Figuring out how to play the lottery in Canada can be your ticket to a life of luxury and wealth.
To help you get there, we will share tips and tricks on how to play, as well as give you all the info you need on the different types of lotteries in Canada, when they take place and how much they pay out.
Let’s get the ball rolling.
How Does the Lottery Work in Canada?
There are 3 nationwide lottery draws in Canada, which you can play from anywhere in the country. These are
- Lotto 6/49
- LOTTO MAX
- The Daily Grand
In addition to these three, there are five smaller regional games that are run and regulated on a provincial basis, including
|Provincial Lottery||Regulatory Organization||Provinces and Territories||Top Prize|
|Atlantic 49||Atlantic Lottery (ALC)||
|BC/49||British Columbia Lottery Corp. (BCLC)||British Columbia||$2,000,000|
|Ontario 49||Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG)||Ontario||$2,000,000|
|Western Canada Lottery Corp (WCLC)||
All the regional lotteries in Canada can be played alongside the major national games.
Did you know: Lotteries have been legal in Canada since 1969?
Who can play the lottery in Canada?
Although the legal gambling age in Canada varies among provinces, anyone over the age of 18 can play the three national lotteries. This also applies to non-permanent residents and international visitors who are free to purchase a ticket and claim winnings.
That said, if you are interested in playing one of the regional lotteries, you need to check the eligibility criteria that apply in your province or territory.
Also, bear in mind that winnings from gambling and the lottery are not taxable in Canada. However, different rules might apply in your country of residence, so if you play the lottery here and win something, it would be best to consult a tax professional back home.
You should also keep in mind that some lottery providers might require that you pick up your winnings in person, which might not be possible if you are no longer in Canada.
How to Play the Lottery in Canada?
Let’s take a closer look at the three biggest national lottery games.
Note: Tickets for each of the nationwide lotteries are available online or at authorized lottery retailers across the country.
How to play Lotto 6/49
- Draws: Wednesday and Saturday
- Odds: 1 in 13.9 million
- Cost: $3
Launched in 1982, Lotto 6/49 was the first nationwide Canadian lottery to let players choose their own numbers rather than buy tickets with pre-printed numbers. Its popularity has been growing ever since making it one of the most played national lottery games in the country.
To start playing you need to choose 6 numbers (or ask for a quick pick) for the Classic Draw. You will also get one computer-generated 10-digit number for the Gold Ball Draw. Players can have up to six selections on one ticket.
So, with this one ticket, you gain access to 2 multi-million dollar jackpots for each draw, including
The Classic Draw
The Classic Draw jackpot is set at $5,000,000. Players choose six numbers from 1 to 49 and if they manage to match six main numbers on one line, they will win the jackpot.
The Gold Ball Jackpot
Held after the Classic Draw, in this part of the game, a winning number is drawn from all the selections issued, guaranteeing a win every time.
Here is how it works:
- Each Gold Ball Draw has 30 balls, 29 white and 1 gold
- The jackpot is set at $10 million
- When a white ball is drawn, the winner gets a $1m prize
- The ball is not replaced and the jackpot grows by $2m
- At the next draw, a ball is drawn from 29 balls
- If a white ball is drawn, someone else wins $1m and the jackpot increases by $2m, reaching $12 million
- The play continues with each draw until the golden ball is drawn, giving the winner the entire prize pot.
The Gold Ball Jackpot can grow to $60 million and more—the fewer white balls remain, the bigger the jackpot will be.
Take a look at this video to learn more about the Lotto 6/49.
How to play LOTTO MAX
- Draws: Tuesday and Friday
- Odds: 1 in 33 million
- Cost: $5
Like Lotto 6/49, LOTTO MAX is run by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation, however, the rules of the game are a bit different.
Here the jackpot starts at $10,000,000 and can go up to $70m. With each ticket, you get 3 7-number selections—the first set of seven numbers from 1 to 50 is chosen by the player, while the other two sets are randomly chosen. You can also ask for a Quick Pick and have the computer pick all three sets for you.
Each ticket gets you up to 5 plays (15 selections).
When the LOTTO MAX Jackpot grows over $50m, additional MAXMILLIONS draws of $1m are held. Any jackpot or prizes that are not won will roll over, so the jackpot will keep growing until it reaches $70, after which only MAXMILLIONS may grow.
If you want to play multiple selections for LOTTO MAX, you can opt for an 8 or 9-number Combo, which cost $40 and $180, respectively.
How to play the Daily Grand
- Draws: Monday and Thursday
- Odds: 1 in 13 million
- Cost: $3
The Daily Grand is the third of the nationwide lotteries in Canada. With this game, rather than hitting a huge one-off jackpot, you have a chance to get $1,000 a day for life, which translates to around $366,000 per year.
To win the top prize, though, you need to match all five Main Numbers on your selection plus the Grand Number. If you only match the five main numbers, you will win the secondary prize of $25,000 a year for life. Players may also win a prize if they get the Grand Number only, although the Grand Number cannot be used in place of any of the five main numbers.
You can pick any five main numbers from 1 to 49 (or have the computer choose them for you). The Grand Number is selected by you from a range of 1 to 7.
Lucky winners can opt for a lump sum of $7m (as the top prize) or $500,000 for the secondary prize instead of getting their winnings as an annuity.
If playing the lottery is not your thing, there are other ways to get rich in Canada.
How to Claim a Prize?
The process of claiming your lottery winnings is determined by which lottery you’ve cashed in on, where in Canada you’re located, and how big your win is.
Important: Lottery tickets can only be redeemed by the person who has signed them, so before you do anything else put your name on your winning ticket.
Here is a quick guide on how to claim prizes depending on which provincial lottery you played.
- Up to $1,000—claim at Lotto Spot retailers or scan the barcode with the mobile app (for tickets purchased through the app). Prizes up to $100 will be automatically validated, while for anything higher than that you will need to check whether the retailer has enough cash to pay out the prize.
- Over $1,001—claim at prize offices, but make an appointment first.
Physical tickets can be claimed by mail as well, although this is not advisable.
- Up to $1,000—claim at an authorized OLG retailer. For online tickets, the winnings will be deposited automatically to your OLG.ca account.
- Between $1,000 and $49,999.90—claim online or by mail by completing the Lottery Prize Claim Declaration Form. OLG will then credit the amount to your account to contact you for more details.
- $50,000 or more—contact the OLG Support Centre
- Up to $200 (or possibly up to $2,000)—claim with lottery retailers
- From $2,000.01 to $24,999.99—claim your ticket in person at a Regional Prize Payout location, at one of the company’s head offices, by mail or online.
- Over $25m—contact BCLC Customer Support
To claim tickets validated at the lottery terminal, contact the company’s customer support service.
- Up to $600—claim at a Loto-Québec retailer
- Over $1,000—by mail, at offices in Montréal and Québec City, or at the company’s casinos.
Note: Different rules may apply if you have won the lottery as part of a group. Make sure to contact the regulatory body in your province or territory for more information.
How to Win the Lottery in Canada: 5 Tips
The lottery is a game of pure chance, but even so, there are some tips you can follow that may boost your chances of winning.
1. Be aware of the odds
You should know what your odds are of winning both the jackpot and complementary prizes, so you can adjust your expectations. This can also help you figure out which lottery game to play—for instance Lotto 6/49 offers lower jackpots but better odds. On the other hand, LOTTO MAX has worse odds, but the jackpot is much bigger.
2. Choose your numbers wisely
When choosing numbers, try not to go for the most common digits, such as numbers that are considered unlucky or lucky all over the world or birthdays and special dates (these limit you to numbers between 1 and 31).
Doing so will not increase your chances of winning, but it will make sharing your prize with other people a less likely possibility.
3. Syndicate playing
For a mathematically bigger chance of winning, consider playing with a group. This way, you can pool your resources, buy more tickets, and subsequently get higher odds. Keep in mind that even though your chances of winning will increase, the prize will be smaller since you will have to split it among the group.
4. Don’t wait to claim your prize
You’d be surprised at how many winnings go unclaimed every year, so if you do get some winning numbers make sure to claim your prize in the allotted time (in general you have two to 12 months to claim your prize, depending on which game you are playing).
5. Stay safe
When playing the lottery, safety should be your primary concern. Unfortunately, there have been many cases of people being scammed out of their winnings or have had people in their life take advantage of them. To avoid such predicaments, claim your prize through an authorized lottery retailer and employ a financial advisor to help organize your spending.
Depending on the lottery game you’re participating in, you can expect to pay either $3 or $5 per ticket.
Statistically, you can. Realistically, though, the odds are against you as the chances of winning the jackpot are between one in 14 to one in 40 million. Still, the good thing about the lottery is that you’re no less likely to win than any other player.
The Daily Grand is one of the easiest nationwide lotteries to win as the odds are 1:13 million, while the odds for the secondary prize are one in 2 million. You still have to be very lucky to hit the jackpot, but the odds are much better than what LOTTO MAX offers.
Typically no, as lottery operators would want to keep the process transparent. However, this varies from one province to the next, so check before you start buying tickets.
It depends on the amount you win. Smaller amounts are processed instantly, while it may take up to 14 days for lottery operators to pay out large sums.
Yes, you can buy lottery tickets and participate online. To do so, you’ll need to sign up for an account on any of the websites for lottery play or one of the top-rated casinos and add money to your account.