The Georgia Lottery is by far the most popular legal form of gambling in the Peach State. One factor adding to this is the fact that Georgians can purchase lottery tickets online.
During the most recent fiscal year, lottery ticket sales topped $6 billion, with about $3.7 billion going to prizes. More than $1.5 billion of the rest went to fund education in Georgia, including the HOPE Scholarship and the Georgia Pre-K Program, with the remainder going toward expenses.
Here’s an overview of everything you need to know about the Georgia Lottery, including what draw and instant win games are available, how to play the Georgia Lottery online on the website and app, background and history of the Georgia Lottery and more.
Can I play the lottery online in Georgia
Yes, you can purchase Georgia Lottery tickets online. Georgia is one of only a handful of states in the US to allow online sales of lottery tickets.
Nearly all of the games you can play at Georgia Lottery retail locations are also available online. In fact, some Georgia Lottery instant win games are only available online.
The Georgia Lottery website and app
The Georgia Lottery website provides a wealth of information about all of the games and how to play them. When you sign in, you can also purchase lottery tickets and play instant win games right on your computer if you have enabled your account to do so.
The website features drop-down menus linking to all of the Georgia online lottery games, a winners gallery, a searchable winning numbers page and a “Player Zone” with promotions, rules, FAQs and other information about how to play. There’s also a “Benefitting Georgia” section with several pages explaining how the Georgia Lottery funds the HOPE Scholarship program and the Georgia Pre-K Program.
You can check results of recent drawings, find lottery retailers, read news from the Georgia Lottery press center and get information about coin operated amusement machines, for which the Georgia Lottery also provides regulatory oversight. There is also a “Play Responsibly” section that provides extensive information about responsible gambling, online safeguards, links to help and support for problem gambling and how to enroll in the voluntary self-exclusion program.
No matter where you are on the website, at the bottom of the page you’ll find links to download the Georgia Lottery app. The app is available both for iOS (Apple) and Android devices. You can also download it either from the App Store or via Google Play. There is no Windows Phone version of the app.
With the app, you can access all of the same information as on the website. You can also play Diggi Games on the app if you’ve enabled your account to do so. The app does not support entry into second-chance drawings (a perk of the Georgia Lottery Players Club described below).
The app uses geolocation technology to ensure that when you purchase lottery tickets you are within GA state lines. That means when using the Georgia Lottery online app you’ll have to allow it to access your device’s location services, and your Wi-Fi must be on.
How to purchase Georgia Lottery tickets online
In order to play Georgia Lottery games online, you must first register an account on either the Georgia Lottery website or app. The first step toward doing so is to create a Georgia Lottery Players Club account.
The Georgia Lottery Players Club
When you click the “Register” button, you’ll receive an invite to enter some personal information, including your full name, email address and date of birth. You must be at least 18 years old to create an account.
Note that you do not have to be a Georgia resident to create a Georgia Lottery Players Club account. However, in order to play the Georgia Lottery, you do have to be in the state. That said, there’s another step you need to take in order to buy lottery tickets online in Georgia.
Having a Georgia Lottery Players Club account brings certain benefits, as well:
- Ability to enter non-winning tickets from certain games into second-chance drawings.
- Coupon offers.
- Access to winning numbers, jackpot alerts, info on new lottery games and other offers.
- Invites to special events involving Georgia sports stars and celebrities.
How to enable online Georgia Lottery ticket purchases
When you sign up for a Georgia Lottery Players Club account, you will see an option along the way to “Enable this account to purchase lottery tickets online.” If you select this box, you’ll then have to enter more information, including your mailing address, phone number and the last four digits of your Social Security number. You will have to be a GA resident in order to complete this step.
If you don’t enable your account to make online purchases initially, don’t worry. You can always do this later (if, of course, you are a GA resident and at least 18 years old).
A Players Club account that you have enabled for online lottery ticket purchases is also called an iHOPE account. You’ll see the two interchanged sometimes, but that’s the only meaningful difference. An iHOPE account can buy lottery tickets online, enabling an e-wallet in your account where you can deposit funds.
How do you deposit money into your account with which to buy Georgia online lottery tickets? There are three ways:
- Debit card
- Bank account
- PayPal account
In the past, the Georgia Lottery had online players use a prepaid debit card (called the iHOPE Discover debit card) to play the online games. It discontinued that program in 2018, however.
Once you have funds in your iHOPE account, you can play a variety of draw games and keno as well as a large selection of instant win games (all discussed below). Even better, if you win $600 or less, the lottery automatically deposits the money into your account, and you can either withdraw it or use it to buy more tickets.
How do you withdraw your Georgia Lottery ticket winnings? Simply sign into your account and choose “Transfer Funds.” You’ll have two options for withdrawing your money:
- Bank account
- PayPal account
You have to collect prizes of greater than $600 via Georgia Lottery Corp. district offices or the GLC’s headquarters in Atlanta.
Georgia multi-jurisdictional lottery games
Georgia is one of the many states that take part in the big multi-jurisdictional draw games that most of the US plays. Thanks to their widespread popularity, these games can produce enormous jackpots.
Georgia was actually among the first states to participate in The Big Game, the Mega Millions precursor that launched in 1996. In 2002, it changed its name to The Big Game Mega Millions and soon after became known simply as Mega Millions. Just six states took part at first, with a few more joining over subsequent years. In 2010, however, Mega Millions made a cross-selling agreement with Powerball, and suddenly most of the US was playing Mega Millions.
Today 45 states plus the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands all take part in Mega Millions. Drawings occur twice a week on Tuesday and Friday evenings at 11 p.m. ET. In fact, the Georgia Lottery oversees the drawings, which take place at WSB-TV in Atlanta.
Mega Millions costs just $2 to play. Players can add the Megaplier option and pay $3 total in order to try to win increased payouts. Players pick five numbers from 1-70 (the white balls) plus a sixth number from 1-25 (the gold MegaBall). Getting all six correct wins the top prize, although the odds of doing so are 1 in 302.5 million.
In December 2013, Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Georgia, did just that, getting all six numbers correct to win half of a Mega Millions jackpot worth $648 million. She opted to take the one-time lump sum payment and claimed $173 million (before taxes). Her win remains the largest single payout in Georgia Lottery history.
Georgia actually sold Powerball tickets for a short while just before joining The Big Game in 1996. It stopped doing so then, but rejoined Powerball in 2010. Powerball is now available in all the same jurisdictions as Mega Millions, plus Puerto Rico. Powerball recently added a third weekly drawing, and now drawings take place every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET.
Powerball also costs just $2 to play, or $3 if players select the Power Play option for larger potential payouts. Players pick five numbers from 1-69 (the white balls), then one more number from 1-26 (the red Powerball). There’s about a 1 in 292.2 million chance of getting all six numbers correct and winning the jackpot.
Georgia also participates in Cash4Life, another multi-state lottery in which 10 states currently take part. As the name suggests, winning the jackpot awards a prize of $1,000 per day for the rest of the winner’s life (actually delivered in weekly payments of $7,000). Winners can also opt for a one-time payment of $7 million instead. The second prize is $1,000 per week for life (or a one-time cash option of $1 million).
Much like the other games, players pick five numbers from 1-60 (the white balls) then a sixth number from 1-4 (the green Cash Ball). The odds of getting all six numbers are about 1 in 21.8 million.
In-state draw lottery games to play in Georgia
Georgia also offers a number of “in-house” draw games only available in the state. In addition to purchasing tickets from Georgia Lottery retailers, players can also purchase tickets online for several of these games:
- Cash 3 — Pick three numbers (a three-digit number from 000 to 999); cost is $0.50 or $1; top prize is $500; three daily drawings.
- Cash 4 — Pick four numbers (a four-digit number from 0000 to 9999); cost is $0.50 or $1; top prize is $5,000; three daily drawings.
- Cash Pop — Pick one number from 1-15; cost is $1, $2 or $5; top prize is $1,250; five daily drawings.
- Fantasy 5 — Pick five numbers from 1-42; cost is from $1 to $10; jackpots start at $125,000 and increase every time there is no winner; one drawing each night; add the Ca$h Match option for $1 for a chance to win up to $500 instantly.
The Georgia Lottery offers other in-state draw games that are only available at retail locations and not online:
- Georgia Five — Pick five numbers (a five-digit number from 00000 to 99999); cost is $1; top prize is $10,000; two daily drawings.
- Jumbo Bucks Lotto — Pick six numbers from 1-47; cost is $1, but you can add the Ca$h Match option for $1 for a chance to win up to $500 instantly; jackpots often reach seven or even eight figures (in February 2022, a player won $11.6 million); drawings take place twice weekly.
- Print n Play — A variety of print-on-demand games that play like scratch-offs, although with no scratching, just trying to match numbers to instant and unique “draws”; cost is $1, $2, $3 or $5; top prizes range from $50 to $25,000.
There is also KENO!, which you can play either in retail locations or online. The game is like regular keno, with players choosing numbers between 1-80, selecting anywhere from one to 10 numbers. In each game, 20 numbers are chosen, with players winning more for every number they match.
You can play for anywhere from $1 up to $10, with payouts increasing accordingly. When playing online, players can only play for $1, $2, $3, $5 or $10. There are additional Multiplier and Bullseye options that can increase winnings as well. The highest possible prize in the game is $300,000.
KENO! drawings happen every three-and-a-half minutes each day, which means there are over 300 games daily.
Georgia scratch-off lottery games
Like other states, Georgia also has a number of instant win “scratchers” or scratch-off games available to play. For these games, players purchase instant tickets at retail locations and scratch them to reveal numbers or symbols showing whether they have won. In other words, there is no drawing to wait for — you find out right away whether your ticket is a winner, and you can usually collect your winnings right there at the location where you purchased it.
Games range from $1 to $30 to play. Some of the $1 games have top prizes of $10,000. Meanwhile, the $30 games often have top prizes of $1 million or even $10 million.
Georgia Lottery scratchers feature a variety of themes such as bingo, tic-tac-toe, crossword puzzles, holiday-based games and even an Atlanta Falcons-themed game.
Be aware that these scratch-off lottery games have a finite number of prizes available. For instance, the recent $1,000,000 Jackpot game that cost $10 to play began with two $1 million prizes available. Once someone wins both top prizes, there are only the lower-tier prizes left to win.
These scratchers are also of finite duration, meaning there will come a day when the game ends. It’s worth making a note of a game’s end date because instant tickets are only valid for 90 days after the game ends. If you win, you should go ahead and redeem your ticket right away to avoid missing out.
Instant win Diggi Games in Georgia
The Georgia Lottery additionally offers a variety of online-only instant win games called Diggi Games.
At last check, there were nearly 60 Georgia Lottery Diggi games from which to choose. The games range in cost from $0.50 to $20. Players can pick their price per play, with larger buy-ins yielding the largest possible prizes. In some cases, the top jackpots are as high as $250,000 or $400,000.
The games play just like regular instant win games, only instead of scratching off items, you click on them. They include many of the same themes as regular instant win games such as bingo, casino, arcade, tic-tac-toe, crossword puzzles and the like.
Animations and musical accompaniments give Diggi Games a vibe similar to online slots. In fact, some of the Diggi Games share the same titles as popular online slots such as Wheel of Fortune, Da Vinci Diamonds and Monopoly. Here are some of the most popular GA Lottery Diggi games:
- EmotiCollect Super Spin
- Fast Money
- Fortune Skies
- Georgia Jackpot Bankroll
- Jammin’ Gemstones
- Jumbo Bucks
- Lucky 7’s
- Pots O’Plenty
Who benefits from the Georgia Lottery?
Since its introduction, the Georgia Lottery has helped fund educational programs in the state. Two programs in particular receive funding from the lottery:
- HOPE Scholarship
- Georgia Pre-K Program
The HOPE Scholarship — “HOPE” stands for “Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally” — began in 1993 alongside the lottery’s introduction. The program awards financial assistance and grants to students attending both public and private colleges and universities in Georgia, as well as technical colleges. Students earn HOPE Scholarship awards for academic achievement, though there are also HOPE Grants available to anyone seeking a technical certification or diploma.
The Georgia Pre-K Program is an educational program designed to help 4-year-olds prepare for kindergarten. It is a voluntary program for parents wishing for their youngsters to get a head start before their schooling officially begins. The Georgia Pre-K Program also launched shortly after the Georgia Lottery. Initially, the program was just for at-risk families, but by 1995 it opened to all Georgia 4-year-olds. Thanks to the Georgia Lottery’s support, the Pre-K program is tuition-free.
According to the Georgia Lottery Corp., since these programs started, the GLC has raised $24.6 billion to fund them both. The HOPE Scholarships have enabled more than 2 million students to attend colleges and universities in the state. Meanwhile, more than 1.6 million 4-year-olds have participated in the Georgia Pre-K Program. During the most recent fiscal year, the lottery raised over $1.5 billion for educational programs, the highest since the lottery started in the state.
History of the Georgia Lottery
In November 1992, Georgians voted in favor of a referendum to amend the Georgia State Constitution to authorize a state-run lottery. Lawmakers passed associated legislation, the Lottery for Education Act, thereby creating the Georgia Lottery Corp. to oversee and operate the lottery.
In June 1993, the Georgia Lottery sold its first tickets. By then, more than half of US states already had lotteries. Ten other states have legalized lotteries since Georgia, bringing the total to 45.
The lottery was a hit right away, with Georgians purchasing over $1.1 billion in tickets during the first year. The following year, that total increased to over $1.7 billion in sales, and growth has continued ever since.
Georgia might have been a relative latecomer when it came to introducing a lottery. However, the state was more of a pioneer when it first authorized online sales of lottery tickets in 2012. At the time, Georgia was only the second US state to allow online lottery sales, and remains one of just a handful of states that do today.
Those online sales have considerably helped boost the lottery’s popularity in Georgia. For the fiscal year ending in 2021, Georgia Lottery sales were just over $6 billion, the highest in the lottery’s history. That total places Georgia just inside the top five states in the nation in terms of gross ticket sales behind Florida, New York, California and Texas. Georgia has also consistently ranked inside the top five for per capita lottery spending.
You must be at least 18 years old to purchase Georgia Lottery tickets and to redeem winning tickets.
In order to play the Georgia Lottery online, you first have to register for an account and then enable your account to purchase tickets online. You can then transfer funds into your iHOPE account from a debit card, your bank account or your PayPal account.
It depends on how much you win. You can claim prizes of $600 or less at any of the 8,700-plus Georgia Lottery retailer locations. If you win while playing online at the Georgia Lottery website or on the app, the lottery will automatically deposit prizes up to $600 into your iHOPE account.
To claim larger prizes, you can visit one of the Georgia Lottery district offices or the headquarters in Atlanta and fill out a prize claim to receive your money. You can also sign the back of your winning ticket and mail it to the GLC and receive a check in return. It is also possible to claim prizes of up to $25,000 at GLC kiosks at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Yes, in Georgia your lottery winnings are considered income and therefore you must pay both state and federal income tax on money you win playing the Georgia Lottery. If you win more than $600, the Georgia Lottery Corp. will send a report to the Georgia Department of Revenue and to the IRS. If you win more than $5,000, the Georgia Lottery Corp. will go ahead and withhold 5.75% for state income tax and 24% for federal income tax.
The Georgia Lottery Corp. acts as the regulatory body overseeing the operation of the Georgia Lottery and all ticket sales and payouts.