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Lotto, Lottery Rules

Graphic courtesy Nebraska Lottery
Lottery. Lotteries/Lotto rules and how to play:

(For Powerball rules, payoffs, odds, power play option see Powerball.)

Each national/state lottery has its own rules and they are usually published on their websites. When visiting a lotto or lottery website, look for a link titled 'Lottery rules', 'Lotto rules', 'Rules' or 'Regulations'.

Below are some basic lottery rules or regulations, and how to play the game, and game summary. For lottery tips, books, results and other links, see the 'Topic Menu' on the right.

Game summary

Choose six Numbers from 1 to 49. Six Numbers are drawn plus a bonus Number, out of 49 numbered balls. Match all 6 Numbers to win the jackpot. Match 5 Numbers and the bonus Number to win the second highest prize. Match five, four or three Numbers to win smaller prizes.

How to play the lottery

First, mark six numbers on any individual lottery board, lottery ticket, or lottery playslip, play slip. On some lottery tickets or playslips you can play with more than one set of numbers. You can also buy tickets without completing a playslip. You let the computer terminal choose your six-number combinations at random.

Where applicable, check 'which draw' you are playing and mark it as appropriate on your Lotto/Lottery ticket/playslip.

Some tickets/playslips let you play the same numbers for more than one week (for several draws). You need to mark the appropriate section accordingly. You will only receive one ticket, but your numbers will be entered for the draw-days and number of weeks selected.

Take your completed lottery ticket/playslip to your retailer or lottery terminal. They will enter your selections into the terminal and give you a Lotto/Lottery Game ticket. You are responsible for checking that the information it contains is correct - your numbers, the days you wish to play, the number of weeks and the draw date(s).

Where applicable, you must also check that the bar-coded serial number on your ticket is clearly readable and that the "Void" box has not been marked. Keep your ticket safe. You'll need it to claim your prize, as it is the only proof that you are a winner. It is recommended that you put your name and address on the reverse of the ticket for security purposes.

If the six-number Lottery/Lotto Game selections on your ticket matches the main six numbers drawn in the relevant Lottery/Lotto Game draw - in any order - you are a jackpot winner. You may have to share the jackpot with other winners. You can also win by matching five, four or even three main numbers out of six. Look out for the seventh 'bonus number' drawn. If you have matched five numbers already, matching the bonus number will win you the second highest prize.

Basic lottery game rules or regulations for popular Lotteries

  • You must be 16/18/21 years of age or older to buy Lottery tickets and claim prizes.
  • Players are responsible for checking their tickets before leaving the Retailer location.
  • A ticket is void if stolen, unissued, mutilated, illegible, tampered with or altered in any way, defective or incomplete.
  • The Lottery is not responsible for lost or stolen tickets.
  • A Lotto/Lottery ticket may be cancelled only if presented before the drawing to the Retailer where it was originally purchased. Powerball tickets cannot be cancelled.
  • Multi-drawing bets on the same number(s) may be made in advance for all games. Ask Retailer for details.
  • You must fill in your name, address and phone number on the back of your winning ticket before you file a prize claim.
  • All winning tickets are subject to validation by the Lottery.
  • All winning tickets are bearer instruments.
  • All prizes must be claimed within 6 months/one year from date of drawing.

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