Since the early 1990s, the only legal form of gambling in Georgia has been the Georgia Lottery.
Since then, revenue sharing from its games has contributed billions of dollars to fund many causes and organizations in the state, benefitting millions of Georgians whether they ever buy a ticket or not.
The programs that benefit from lottery proceeds has expanded over time as well. On a given day, it’s a good bet that the average Georgian, in some way, interacts with some part of public life positively impacted by the lottery.
We’ll detail exactly what that entails, reveal a little about the history of the Georgia Lottery, and break down what it currently offers. We’ll also explain how to play its games, how to see if you’ve won a prize, and what to do in that event.
Lottery games are very accessible in Georgia and made to fit any budget. Of equal importance, the lottery encourages responsible play and has resources for people who struggle with compulsive gambling issues.
Draw-style games are exactly what the name suggests. A drawing takes place at a set day and time, usually involving numbers or other symbols. The object of the games is to match as many of those numbers on your ticket as possible.
The most popular titles in this category around the United States are those offered by the Multi-State Lottery Corporation.
The Georgia Lottery participates in that organization, offering its two draw games to its customers. These games garner a lot of attention in the Peach State and beyond because of their lucrative progressive jackpots, which have soared as high as 10 figures in the past. Of course, smaller prizes are far more common with these games, which also become attractive because of their low cost to play.
Few other lottery games around the world boast equal brand power as Powerball. Tickets for this game cost $2, although you can add the Power Play for an extra dollar. Drawings take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 11 p.m. ET. Those drawings consist of five numbers and a Power Ball number.
Matching all six numbers nets you the jackpot, which increases between every drawing if no one claims the prize. Smaller prizes start at $4 if you match the Power Ball by itself and climb up to $1 million for matching all the numbers except the Power Ball.
Each drawing also consists of a Power Play multiplier, which ranges from 2X to 10X. That multiplier only applies to non-jackpot winnings, however.
The other popular and lucrative game is Mega Millions. Drawings for this $2 game happen every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m. ET.
Mega Millions consists of five numbers plus the Mega Ball. If you match all six, you claim the jackpot. Smaller prizes start out at $2 if you hit the Mega Ball and escalate to as much as $1 million if your ticket matches all five regular numbers.
Should you desire, you can spend an additional dollar to add the Megaplier to your ticket. Doing so will increase the value of your non-jackpot winnings by as much as 5X. Each drawing determines the value of the Megaplier. If no one wins the jackpot in a drawing, the value of that prize increases until someone lands it.
The menu of draw-style games available in Georgia contains several titles exclusive to the state.
These games are available at a range of prices, with potential prizes escalating appropriately. The days and times of the drawings for these contests also happen disparately, so there’s always a drawing coming up. The titles include:
Don’t want to wait for the results of a drawing to see if you’ve won a prize? Enjoy scratch-off cards to do that instead? The Georgia Lottery has you covered.
The lottery has a diverse menu of scratchers for sale at all times. These come at a variety of price points, with prizes escalating along with the cost of the ticket. Here are a few highlights from the current stock:
There are several best practices for what to do and state requirements for claiming lottery prizes. The video below details all of them.
In addition to a robust website on which you can buy tickets and check drawing results, the Georgia Lottery offers a highly functional mobile app.
The app is available for both Android and iOS devices. Visit the App Store or Google Play Store, then search for Georgia Lottery. Once installed, the app offers a variety of amenities:
If you prefer to play the lottery online, you might dig these games.
There are no retail components for this category, so your only options are either the Georgia Lottery app or website.
Essentially, these are virtual versions of scratcher cards. Games range in price from $0.50 to $10 to play, with prize values ranging from a simple return on your wager all the way up to $400,000.
The menu for these games is just as robust as the array of physical scratchers, so most players should be able to find something to their liking.
Although you can buy tickets for many Georgia Lottery games online, there are several types of businesses in the state which have licenses to sell them in-person. Those include:
The lottery website has a handy tool that can show you the closest retailer to your location as well. There are thousands of these retailers in the state, so the odds are that you’re likely never that far from at least one.
You can also buy tickets for certain draw-style games online either through the lottery app or website. Those include:
Coin operated amusement machines (COAM) is a broad category that includes any amusement machine where entering a coin is required to activate the machine.
The Georgia Lottery regulates the operation of COAMs. These machines can include arcade consoles, billiards tables, claw games, jukeboxes, kiddie rides, and pinball consoles.
In Georgia, businesses must have a license from the lottery to offer these amusements to the public.
The largest and original benefactor of the Georgia Lottery is public education. This includes the HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K programs. Since its inception, the lottery has given over $11 billion in HOPE Scholarship funds. On the Pre-K side, the returns have surpassed $7 billion so far. The lottery also supports county governments.
For example, Fulton County has received over $124,000 in technology grants since 1994. That’s besides how lottery sales support local businesses throughout the state.
Retailers earn commissions on all sales and bonuses on prizes paid out on tickets sold at their locations. Statewide, retailer commissions totaled $289.1 million in the fiscal year 2020.
Perhaps the biggest economic benefit to Georgians, though, are the payouts. In FY2020, players won $3.05 billion in prizes. The state got a chunk of that money via income tax withholdings, amounting to $13.4 million. The lottery also employs contractors and vendors in the state to advertise its products, supply its games and help manage its operations.
In November 1992, Georgia voters approved a referendum to create a state lottery. On June 29, 1993, the first tickets went on sale.
It didn’t take long for the lottery to surpass the mark of $1 billion in sales, as it exceeded that mark within the first calendar year. At that time, it was a record for a state lottery. It also started a run of 12 consecutive years of the lottery breaking its own annual sales record.
Over the past three decades, the lottery has achieved other milestones. That includes taking part in the launch of the Multi-State Lottery Corporation, integrating online sales, launching a mobile application, and approaching $5 billion in annual sales (FY2020).
As long as the lottery stays committed to innovating and keeping its content fresh, it will likely surpass that figure soon.