Connecticut was one of the first states in the country to introduce a state lottery. The Connecticut Lottery sold its first tickets in early 1972. Since then, lottery players in the Constitution State have won billions of dollars playing their favorite draw and instant win games.
Since its inception, the Connecticut Lottery has earmarked a large portion of the money not awarded as prizes for the state’s General Fund. A multi-purpose fund financing numerous state services, the General Fund has received more than $10 billion from the lottery during its history.
Here is a look at the many choices of games lottery players in Connecticut can play, including multi-state draw games, Connecticut-specific draw games, and instant win games. In addition, you will discover where to play the lottery in Connecticut, what to do if you win, and how to take advantage of the Connecticut Lottery via its website and mobile app.
Multi-state draw games in Connecticut
Connecticut is one of 45 states plus Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC, that participates in multi-state lotteries facilitated by the Multi-State Lottery Association. These are drawings for which players in Connecticut participate with those in other states for a shot at huge jackpots created by the millions of players taking part.
The two largest and most popular of these multi-state draw games are Powerball and Mega Millions. Connecticut also hosts its own multi-state draw game, Lucky for Life.
Powerball is America’s most famous and largest multi-state draw game. Drawings take place each Wednesday and Saturday nights at 10:59 p.m. ET. In August 2021, a third weekly Powerball drawing on Monday nights will be added.
Powerball tickets cost $2. For another $1, players can add the Power Play option that multiplies non-jackpot prizes by 10. Players choose five numbers between 1 and 69 (the white balls) plus a sixth number between 1 and 26 (the red Powerball).
Getting all six numbers correct wins the jackpot. If no one matches all the numbers, the jackpot increases. The chance of managing that feat is 1 in 292.2 million. Getting the five white numbers correct without the Powerball wins $1 million.
Powerball first launched in 1992 with 23 states participating. Since Mississippi joined in Jan. 2020, there are now 45 states in the pool, plus the three other jurisdictions. The largest Powerball jackpot ever won came in 2016 and was worth $1.586 billion. Three winners split that prize, each in different states.
Connecticut joined the Powerball in 1995. Since then, there have been eight Powerball winners from Connecticut.
The largest lottery jackpot ever won in Connecticut came in the Powerball. In November 2011, three players from Greenwich together won a $254.2 million jackpot. The trio chose the one-time cash payment, making the total prize $151.7 million.
Mega Millions is another popular multi-state draw game with drawings every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m. ET. The game can be played in all the same jurisdictions as Powerball, except Puerto Rico.
Mega Millions tickets cost $2. Like Powerball, in most places (including Connecticut), you can add $1 and play the MegaPlier, which increases non-jackpot prizes.
The game is similar to Powerball in that players choose five numbers between 1 and 70 (the white balls), then choose a sixth number between 1 and 25 (the gold MegaBall). Your chance at winning the jackpot is 1 in 302.5 million. And like Powerball, the Mega Millions jackpot increases each time there is no winner.
Mega Millions first began in just six states in 1996 as The Big Game. The largest Mega Millions jackpot ever was $1.537 billion, won by a player from South Carolina in October 2018.
Connecticut started participating in Mega Millions in 2010. No one from Connecticut has ever won the Mega Millions. However, a player from Stratford did win $5 million in 2018 for getting the five white balls correct (but not the MegaBall) while playing the Megaplier.
Lucky for Life
Lucky for Life is a multi-state draw game that awards a top prize of $1,000 per day for life, plus a second prize of $25,000 a year for life.
Lucky for Life actually started in Connecticut in 2009, where drawings take place each Tuesday and Thursday at 10:38 p.m. ET. Today, Lucky for Life is available in 25 states, plus Washington, DC.
Tickets cost $2. Players choose five numbers from 1 to 48 (the white balls) and a sixth number between 1 and 18 (the yellow Lucky Ball). Getting all six correct wins the top prize, although that’s a 1-in-30.8-million longshot. Getting the five white balls wins the second prize, and the odds of that are 1 in 1.81 million.
All three of these multi-state draw games also award lesser prizes for guessing fewer numbers correctly.
State draw games in Connecticut
There are many other draw games available to play in Connecticut.
Players can participate in Lotto! for $1 and must choose six numbers between 1 and 44.
Getting all six numbers wins the jackpot that starts at $1 million and keeps increasing until there is a winner.
You can also win $2,000 for getting five numbers correct, $50 for getting four right, and $2 for correctly picking three.
Keno is an ongoing game with daily drawings every four minutes starting from just after 5 a.m. until almost 2 a.m. Keno involves selecting up to 10 numbers between 1 and 80.
You can wager different amounts from as low as $1 to as much as $20, and you can also double the wager using the Bonus Multiplier.
Getting some or all of your numbers correct wins prizes of varying amounts. The more numbers you choose and the higher your wager, the larger the possible payouts. The maximum prize in Keno is $1 million.
Cash5 is another draw game that costs $1 to play, plus an option to add $0.50 more to increase your potential payouts. In this game, you choose five numbers from 1 to 35. You can also play Cash5 with Kicker, which requires choosing a sixth number.
Drawings occur once per night. You can win up to $100,000 playing Cash5 without the Kicker option.
Play3 with Wild Ball
Play3 with Wild Ball invites players to choose three numbers from 0 to 9. Tickets cost anywhere from $0.50 to $5 with an option to double the wager by adding the Wild Ball.
For the drawings, three white balls are picked, then a Wild Ball is also drawn that the player can use to replace one of the three numbers.
Play3 with Wild Ball drawings happen twice per day, once in the early afternoon and once at night. Prizes range from $25 to $2,500.
Play4 with Wild Ball
Play4 with Wild Ball plays similar to the previous game, but players choose four numbers from 0 to 9. Also, players have additional options that involve picking the numbers in the exact sequence they are drawn, as well as picking pairs or combos.
Tickets cost between $0.50 and $5, and, again, adding the Wild Ball doubles the wager.
Play4 with Wild Ball drawings also happen twice per day at the same time as the Play3 with Wild Ball drawings. Prizes range from $25 to $25,000.
Instant win games in Connecticut
Connecticut additionally offers instant win games. With these games, players don’t have to wait until drawings to find out if they won. They can learn their fates right away. Instant win games come in a couple of different formats, scratch games and Fast Play.
At any given time, Connecticut offers several dozen different scratch games costing from $1 to $30 to play. As the name suggests, these games involve purchasing cards with hidden numbers or symbols that players reveal by scratching the cards.
Each scratch game has a finite number of winning cards, including those awarding the top prizes. Sometimes the Connecticut Lottery will end a game early if sales are lacking. But most often, the game continues until the last top prize gets claimed.
Those top prizes range from $100 all of the way up to a $5 million prize in the $5 Million Ultimate game. Meanwhile, players can win smaller prizes as well. For instance, in a $1 scratch game, the payouts can range from $1 to as much as $10,000 in some games.
Fast Play games
For those who don’t want to wait to scratch off a card to see if they’ve won, Fast Play games let you know if you’ve won or not the moment you purchase your ticket.
Fast Play games involve buying tickets that get printed on demand from a terminal at a Connecticut Lottery retailer or a Connecticut Lottery Ticket Vending Machine. The tickets feature numbers or symbols, and players simply check to see if they match winning combinations. That’s it.
Fast Play games award progressive jackpots that increase every time another ticket is sold until someone wins. They cost anywhere between $1 and $5 to play. The more you wager, the larger the percentage of the progressive jackpot you can potentially win.
Each game has its own prize structure. Top prizes can go as high as $150,000 or more.
Lottery retailers in Connecticut
You can purchase Connecticut Lottery tickets at more than 2,800 lottery retailers throughout the state. Retailers include convenience stores, groceries, liquor stores, bars and restaurants, and other establishments. Each is easy to identify by the “LOTTERY SOLD HERE” signs.
You can find the nearest lottery retailer by visiting the “Where To Play” page on the Connecticut Lottery website and entering a zip code and/or city name.
You must be at least 18 years old to purchase a Connecticut Lottery ticket. You don’t have to be a Connecticut resident to play the lottery, but the only way to purchase a ticket is to visit one of the lottery retailers in the state.
The Connecticut Lottery and sports betting
Something new for the CT Lottery is sports betting. The lottery will receive one license to operate an online sportsbook and 15 additional retail sportsbook licenses.
In August 2021, the lottery announced Rush Street Interactive will provide the tech for the lottery’s online sportsbook. Rush Street provides online casino and sports betting in a number of states via its BetRivers brand. We likely won’t see BetRivers in Connecticut because of a statute excluding a land-based casino brand working with the lottery. Instead, we could see SugarHouse Sportsbook CT or a new brand come launch.
In addition to an online betting app, there will also be betting kiosks and brick-and-mortar betting powered by Rush Street available at the ten Sportech off-track betting facilities.
The lottery also can name five additional retail locations, one of which will be in Bridgeport.
I just won the lottery. Now what do I do?
So you’re a lottery winner. Now what? Here are a few things to keep in mind when you win playing the Connecticut Lottery.
First off, you should know that, like in all states, lottery tickets sold in Connecticut have expiration dates. Most prizes must be claimed within 180 days. In draw games, that means within 180 days of the date of the drawing. In Scratch Games, that’s 180 days from the stated “End of Game” date. In Fast Play games, you have 180 days from the date you purchased the ticket to claim a prize.
The amount of money you’ve won then determines your next step.
- Prizes $599 or less: Claim at any Connecticut Lottery retailer
- Prizes $600 to $5,000: Claim by mail or in person at any Connecticut Lottery High-Tier Claim Center or at the Connecticut Lottery Headquarters in Rocky Hill
- Prizes $5,000 to $49,999: Claim by mail or in person at the Connecticut Lottery Headquarters
- Prizes $50,000 and above: Must claim in person at the Connecticut Lottery Headquarters
When claiming a prize in person, bring two valid forms of identification. When claiming prizes by mail, you’ll also have to provide copies of two valid forms of ID.
Claiming a prize also involves signing your lottery ticket, although you may not want to do that right away, particularly in the case of larger prizes.
Connecticut Lottery app and website
You cannot purchase Connecticut Lottery tickets online or via a mobile device. However, both the Connecticut Lottery website and mobile app are useful resources for players.
The website includes copious information about every available game, including how to play, prizes and odds, the latest winning numbers, and helpful FAQs. You can find information about new games and promotions, read winners’ stories, locate the nearest lottery retailer, get information about responsible gambling and help with problem gambling, and more.
There’s even an interesting “Number Frequency” feature where you can look up how often numbers come up in each of the draw games like PowerBall, Mega Millions, Lucky for Life, Lotto!, and others.
For mobile device users, the Connecticut Lottery app is available both for Apple and Android devices. You can download it for free via the Apple Store or Google Play. The app includes a variety of information and helpful resources. With it, you can:
- Look up winning numbers
- Find other game information
- Use the “Retail Locator” to find lottery retailers
- Receive information about responsible gambling
- Scan lottery tickets to see if you have won
Who benefits from the Connecticut Lottery?
The Connecticut Lottery contributes significantly to the state’s General Fund, a multi-purpose fund designed to finance many different state services.
During the 2020 fiscal year, for example, the Connecticut Lottery contributed $348 million to the General Fund. That total represents about 27% of ticket sales, with 63% going to prizes and the remainder for retailer commissions and administrative and operating expenses.
The General Fund supports the following services:
- Health & Human Services
- Debt Service
- Retired and Active Employee Benefits
- Judicial & Corrections
- Other Government Services
Over its decades of operation, the Connecticut Lottery has contributed more than $10 billion to the General Fund.
History of the Connecticut Lottery
Connecticut was the fourth state in the country to launch a state lottery.
In June 1971, Gov. Thomas J. Meskill signed into law a bill creating the Connecticut Lottery. In Feb. 1972, the first Connecticut Lottery tickets were sold for $0.50 each, with the top prize $5,000.
The first scratch games arrived in 1975. More games were added, with jackpots increasing to $200,000 and more during the late 1970s. In 1983, Lotto was introduced (later Classic Lotto, then Lotto!), a $1 game for which the minimum jackpot was $1 million. That same year, the total contributed by the Connecticut Lottery to the state’s General Fund exceeded $1 billion.
In 1995, Connecticut joined the multi-state Powerball. More games like Cash Lotto (later Cash5), Mid-Day3 (later Play3), and Mid-Day4 (later Play4) were added. During the mid-2000s, General Fund contributions crossed the $5 billion mark.
In 2009, Connecticut introduced Lucky-4-Life (later Lucky for Life), a drawing game for which the top prize was initially $2,000 a week for life. The title became a multi-state game in which half the country today takes part, with drawings taking place in Connecticut. Now, the top prize is $1,000 per day for life, with a second prize clocking in at $25,000 per year for life.
By 2010, Connecticut joined the multi-state Mega Millions as well. It was around that time the lottery introduced self-service scanners and instant ticket vending machines while also developing and improving the Connecticut Lottery website.
A year later, a group of three players won the $254.2 million jackpot in the Powerball, the largest prize in Connecticut Lottery history. In 2015, the state lottery launched its first mobile app.
All the while, each year, the Connecticut Lottery kept breaking its previous record for contributions to the General Fund, with the overall total exceeding $10 billion in 2019.