The California State Lottery has been running for more than three decades. Players win billions of dollars every year, and the state gives billions to public education.
There is a great lottery game selection to choose from in California. You can play the $1, $5 or $20 scratchers at your local store, or the multi-state Powerball on Saturdays and win a life-altering jackpot.
The 2021 lottery laws in California
The California State Lottery Act of 1984 created the first legal framework for lotteries in the Golden State. The California State Lottery Commission was founded to help oversee the running of all lottery games.
The CA Lottery launched shortly after the Lottery Act passed. Since then, 50% of lottery revenue has been given to the public in prizes. This rule is written into law under the terms of the Lottery Act. Public education in California receives 34% of revenue.
The Lottery Act was updated in 2010 to allow organizers to pay out bigger and better prizes.
From 1985 to 2018, public education programs in the Golden State have received more than $34 billion.
How to play California Lottery games
Currently, you can’t purchase California lottery tickets online. However, it is possible to obtain tickets at more than 23,000 registered retailers throughout the state.
There are two types of lottery games in California: draw games and scratchers.
You can download the California Lottery mobile app for free to scan and check California Lottery scratchers and draw game tickets to see if you’ve won. The app is available on Android and iOS.
Any prizes less than $599 are exempt from federal tax. There are currently no California state taxes on lottery wins.
The biggest games in California are multi-state lotteries, which are shared with more than 40 US states. Players in any of the participating states can win the jackpot.
Multi-state draw games
The California State Lottery runs eight draw games through the week.
Big draws like Powerball and Mega Millions take place twice a week. Smaller draw games like Hot Spot and Fantasy 5 are available every day.
Powerball (Wednesdays and Saturdays)
The Powerball drawing is California’s largest state lottery game. Around 45 other states participate, which means players across the US can play. The Powerball costs $2 to enter, and drawings are held midweek and on the weekend.
First, you select five white numbers and one red Powerball number. Like in most California Lottery games, you can opt for a “quick select” option in the store to generate random numbers. With the “advance play” option, you can purchase up to 10 draw tickets at once.
If you match the red Powerball, you win $4. Select one white number and the Powerball to win $5. If you match all five white numbers and the Powerball, you win the jackpot worth at least $40,000,000.
If there is a rollover, the jackpot increases by $10,000,000. The winning Powerball jackpot is paid in 30 annual installments or as a single cash option.
Mega Millions (Tuesdays and Fridays)
The Mega Millions is legendary for its big jackpots. It is available in 46 other state lotteries. The jackpot prize is the same across all participating states. However, smaller prizes are based on the number of tickets sold within CA state lines.
To play Mega Millions, select five numbers from one to 70. You also need to choose one “Mega” number from one to 25.
SuperLotto Plus (Wednesdays and Saturdays)
The SuperLotto Plus was the original “millionaire maker” in California.
Drawings take place twice a week. You select five regular numbers and a Mega number. If you match all five regular numbers and the Mega number, you win the jackpot worth at least $44 million.
Every time you spend $1 on a SuperLotto Plus ticket, you receive one entry into the SuperLotto Plus 2nd Chance draw. You can win one of five $15,000 prizes in the 2nd Chance drawing.
California state lotteries
The CA Lottery also offers several localized games that happen daily. These offer smaller prizes than multi-state games like Powerball. However, you can still win a six-figure payout playing these CA lottery games.
It costs $1 to play Fantasy 5. You select five numbers from one to 39.
If you match two numbers, you receive a free play. Match three numbers, and win $15. Hit five numbers, and you win the jackpot.
To play Daily 4, you select four numbers from zero to nine. Tickets cost $1.
You can play in different ways: If you match the winning numbers in the same order, you win the “straight.” Matching the winning numbers in any order grants you the “box” prize. Play the “straight/box” option, and your prize is split depending on the order of the winning numbers.
You can also choose “advance play” and purchase multiple draws in one go.
The Daily 3 game costs $1 to play.
You select three numbers from zero to nine. If you match the numbers in any order, you win the lowest “box” payout. Hitting the numbers in order awards you the “straight” jackpot.
Daily Derby is a horse racing-themed CA Lottery game. It costs $2 to play.
To play Daily Derby, choose three horses from the ticket. You must select one to finish first, one to finish second, and one to finish third and also select a race time. You can get a random selection with the “quick select” option.
In the Daily Derby, you win prizes based on your horses’ finishing positions. A horse win pays $3, with bigger payouts awarded for correct race time, exacta and trifecta.
Hot Shot works similarly to keno. The more correct numbers you select, the more you win. Hot Spot drawings take place every few minutes.
The game costs $1 to $5, $10,or $20 to enter. You can bet an extra $4 and select a “Bulls-eye” number. There are 80 numbers; choose one to 10 groups (“spots”) and a corresponding total of numbers on the list.
In a “10 Spot” game of Hot Spot, you win $3 by matching zero numbers and the Hot Spot. If you match all 10 numbers and the Hot Spot, you win $100,000. Match the Hot Spot and Bulls-eye number to win $300,000.
Scratchers range in price from $1 to $30. You can win several hundred dollars in cash on the spot at your local retailer or a life-changing prize. They are available in vending machines, game points and self-service ticket machines across the state.
Scratchers carry a range of payouts, e.g., $20 scratchers like Monopoly award top prizes worth $5 million, while $30 scratchers like Bonus Play Millions can pay $10 million.
You can check if your ticket is a winner by scanning the unique barcode at your CA Lottery retailer. You claim prizes up to $599 immediately at the retailer.
Here are a few of the scratchers available in California:
- “$weet Ca$h:” This scratcher costs $1 and carries a top prize worth $500. Match your numbers to either of the two winning numbers to win the displayed prize.
- Beginner’s Luck: Beginner’s Luck awards a top prize worth $5,000. You can win in several ways. First, match three like symbols to win the corresponding cash payout.
- California Millions: California Millions is one of three big money scratchers available for purchase. Tickets cost $30, and all games (California Millions, Bonus Play Millions and $10 Million Dazzler) offer a top prize worth $10 million.
You can see a list of “your numbers” along the top of the scratcher. You win the corresponding prize if you match them to any of the 10 “winning numbers.”
Next, you scratch off a prize multiplier. Multipliers are worth 2x-50x the total prize. You might also uncover a “500” symbol and win $500 cash instantly.
Many CA Lottery games offer a second chance to win. You get another shot at winning through Scratchers 2nd Chance by saving your ticket code and submitting it online on the www.CALottery.com website. The second-chance scratchers pay out around $100,000 every week in bonus cash.
The Monopoly scratcher currently features a second-chance promotion with a progressive jackpot. All non-winning tickets contribute to a jackpot that keeps growing. You can win a top progressive, second-chance prize worth $40,000.
The CA Lottery runs a Jackpot Captain program that helps you set up a lottery pool. As a “captain,” you can gain access to online management tools and exclusive offers like SuperLotto Plus 2nd Chance entries for your team.