New York Lottery Guide: How to Play & Other Details

Fact Checked by Peter Mooney

The New York Lotto is the biggest supplier of draw and scratch games in the country, and it's also one of the best. NY state lottery games began operating in 1967, and the variety, selection and accessibility of the games have only continued to grow.

With online casino gambling still in limbo, lottery games have opportunistically moved into the online space. You can now scan tickets through the official New York Lotto app. And the winning numbers for every recent drawing are available in the app or online.

As mentioned, there's no shortage of games for people in the Big Apple to play. Maybe you like playing the big jackpot games and daydreaming about having the winning numbers. Or maybe you like the instant thrill of uncovering a big win on a scratch ticket. Whether you're an occasional player or a dedicated season ticket holder, the NY lottery has you covered.

The variety of games, ticket prices and potential prizes really do offer something for everyone. And with so many choices, it gets a lot easier to find a game with the right style, price and convenience factor you're looking for. Most of the games are featured in almost every corner store, newsstand and shop.

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Top New York Lottery Draw Games

In terms of draw games, there are multi-state jackpot games like Mega Millions, Powerball and Cash4Life. Then, there is a whole host of state-specific games like the New York Lotto, Numbers Midday, Win4, Take 5, Pick 10 and more. Some of the games have daily draws, while some are on a staggered schedule throughout the week. We'll cover some of those details in the sections below, along with more specific info about the rules, odds, prices and more.



💲 New York Lotto1 in 92
💲 Cash4Life1 in 7.76
💲 Take 51 in 8.77
💲 Numbers Midday & Eveningvarious, depending on game type
💲 Pick 10 (Keno-style game)1 in 17

New York Lotto

We'll start with the flagship for the NY State lotto. In this classic numbers draw, you pick (or quick draw) six numbers from 1 to 59, along with a bonus number. Get at least 3 out of 6 numbers to win a prize, with the jackpot taking home 75% of all prize money. You can play for as little as a dollar, which gets you 2 plays, and you can max out a single ticket by paying $5 for 10 plays.

The jackpot for the NY Lotto starts at a minimum of $2 million and grows progressively as more tickets are played without a grand prize winner. In the past, the jackpot has climbed as high as $65 million. Draws are on Wednesdays and Fridays at 8:15 PM, and you can always find the results for the most recent drawing on the NY State Lottery website. The overall odds of winning a prize are roughly 1 in 92, or 1.09%.


In this game, players choose five numbers from 1 to 60, along with a number from 1 to 4 to be their Cash Ball. Alternatively, they can opt to play a Quick Pick with a computer randomly choosing the numbers for them. Prizes start being paid out for matching at least one number and the Cash Ball, and progressively increase all the way up to the top prize of $1,000 a day for life (which can also be paid out yearly or as a lump sum.)

Tickets cost just $2 apiece, with daily drawings at 9:00 PM. The odds of winning some kind of prize for each ticket is 1 in 7.76 or about 12.89%. This higher-than-expected percentage is probably what leads to such a consistent player base.

Take 5

Take 5 is a simpler game (no special bonus number) and has players select five numbers from 1 to 39. Match at least two numbers to win a quick pick free play, with prizes growing as you match more numbers, all the the way up to a jackpot of over $57, 500.

Take 5 only costs $1 per ticket, and while the jackpot is lower, players have a significantly higher chance of getting the winning numbers. There are two daily drawings, at 2:30 and 10:30 PM. The overall chances of winning a prize are 1 in 8.77 or about 11.40%.

Numbers Midday & Evening

For the Numbers Midday or Evening draws, players choose (or quick draw) just three numbers from 0 to 9. Where the game gets a little more complicated (and interesting) is the different types of plays you can choose. There are straight plays, box plays (which require two identical numbers to hit in any order), combination plays and pair plays – all explained in great detail on the New York Lottery Games website.

You can play for either 50¢ or $1, with prizes ranging from $25 up to $500, depending on how much you play for and what type of play you go for. Some types of plays give you up to a 1 in 100 chance of winning, while others have a bit longer odds, at 1 in 1,000. The Numbers Midday drawing is at 2:30 PM, and the evening draw is at 10:30 PM.


New York Lottery Keno-Style Game: Pick 10

Pick 10, the NY Keno-style game, has players choose 10 numbers from 1 to 80. Each play costs $1, and you can purchase unlimited plays. Each drawing will randomly select 20 numbers for you to match yours to, very similar to how traditional Keno works.

If you match absolutely no numbers, you get the lowest consolation prize of $4, with the other prizes being awarded for matching six numbers or more. Six matches nets you $10, while 10 matches gets you at least a piece of the $500,000 jackpot. (It can be split between multiple winners.) In total, you've got a 1 in 17 (about 5.88%) chance to win a prize, and daily draws are at 8:30 PM.

Mega Millions

Multi-State Draw Games

New York Powerball & New York Mega Millions

Available across 45 states, Powerball and Mega Millions can generate more plays and higher jackpots than almost any other numbers game. The games are very similar, and both involve picking five numbers and a bonus number. For Powerball, you choose five numbers between 1 and 69 and a Powerball number between 1 and 26. For Mega Millions, you choose five numbers between 1 and 70 and a Mega Ball between 1 and 25. Plays start at just $2, and jackpots often reach the hundreds of millions!

Instant Win Games

Instant win games, often better known as scratch tickets, continue to be extremely popular in New York and elsewhere. At any given time, the New York Lottery offers dozens of different scratchers, with a wide variety of themes, game styles and prizes. These are all officially licensed by the New York State Gaming Commission, and available at many stores and retailers. Most scratch tickets range from $1 to $30 per ticket, with some grand prizes in the millions.

New York Lottery App 

New York Lottery App

The New York Lottery Games app has become a great resource for players in the state, and the latest numbers reflect that many people have started using it. You still need to visit licensed stores to purchase tickets, but the app has just about everything else you could hope for. You can find results for any game, and the latest numbers are posted immediately. Beyond that, you can actually scan tickets from the app, set notifications for jackpot amounts, the times for the next draw and much, much more.

Season Tickets

You can purchase subscriptions for select draw games, ranging from two weeks up to a year, right on the New York Lotto website. It's a great way to make sure you never miss a draw, an excellent gift idea and a convenient way to play. You can even have prizes of $600 or less credited directly to your account.

New York Lottery FAQ


Tom Ober is a professional writer living in New Hampshire. An avid Boston sports fan, he's rooted with his heart (and wallet) for the local teams for many years. When he's not stationed in front of a game on the TV, he's probably playing Gin Rummy or a video game that's roughly 30-40 years old.