horse race betting is legal and available at various racetracks throughout the state. Additionally, charitable gaming, such as bingo and raffles, is legal under certain conditions. However, online casinos and sports betting are currently not permitted in California.

California Lottery Winners

The California State Lottery, since its inception in 1984, has been a game-changer for many, turning ordinary citizens into millionaires overnight. With games ranging from SuperLotto Plus to Mega Millions and Powerball, the lottery has brought both suspense and thrill into the lives of many, while for a lucky few, it has brought unimaginable wealth.

NameDateWin AmountGame
Edwin CastroNovember 2022$2.04 billionPowerball
Jimmie ColemanMay 2023$41 millionCalifornia Super Lotto
Lenora WatsonApril 2023$5 millionScratch-off ticket
Alec BucuApril 2023$5 millionScratch-off ticket
Misael CruzApril 2023$3,987,249Powerball
Ramon TorresJanuary 2023$1 millionScratch-off ticket
John VangApril 2023$1 millionScratch-off ticket
Kaleb HengApril 2023$1 millionScratch-off ticket
Luis CruzMarch 2023$1 millionScratch-off ticket


What does the phrase “Second Chance” on my ticket mean?

Some California lotteries let you enter a losing ticket for a chance at a second reward by selecting the “Second Chance” option on the back of the ticket. To claim your prize, simply create or sign into your account with the California Lottery (via their website). The code is printed on all $5 or more Scratchers, Fantasy 5, and Superlotto Plus tickets.

Can I play lotteries for real money at online casinos in California?

Online casinos are not legally permitted in California, which means you cannot play for real money at online casinos in the state. While California residents can purchase lottery tickets for state-run lotteries online, the online casino market remains restricted. It’s essential to be wary of offshore or unregulated sites that claim to offer such services, as they may be operating illegally. Always consult local regulations or legal professionals for the most up-to-date information and guidance.

Why do California lotteries not offer fixed prizes?

Pari-mutuel betting is the basis of the California Lottery. This means that the awards will be set according to ticket sales. When you think about it in terms of the major national multi-jurisdictional lotteries, this becomes a very intriguing topic. The jackpot for these games is pooled across the entire country. A winner in California, however, may get a different sum than a winner in another state because California’s awards are not standardized.

Can winners of the California lottery maintain their anonymity?

Unfortunately not. If you’re a California resident and you win the lottery, you must make your identity public. Signing the ticket in the name of a trust that the California resident controls is one way to avoid revealing their true identity. After the challenging issue of anonymity is resolved, everyone can feel secure and content.

Is there an app for the California Lottery?

Yes. Check out the state’s website to learn more about the California lotto app where users can examine the latest prize amounts, winning numbers, and results. To see if you’ve won any extra rewards, you can also enter your Second Chance codes.

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