If you have a Minnesota Lottery question, you're likely to find an answer on this page. Below you can check some of the most frequently asked questions relating to prize claims, lotto games, scratch games, Second Chance, odds of winning, where Lottery money goes, and more.

Can lottery winners stay anonymous?

If you win above $10,000, your name and city are private data and not released to the public or media unless you choose to allow it. This also applies to Second Chance winners whose prize is $10,000 or more in cash.

If you win $10,000 or less, your name and city will be public data.

What are the prize claim deadlines?

The cutoff to claim lotto game prizes is one year from the drawing date. Scratch game wins must be claimed within one year of the game's announced end date.

Can I claim a prize by mail?

The MN Lottery recommends claiming prizes of $50,000 and below by mail. You should also sign your ticket, keep a copy of the front and back, and use registered mail when sending in your claim. Find out more on where to claim prizes.

To redeem a ticket worth over $50,000, you'll need to visit Minnesota Lottery Headquarters in Roseville and an appointment is recommended. Call the Lottery at 1-888-568-8379 or 651-635-8273 to talk through your options.

Will I receive a prize payout as cash or a check?

Winners will receive a check if claiming by mail or at a Lottery office. If the ticket is valued at $599 or below, a retailer may be able to cash it.

What's the difference between the cash and annuity option?

Some lottery games offer the jackpot winner the choice of receiving their prize as a cash payout or an annuity.

The cash option is a lump sum payment of the money in the jackpot prize pool.

If the winner chooses the annuity, they are paid an annual amount, funded by investing the money in the prize pool. In total, the winner receives a larger amount than the cash option, since they are getting cash plus interest.

Advertised jackpot annuity amounts are always estimates based on ticket sales as well as the market price on certain securities.

I got an email / phone call saying I won the lottery. Is this a scam?

The only way to win a prize is to purchase a lottery ticket or enter a Second Chance draw on the Minnesota Lottery website. The Lottery will never ask winners to give personal information by phone or email, or ask for payment of taxes or fees before you receive your prize. If you've received a suspicious contact, call the Lottery at (651) 635-8273, then press 2.

How are lottery proceeds spent?

State law sets out how Lottery revenue is distributed. The Minnesota General Fund, which is used to operate all state services, receives 60% of proceeds. The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, which supports environment and natural resources projects statewide, receives 40%.

Where does the money from unclaimed prizes go?

For Minnesota in-state games, the money is distributed to the state's General Fund. For multi-state games like Powerball and Mega Millions, unclaimed jackpots are returned to all participating states according to the percentage of sales they contributed. You can check Minnesota unclaimed prizes that are near their expiration date.

Why does it seem that most winners are in Minneapolis / St. Paul?

The number of winners statewide is in proportion to the number of tickets sold. Around half of all tickets are sold in the Twin Cities, so about half of wins will also occur in the metro area.

What taxes are withheld on lottery wins?

For US residents and resident aliens, the Lottery is required to withhold 24% in federal income taxes and 7.25% in state income taxes (31.25% in total) on prizes above $5,000.

For non-resident aliens, the Lottery is required to withhold 30% in federal income taxes on all Lottery prizes and 7.25% in state income taxes (37.25% in total) on prizes over $5,000.

Please note that withholdings may not meet your total tax liability.

Can a Canadian resident buy Minnesota Lottery tickets?

Yes, anyone who is not a Minnesota resident and is of legal age may purchase Lottery tickets in person from a Minnesota retailer.

If you win a prize and are not a US citizen or legal resident, the Lottery must withhold federal taxes of 30% prior to a winnings payment, as well as state taxes of 7.25% for any win above $5,000. Lottery prizes are treated as income in Minnesota and most of the US.

Is there a limit on the size of lottery pools?

No, but please be aware that each winner will need to complete a separate claim form.

If I buy a Quick Pick ticket, can anyone else get those numbers?

Yes, it's possible for another Quick Pick ticket to receive the same numbers. The Lottery printer uses a random number generator, so previously selected numbers are not taken into account.

Do Quick Picks or numbers players choose win more often?

Every number has just as good a chance of winning as any other number, so the selection process doesn't matter at all. About 70% of Powerball tickets are Quick Picks, and about 70% of winners are Quick Picks.

However, if you use something like a birthday to pick your numbers, you may be more likely to split the jackpot with another winner, since others may also choose the same date-based numbers.

When is the draw break for each game?

You can see the ticket cutoff time for all Minnesota lotto games on the Draw Schedule page.

Do numbers have to match in exact order to win?

It depends on the game you're playing. Daily 3 has different bet types that determine how your numbers can match the winning numbers to score a prize. Your Gopher 5 and Northstar Cash numbers all need to match, but they don't have to be in the same order as the number drawn. For Powerball and Mega Millions, the five white balls may be matched in any order. However, the Powerball / Mega Ball number must be match the number drawn. For any game, you are not allowed to use numbers from different lines to make a winning match.

If odds are 1 in 4, why can I buy 10 tickets and not win?

Odds are valid throughout the entire game, not necessarily within one group of tickets. Winning numbers are randomly inserted while tickets are being printed, and this process is audited.

Does Powerball and Mega Millions money go to other states?

The only money from Minnesota Lottery ticket sales that goes out-of-state is the jackpot prize. All other funds remain in Minnesota.

Has the payout for scratch games changed over time?

Scratch tickets are required by Minnesota law to pay out at least 60% of ticket sales, and games currently pay between 64% and 74%. When the Minnesota Lottery began, scratch-offs paid a flat 60% rate.

Why did a scratch game end before all the top prizes were claimed?

In a word, space! There's limited room in the ticket dispensers, so when new games launch, old ones need to go. Ending a game is based on multiple considerations, such as remaining tickets, sales, available ticket prices and play styles, and more. Also keep in mind that winners have a year from the game's end date to claim, so the last winning ticket may have been sold but the prize hasn't been claimed yet.