Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to our FAQs page. Here you’ll find a list of our most Frequently Asked Questions.
When did the Rhode Island Lottery start?
A Constitutional Amendment passed, by a margin of more than three to one, in November of 1973, to create a lottery. Tickets for the first Rhode Island Lottery game, “The Lot”, went on sale May 21, 1974. The first drawing was held at the State House on May 30, 1974. Since then, over $6.9 billion has been generated for Rhode Island and over $39 billion has been awarded in prizes.
How many Rhode Island Lottery employees are there?
There are approximately 104 Lottery employees who oversee all Lottery operations and gaming in the State.
Where does all the money from Lottery sales go?
Revenues from all Rhode Island Lottery games are divided into prize awards; General Fund; commissions; and Lottery operations and other costs.
Who decides how proceeds are used?
By Statute, the Lottery transfers its revenue to the State General Fund, which benefits all Rhode Island residents with support towards tax relief, education, public safety, law enforcement, and human services. The Rhode Island Legislature is responsible for appropriating money from the State’s General Fund among the State’s 39 cities and towns.
What games does the Rhode Island Lottery offer?
Instant Games, Daily Numbers, Wild Money, Powerball® Power Play®, Mega Millions® Megaplier®, Lucky For Life®, Keno, Bingo, Video Lottery Terminals and Table Games (at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln and Tiverton Casino Hotel in Tiverton) and Pull-Tabs (for charitable and not-for-profit organizations only).
Who can play the Rhode Island Lottery?
Persons 18 years of age and older can purchase tickets.
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 evening drawings are broadcast live Monday through Saturday at 6:59 p.m. and on Sunday at 6:29 p.m. The Daily Numbers midday drawings are also conducted at the Twin River Studio and can be found on YouTube. The live drawings for Wild Money take place at 7:29 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The Lottery drawing hosts/hostesses are students from Rhode Island colleges and universities majoring in Communications. Powerball® drawings take place at 10:59 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday and are aired on WPRI-TV. Mega Millions® drawings take place at 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday and can be viewed on YouTube. Lucky for Life® drawings take place at 10:38 p.m. on Monday and Thursday and can be viewed on Luckyforlife.us.
How does the Lottery make sure its drawings are random?
The Rhode Island Lottery goes to great lengths to ensure the randomness, security, and integrity of its Daily Numbers and Wild Money drawings. 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. There is a witness in the studio for all testing and drawings. In addition, each set of balls is periodically measured and weighed down to 1/1000 of a gram by engineers from the University of Rhode Island.
How can I get winning numbers?
Winning numbers can be found on the Lottery’s website, by calling the Lottery’s winning numbers hotline - 401-463-7770, at Lottery Retailer locations, and local media. Players can also join the Lottery VIP Club and register to have winning numbers sent to them by email or text message. The Rhode Island Lottery is only responsible for the accuracy of numbers obtained directly from the Lottery.
How long do I have to collect on a winning ticket?
In the case of Instant Ticket prizes, players have up to 1 year after the announced end of that game to claim a prize. End dates for Instant Tickets can be found on the Validation End Dates page. Prizes for draw games (The Numbers, Wild Money, Keno, Bingo, Powerball® Power Play®, Mega Millions® Megaplier®, and Lucky for Life®) must be claimed within 1 year of drawing date.
Can a group of people share a Lottery prize?
Yes, Lottery prizes (e.g. Powerball®) can be shared. This decision must be made at the time of claim. In order to process individual checks, the Lottery would need a copy of each person's government-issued photo I.D. and Social Security number. Once all of the information is compiled, the prize claim can then be processed, with separate checks and W-2G forms produced for each winner. The individuals and their respective shares are reported for tax purposes. If a prize being claimed is an annuity, annual annuity checks would be sent to each winner.
Are Lottery prizes taxable?
Yes. For prizes above $599, winners will receive a W-2 tax form. For prizes over $5,000, the Lottery must withhold 24% in Federal taxes and 5.99% in State taxes. Non-U.S. residents’ prizes are subject to Federal back-up withholding.
What happens if I lose a winning ticket?
You must present a winning ticket in order to claim a prize. The Rhode Island Lottery is not responsible for lost or stolen tickets. Protect yourself by signing the back of your tickets. Lottery tickets are bearer instruments. Unless signed, anyone in possession of a winning ticket can collect the prize.
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 which requires a government-issued photo I.D. and your Social Security number.
Can a winner receive their winnings anonymously?
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 so we can explain the claim process.
Do Powerball® or Mega Millions® players have to choose between the cash or annuity option before buying the ticket?
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. An estate may also 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 jackpot prizes?
Eight Rhode Island players have won Powerball® jackpots. The largest to date 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. One Mega Millions® jackpot winning ticket was sold in Rhode Island. The $42,000,000 jackpot for the October 13, 2017 draw was split between a winning ticket sold in Michigan and a winning ticket claimed by a father and son from Providence.
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.