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Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our FAQs page. Here you’ll find a list of our most Frequently Asked Questions and our contact information if you can’t find the answers you need.

FAQs > General FAQs

When did the Rhode Island Lottery start?
The Rhode Island Lottery was established in 1973 through a Constitutional Convention. Tickets for the first game, The Lot, went on sale May 21, 1974. The first drawing was held at the State House on May 30. Since then, over $6.9 billion has been generated for Rhode Island and shared by all 39 cities and towns throughout the state, and over $27 billion has been awarded in prize payouts.
How many Rhode Island Lottery employees are there?
There are approximately eighty Lottery employees who carry out or oversee all facets of Lottery operations.
What games does the Rhode Island Lottery offer?
Instant Games; On-Line games (The Numbers, Wild Money, Powerball® Power Play®, Keno, Bingo, Mega Millions® Megaplier®, Lucky for Life), and Video Lottery games. Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) are available only at the state’s two pari-mutuel licensed facilities, operated by the Lottery (Twin River and Newport Grand). Twin River also offers Table Games. Pull Tab tickets are available for charitable organizations licensed by the Lottery to sell Pull Tab tickets.
Who can play the Rhode Island Lottery?
You must be 18 years or older to purchase tickets. All tickets must be purchased from authorized lottery retailers in accordance with Rhode Island Lottery legislative rules.
Where are the nightly drawings held?
Drawings for the The Numbers and Wild Money are held at Twin River Studio and are broadcasted on WPRI-TV (Channel 12). The Daily Numbers drawing is broadcast live Monday through Saturday at 6:59 PM and on Sunday at 6:29 PM. The live drawing and broadcast for Wild Money takes place at 7:29 PM on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The drawing hosts/hostesses are Communications students selected by audition from area colleges and universities.
How does the Lottery make sure its drawings are random?
The Rhode Island Lottery goes to great lengths to ensure the randomness of its drawings and to eliminate any possibility of a breach of security that could jeopardize integrity. All equipment used in the drawings is secured at the Twin River Studio. For each game, multiple sets of balls are kept on hand and are chosen at random for the nightly drawings. Pretests are conducted prior to every drawing, and post tests are conducted following the drawings. This is done to ensure the randomness of the numbers – that no one digit is drawn more often than another. Each set of balls is periodically measured and weighed down to 1/1000 of a gram. The tests are conducted by engineers from the University of Rhode Island, and monitored by Lottery security staff.
What is Video Lottery?
In Rhode Island, Video Lottery is the legal use of player interactive gaming machines similar to those commonly known as “slot” machines in the casino industry. As of 1992, video lottery was approved, with restraints set forth by law, at two Rhode Island facilities – Twin River (formerly Lincoln Park) and Newport Grand.
How can I get winning numbers?
The official winning numbers can be obtained through the Rhode Island Lottery headquarters. Call 1-401-463-7770 to verify. Numbers obtained through any Lottery retail location, newspapers, radio stations, or through this Internet site are believed to be accurate, however, the Rhode Island Lottery is only responsible for numbers obtained directly from the Rhode Island Lottery validation staff.

Additionally, you can join our free VIP club and opt to receive winning numbers by email and/or text messages daily.

How long do I have to collect on a winning ticket?
All prizes must be claimed within one year of announced end of game for instant tickets. All prizes for on-line games (The Numbers, Wild Money, Keno, Bingo, Powerball® Power Play®, Mega Millions® Megaplier®, and Lucky for Life) must be claimed within one year of drawing date. Prizes from video lottery games must be claimed within one year of winning.
Can a group of people share a Lottery prize?
Yes, some Lottery prizes (e.g. Powerball®) can be shared. This decision must be made at the time of claim. In order to process individual checks, we need a copy of each person's government issued photo ID and something with their social security number (or they will need to fill out W-9 forms). Once all of the information is compiled, we can process the claim, separate checks and W-2G forms are produced for each player. The individuals and their respective shares are reported for tax purposes. If the Cash Option was not chosen, then the remaining annuity checks are sent to each individual. If a group of individuals share one winning Lucky for Life top prize, or 2nd prize, and decide to take the annuitized payments, they will receive their payments for a total of 20 years.
Are Lottery prizes taxable?
Yes. The Lottery must withhold federal and state taxes from each prize over $5,000.00. The Lottery withholds 24% for federal taxes and 5.99% for RI State taxes. Out-of-state winners are responsible for reporting the income in their respective states. Non-US residents’ prizes are subject to federal back-up withholding. For prizes above $599.00, winners will receive a W-2 tax form.
What happens if I lose a winning ticket?
The Rhode Island Lottery is not responsible for lost or stolen tickets. Protect yourself by signing the back of your tickets, and include your address and social security number. Lottery tickets are bearer instruments. Unless signed, anyone in possession of a winning ticket can collect the prize.
Do Powerball® or Mega Millions® players have to choose between the cash or annuity option before buying the ticket?
No, you may choose cash or annuity up to 60 days after becoming entitled to a jackpot prize. Internal Revenue Service rules govern this issue. At one time, the annuity or cash option was required at the time a ticket was purchased. After the enactment of Internal Revenue Code section 451h, a player now may switch from annuity to cash – or vice versa - within 60 days of becoming entitled to a jackpot prize.
Why is the cash amount of the Powerball® and Mega Millions® jackpot less than the annuity amount?
The annuity amount is the value of the cash amount invested in securities over 30 years.
What happens to annual jackpot payments if the winner dies before collecting all of the prize installments?
In case of a winner’s death, the Rhode Island Lottery will continue to pay the annual payments, as scheduled, to the winner's estate, trust or person(s) named in his or her will. The Lottery does not keep the money; the state does not take it. It is possible for an estate to request to have a lump sum payment in lieu of continuing the annuity payments.
Since several states sell Powerball®, Mega Millions®, and Lucky for Life® where do the profits from the tickets sold in Rhode Island go?
The profits from Powerball®, Mega Millions®, and Lucky for Life® tickets sold in Rhode Island stay in Rhode Island.
How many Rhode Island players have won Powerball® jackpot prizes?
Eight Rhode Island players have won Powerball® jackpots. The largest of those was a $336,400,000 Powerball® prize claimed in the name of the Rainbow Sherbert Trust. That ticket was purchased at Stop & Shop, 250 Bellevue Ave., Newport, RI for the drawing held on February 11, 2012. The odds of winning for every ticket are exactly the same, regardless of the state in which it was purchased. Understandably, however, there will be more winners in areas of greater population because of increased participation level.
Where does all the money from Lottery sales go?
In general, revenues from all Rhode Island Lottery games are divided as follows: 80.46% prize awards; 9.91% General Fund; 9.26% commissions; 0.37% lottery operations and other costs. Of the money that is placed into the state’s General Fund, it is distributed among the state’s 39 communities for programs in Human Services, Education, General Government, Public Safety and Natural Resources. Additionally, certain funds are allocated to the Distressed Communities Relief Fund.
Who decides how proceeds are used?
The Lottery, itself, has no authority over where proceeds are directed. Each year the Rhode Island Legislature appropriates money from the State’s General Fund among the state’s 39 cities and towns. The revenues from Lottery offer tax relief to residents while making it possible to implement and enhance programs in education, public safety, law enforcement, and human services for elderly and others in need.
Can lottery tickets be purchased by phone, mail or Internet?
No. Current law prohibits such sales. Also, federal interstate trade laws prohibit the sale of tickets across state lines. Tickets must be purchased at an authorized Rhode Island Lottery Retailer.
How do I collect my winnings, and what identification do I need?
Lottery Retailers can pay prizes up to $599. Prizes over $599 must be claimed at Lottery headquarters. For prizes over $599, you must provide your valid, government-issued photo identification and your Social Security number.
Can a winner receive their winnings annonymously?
While the Lottery will do everything possible to keep a winner’s information private if requested by the winner, in Rhode Island and most other states, this information falls under the Freedom of Information Act, and a winner’s name and city or town of residency must be released upon request.
What do I do if I win a significant prize amount?
Always sign the back of your ticket. Get professional financial and legal advice. Lastly, call the Lottery in advance of coming in to claim so we can walk you through the claim process and provide an effortless experience.
If I win the top prize or second prize in Lucky for Life®, is there a cash option I can take?
Yes, you can choose to collect your prize in one lump sum payment.
What happens to Lucky for Life® payments if the winner dies before collecting prize for minimum of 20 years?
Should a Lucky for Life® winner die before collecting payments for the minimum of 20 years, the Rhode Island Lottery will continue to pay the annual payments, as scheduled, to the winner's estate, trust or person(s) named in his or her will, for the remaining years.
If I bought a Powerball®, Mega Millions®, or Lucky for Life® ticket in another state, can I claim my prize in Rhode Island?
No. You must claim a prize on a winning Powerball®, Mega Millions®, or Lucky for Life® in the state where it was purchased.

If your question isn't answered here, call the Rhode Island Lottery, 401.463.6500.

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This website,, is the official website of the Rhode Island Lottery. It is UNLAWFUL for anyone under the age of 18 to play the Lottery. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the winning numbers information on this website, mistakes can occur. If you have questions about winning numbers, contact the Lottery at 401.463.6500 or visit your nearest Lottery Retailer for the official winning numbers and game information.

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