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Illinois Lottery

We cover all types of legal gambling in Illinois, and the Illinois Lottery is certainly one of the most popular forms of gaming in the state. People have questions about various aspects of the IL lottery, and we provide all the answers right here.

Fact checked by: Gary Garry
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Currently available Illinois Lottery games

There are a lot of ways to play the lottery in the great state of Illinois. You can go for the big money or take a shot at a lower payout with a better chance of winning.

Let’s look at the different lottery games that are available in the Prairie State.

Big-money progressive games

For many, the lottery dream is a life-changing score. A progressive jackpot gets bigger as more people bet into the pool, and it keeps going up if there are drawings with no grand prize winner.

These are the big-money lottery games that are available in the state of Illinois:

  • Powerball
  • Mega Millions
  • Lotto
  • LuckyDay Lotto

Smaller Stakes

There are also a couple of draw games available that can put some extra money in your pocket. As we have stated, the Pick 3 was introduced in 1980 and it is still going strong.

There is also a Pick 4 with a maximum payout of $5,000.

Instant Scratch-Off Tickets

Retailers sell scratch-off instant lottery tickets of various kinds.

There are tickets that you can purchase for a single dollar bill, and there are a couple of $ 30-a-ticket games with potential seven-figure payouts.

Can you play the Illinois lottery online?

Yes, you can play the Illinois lottery online, and there is a game that is specifically designed for the virtual environment called FastPlay. The games are similar to the scratch-off concept without the paper – they are played in an animated format. You can alternately buy entries in person and scan a bar code to watch the animation.

In addition, you can buy tickets for all the draw games on the Illinois Lottery website, so it couldn’t be any more convenient.

Simply create an account, make a deposit, and buy all the tickets you need. If you choose to do so, you can buy subscriptions to stay in the action on an ongoing basis.

To play the lottery online, you have to be a resident of the state of Illinois, and you must be physically present in the state when you make the purchase.

How do you buy lottery tickets online in Illinois?

To play the lottery online in Illinois, follow these simple steps:

  1. Visit www.illinoislottery.com.
  2. Click or tap the “Register” button in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Follow the instructions to set up your account.
  4. Head over to the “Deposit Funds” page and use a credit or debit card to fund your account.
  5. Go to the “Games Hub” and click or tap “Play” under the game you would like to play.
  6. Complete the form and hit the “Add to Cart” button on the bottom left.
  7. When you reach the cart, consummate the purchase.

You have to be at least 18 years of age to play the lottery in Illinois. This applies to retail locations and online lottery sales.

How are IL lottery profits used?

Proceeds from the sale of all Illinois Lottery tickets with the exception of specialty instant tickets go into the Common School Fund. In 2022, the Illinois Lottery contributed $775 million to this fund. The resources are used to support K-12 public education throughout the state.

The specialty instant tickets that we touched upon are tickets that provide support for specific worthy causes. These would include the Special Olympics, Multiple Sclerosis research, organizations for veterans, police memorials, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, and homelessness.

Do I pay taxes on Illinois lottery winning?

Illinois lottery winnings, and profits from all other types of gambling in Illinois, are subject to regular income taxes on the federal and state levels. In Illinois, there is a flat 4.95% income tax rate.

Under the tax code, if you win over $1,000 in a single payment playing the lottery, 4.95% of the winnings will be withheld by the state.

If you win more than $5,000, there is a mandatory 24% withholding for federal income tax. The rate that you actually pay will depend on your overall tax situation including income from other sources, deductions, credits, etc.

To learn more, have a look at our page dedicated to Illinois gambling taxes.

Illinois Lottery History

The Illinois Lottery was launched in 1974, and during that first year, the offerings were limited to passive weekly drawings. After an initial wave of excitement, enthusiasm dwindled, and the Pick 3 terminal game was introduced in 1980 to give people more direct involvement.

This made a major difference, and sales picked up once again. Subsequently, the lottery added more and more games, and the popularity of the lottery continued to grow. At this point, the lottery is firmly entrenched as a statewide institution.


Who can play the Illinois lottery?

Anyone that is at least 18 years of age can buy lottery tickets at a retail facility, regardless of residence status. However, you have to be a resident that is present in the state to buy lottery tickets online.

Where can I buy tickets to the IL lottery?

You can buy lottery tickets online in Illinois, and there are over 7,200 retail lottery outlets scattered around the state.

Are you allowed to buy tickets in advance in person?

Yes, advance purchases are available for Powerball, Lotto, and Mega Millions at retail locations.

What is a Quick Pick?

When you are playing a game that requires the selection of specific numbers, you can choose a Quick Pick and the numbers will be randomly selected by the automated system.

Fact checked by: Gary Garry