Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy Wisconsin Lottery tickets?
Can I buy Wisconsin Lottery tickets using a credit card?
No. You cannot use your credit card to purchase lottery tickets. By law, lottery
tickets may only be purchased with cash.
At what age can I buy Wisconsin Lottery tickets?
You may purchase tickets if you are 18 years or older. Minors may receive tickets
Can I buy tickets through a subscription, by mail, or through the internet?
What happens to tickets that are lost, stolen or printed in error?
By law, Wisconsin Lottery tickets are bearer instruments; whoever signs the back
of the ticket is considered the rightful owner. We recommend signing your tickets
as soon as you purchase them. A Wisconsin Lottery ticket cannot be voided; once
printed there is no way to cancel it. Please be sure to check your ticket carefully
after purchasing to make sure it is what you requested.
Are most lotto tickets quick picks or personally selected?
70-80% of all Powerball, Mega Millions, Megabucks, Badger 5 and SuperCash! tickets
sold, are quick picks.
70-80 % of all winning Powerball, Mega Millions, Megabucks,
Badger 5 and SuperCash! tickets are quick picks.
70-80% of all Pick 3 and Pick 4
tickets sold are personally selected.
70-80 % of all winning Pick 3 and Pick 4 tickets
are personally selected.
What is Lucky 7?
Seven lotto games for $7. It’s a quick pick for the next draw. Includes: $2
Powerball, $1 Mega Millions, Megabucks, SuperCash! and Badger 5 tickets and $.50
box tickets for Pick 3 and Pick 4.
How are winning tickets distributed?
Wisconsin Lottery winning tickets are distributed randomly. We have no control over
who wins or where the winner is from. Areas in Wisconsin with higher populations
tend to have more retailers. These areas may also have more sales and more winners.
Since winners are chosen randomly, a city or area may have many winners in a short
time frame. Other times, a city or area may go a long period of time without big
What should I do if I have a winning ticket?
Where are the Lottery offices located?
How long do I have to claim a winning ticket?
Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings?
Yes. All lottery winnings are taxable. We automatically deduct 25% in federal tax
for winnings over $5,000 and 7.65% in state income tax for winnings over $1,999.
Can a winner remain anonymous?
No. Wisconsin has an “open records law.” Most information that state
government produces or controls is available to any organization or person requesting
it. Only information “in the public’s interest” may be released
by a government agency. The lottery, upon request, must release the name and city
of the winner. Any other information about the winner will be released only with
the winner’s consent. Likewise, it is the winner's choice if they would like
to speak to the media. It is not required, nor can it be prevented.
What happens to unclaimed prizes?
The value of unclaimed prizes is credited to the Wisconsin Lottery property tax
What happens to the remaining annuity payments if a winner dies before the payments
The remaining payments are paid to the winner's estate. (Wis. Stats. 565.30 (1).)
GAME INFORMATION & JACKPOTS
How are winning Wisconsin Lottery numbers reported?
What is the difference between Cash Option and Annuity?
For every dollar spent on a jackpot lotto game, a certain percentage is placed immediately
into a cash pool. When you win the jackpot and choose the cash option, you will
get the entire amount in the cash pool, minus taxes. After your ticket is verified,
you will receive your cash option payment in one lump sum.
When you win the jackpot and choose the annuity option, the cash pool is used to buy government bonds that pay out over a 25-year period for Megabucks or over a 30-year period for Powerball and Mega Millions. You will receive a payment every year until
the full annuity amount is paid out. Taxes are withheld from each payment. It is
similar to how a savings bond works. A $100 savings bond costs the purchaser only
$50 today. If the holder of the bond waits until maturity, the bond is then worth
the entire $100.
Note: After presenting the winning ticket you have 60 days to decide
on cash option or annuity. After 60 days have passed, if you have not made a decision,
the payment automatically becomes an annuity.
When the jackpots for Powerball and Mega Millions are so high, why doesn’t
the lottery split them among several people?
The Wisconsin Lottery offers many games that appeal to different players. Powerball
and Mega Millions are designed for those who want to win millions. If you are interested
in lower top prizes with better odds, we offer Megabucks, SuperCash! and Badger
What is Super 2nd Chance?
If the overall odds on a ticket are 1:10, why didn't I win when I bought ten tickets?
The odds are calculated by taking the total number of tickets printed divided by
the total number of prizes available. The prizes' location in the game are determined
by random, computer generated formulas. A string of ten tickets may not produce
a winner, but another string of ten tickets may produce several winners.
How does the Megabucks jackpot work?
For every Megabucks ticket sold, a percentage of that $1 is placed into a jackpot
prize pool. The more tickets sold, the higher the cash option. With Megabucks, the
lottery automatically funds a starting cash option of $400,000 and an annuity of
$1 million. These jackpots will not increase until sales have pushed past the base
amounts. This usually takes about eight weeks.
In some cases, the Megabucks annuity jackpot may stay the same or decrease. The
annuity jackpot, funded by the cash pool available to purchase government bonds,
can vary if there are changes in the overall financial markets or the U.S. government's
bond rating. These changes can make it much more expensive to buy these long-term
securities. So, even as the cash jackpot continues to grow, the estimated annuity
jackpot may remain the same or decrease from one drawing to the next.
Where can I find the Game Number on an instant scratch ticket?
On the back of any instant scratch ticket, the game number is the first three numbers
in the string of numbers located immediately above the long barcode (usually found
at the bottom of the ticket back). For example, below you will see the numbers
818 referring to game #818 on the back of a Crossword ticket.
Are the drawings broadcast live?
No. However, Powerball and Mega Millions are broadcast over satellite, so many Wisconsin
stations can broadcast the drawings. Wisconsin stations are not contractually obligated
to show them, therefore, which stations air them and when and how they choose to
do so is at the station's discretion.
All other Wisconsin Lottery games are drawn using a Random Number Generator (RNG).
A RNG is a computer with the sole purpose of picking random numbers. It is not connected
to any outside line or to the Lottery gaming system. These drawing are not televised.
However, videotapes of the drawings are available for public review for 180 days
following the drawing. Results from these drawings are also available on our website,
through many local newspapers, at retailers, and by calling our 24-hour player hotline
at (608) 266-7777.
Where can I find financial information (tickets sales, payouts) for the Wisconsin
If you know someone who might have a gambling problem, urge him or her to call 1-800-GAMBLE-5