Frequently Asked Questions
QUESTION: What games does the Maryland Lottery offer and how do you play them?
ANSWER: The Maryland Lottery offers a variety of games to suit every personality. Click HERE for game descriptions and rules.
QUESTION: Where can you play the Lottery?
ANSWER: There are nearly 4,200 Lottery retailers across the state in venues of all types and sizes:
- Convenience stores
- Gas stations
- Restaurants & bars
- Bowling alleys
- Grocery stores
- Packaged goods
QUESTION: What makes Lottery scratch-off games so popular?
ANSWER: It’s “instant” fun and prizes with Maryland Lottery scratch-offs. With over 50 new scratch-offs available at any given time, there’s something for everyone. Tickets range in price from $1 to $20 and prizes reach up to $1 million! Plus, there are exciting second-chance contests on many tickets.
QUESTION: What do the odds mean on the back of scratch-off tickets?
ANSWER: Winning tickets are distributed randomly throughout an entire game. If the average chance of winning a prize is 1:5, this does not mean there is an automatic winner within every five consecutive tickets. There is no pattern as to where winning tickets will occur. Just as the possibility of purchasing a winning ticket exists, it is also possible to buy multiple tickets back-to-back without receiving a winner at all. Like all Lottery games, scratch-off results are purely the luck of the draw and are simply a matter of random chance. In addition, the odds on the back of the ticket are the ‘overall odds,’ which is best described as the ratio of winning tickets to non-winning tickets from all tickets printed for the game.
QUESTION: Are Lottery drawings random?
ANSWER: Winning numbers have always been – and will continue to be – purely the luck of the draw and a matter of random chance. Numbers drawn for each of the Lottery’s daily drawing games are arbitrary. Every time a ball is drawn, it is an independent and unique event, completely unaffected by what ball was drawn seconds, hours, days, or weeks earlier. In addition, each ball drawn has the same exact chance of being drawn as any other ball in the machine, at any point in time.
Although every ball has the same exact chance of coming up per draw, random drawings do occasionally produce unusual results. Because of this, similar numbers, the same numbers, or even what appears to be a pattern or sequence may be drawn from time to time.
QUESTION: When are winning numbers drawn?
ANSWER: It depends on the game. There are Lottery drawings seven days a week. Following is a weekly schedule of Lottery drawings, which are aired live on WBAL-TV Channel 11:
- Midday Pick 3/Pick 4
- Mon. – Fri.12:27 p.m.*, Sat. not televised, Sun. 12:28 p.m.
- Evening Pick 3/Pick 4
- Mon. – Sat. 7:56 p.m.*, Sun. 8:22 p.m.
- Mon. & Thurs.11:22 p.m.*
- Mega Millions
- Tues. & Fri.11:22 p.m.*
- Wed. & Sat. 11:22 p.m.*
- Bonus Match 5 drawings are now drawn off-air.
You may also watch all local drawings, including Pick 3, Pick 4, Bonus Match 5 and Multi-Match, on MDLotteryTV.
Lottery drawings are monitored by a certified, independent, auditing firm. Winning numbers are published on mdlottery.com, in newspapers and are posted at all Lottery retailers. You can also call 410-230-8830 for our automated winning numbers line.
*All drawing times noted are approximate
QUESTION: Why don’t you air the drawings on Saturday afternoon?
ANSWER: Children’s programming typically airs on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until anytime between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. FCC regulations prohibit the airing of Lottery drawings during any children’s programming. As a result, the Lottery conducts midday drawings off-air and scrolls the winning numbers after the children’s programming. Sunday drawings air unless there is a national program on that cannot be interrupted.
QUESTION: Why does it seem that many winners are from the same county, or area?
ANSWER: The geographic locations of our winners are random. There is no way to predict where the winners will be. However, research tells us that more winners come from areas of the state in which more people are playing (more densely-populated regions). Please take a look at our winner’s stories. There you’ll see that we have winners from all over the state.
In addition to being a high-population area with a sizable number of players such as Baltimore, MD covers 38 zip codes (USPS info). Residents come from localities all over the Baltimore metropolitan area, for example, a winner from 21286 claiming a prize may be listed in a press release as a Baltimore winner, even though residents in this zip code may be from Baltimore, Loch Raven, Parkville or Towson.
QUESTION: How are Lottery winnings paid?
All winning tickets up to $600 can be cashed at any Lottery Retailer or the Maryland Lottery Claim Centers in Baltimore at Montgomery Park or in Lanham.
All winning tickets up to $5,000 can be cashed at any Lottery Agent Plus location or the Maryland Lottery Claim Centers in Baltimore at Montgomery Park or in Lanham. To find a list of Agent Plus retailers, click HERE.
All winning tickets over $5,000 can be claimed at the Maryland Lottery Claim Centers in Baltimore at Montgomery Park or in Lanham.
Click HERE for a list of acceptable identification (necessary to claim a prize over $600) and Claim Center addresses.
Winning tickets must be redeemed within 182 days from the drawing dates or the scratch-off game expiration date.
QUESTION: Where can I find tax information?
ANSWER: For information on Lottery prizes and your Maryland tax obligations visit: http://taxpros.marylandtaxes.com. For information on Lottery prizes and your Federal tax obligations visit: http://www.irs.gov/
QUESTION: Are subscriptions available?
ANSWER: Currently in Maryland, subscriptions are available only for Mega Millions and Multi-Match. You can, however, purchase future plays and multi-draws for Powerball.
QUESTION: If I win the Multi-Match, Mega Millions, Powerball or other multi-year prize, and chose the annuity, what happens to my winnings if I die?
ANSWER: Winners are able to name a beneficiary when claiming an annuity prize. Before you claim your prize, please be aware that there may be tax and/or estate consequences related to how a Lottery prize is claimed and whose name(s) appear on the ticket and claim form. We would recommend speaking with a licensed financial advisor before submitting your claim form.
QUESTION: Mega Millions is played in what states?
ANSWER: Mega Millions is now played in 43 jurisdictions: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
QUESTION: What can I win playing Mega Millions?
ANSWER: Mega Millions jackpots start at $12 million; a second-tier win is $250,000; a third-tier win is $10,000. The jackpot increases after every drawing if no one wins. If you add the Megaplier feature, non-jackpot prizes could be multiplied up to four times. As a special bonus, if you add Megaplier and win the second-tier prize, you automatically win $1 million.
QUESTION: Powerball is played in what states?
ANSWER: Powerball is now played in 44 jurisdictions: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
QUESTION: What can I win playing Powerball?
ANSWER: Powerball jackpots start at approximately $40 million; a second-tier win is $1,000,000; a third-tier win is $10,000. The jackpot increases after every drawing if no one wins. Adding the Power Play® option for an extra $1 per play increases your winnings on all prizes except the Jackpot prize. For instance, a second-tier $1,000,000 prizes doubles to $2,000,000 automatically. For the complete Powerball prize structure, click here.
QUESTION: I play the Lottery every day and need to win to pay my bills.
ANSWER: The Lottery is a game of chance and meant only as a form of entertainment and recreation. No one should depend on the Lottery to supplement their income. If you feel that you may have a problem with gambling, Maryland has resources available for you. Please go to mdgamblinghelp.org or call 1-800-GAMBLER to speak confidentially with someone who can help you access various services including financial help, support groups, and counseling.
QUESTION: How do I contact the Lottery?
ANSWER: You may email the Lottery at email@example.com or call Lottery headquarters in Baltimore at 410-230-8800. We are always happy to hear from our players and will do our best to help you in any way possible.