The Missouri Lottery has been a part of the gambling landscape in the Show-Me State since 1986. However, there is no online lottery available. All lottery ticket purchases must take place in person at one of the thousands of Missouri Lottery retail locations.
The Missouri Lottery offers both draw games and scratchers. You can also enter the big multi-state drawings like Mega Millions and Powerball. In fact, the Missouri Lottery was one of the original members of the Multi-State Lottery Association that created the Powerball drawing. There are also in-state drawings exclusive to Missouri, although the jackpots are usually lower than the multi-state ones.
Now that other types of online gambling are spreading across the US, it’s natural to wonder if the MO Lottery is about to make a move toward the online space. Let’s take a look at the different lottery options available in Missouri right now and consider as well whether online lottery sales might come to the state.
Mega Millions and Powerball in Missouri
There are three multi-state draw games in Missouri. The first two are the two largest drawings in the US. Mega Millions and Powerball have gone back and forth in terms of superlatives related to their jackpots. Powerball still holds the record for largest jackpot in US history with its $1.586 billion award in January 2016. Mega Millions has topped the $1 billion mark twice, and its $1.537 billion jackpot in October 2018 remains the largest ever won by a single ticket.
The Powerball jackpot has built up to $875 million ahead of the next drawing. That’s scheduled for Saturday, July 15. A single winner would yield a lump-sum payout of just under $442 million after taxes.
Incidentally, there have been multiple instances of Missouri residents winning the Powerball jackpot and the Mega Millions jackpot over the years. While several of those wins have exceeded $100 million, the biggest winners from Missouri remain Cindy and Mark Hill from Dearborn, who in 2012 claimed half of a near-$600 million prize in the Powerball to become $293.7 million richer.
The third multi-state draw game, Cash4Life, is the newest of the three available in Missouri. Cash4Life gives lottery players a chance to win $1,000 per day for the rest of their lives. Jackpot winners can also take a lump sum payout of $7 million from Cash4Life. The second prize isn’t bad, either — $1,000 per week for life or a single payment of $1 million. Cash4Life is also the only multi-state drawing that occurs every day.
Can you buy lottery tickets online in Missouri?
No. At this time, there is no way to buy tickets for Missouri Lottery games online. Furthermore, there are no significant legislative filings that would allow this type of lottery play. Instead, the only recent legislation involving the lottery concerns proposals to introduce video lottery terminals to the state.
Missouri state draw games
Missouri has its own homegrown draw games available, too. Since these games receive funding only from purchases in the state, their jackpots are typically lower than those of the multi-state games. However, they can still result in life-changing money for their winners.
The minimum grand prize for the signature game, the simply-named Lotto, is $1 million. Other in-state draw games are not as lucrative, but players have a statistically better chance of winning. For the most part, the difference between each game is simply the number of picks that you have to match. Here’s a list of the available games:
Lotto, aka Missouri Lotto, is generally the largest in-state draw game in Missouri. You pick two sets of six numbers from two different grids numbered 1 through 44. You can win a $1 free play if you match three numbers, and if you match four numbers or more, you win a cash payout. Lotto draws occur on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The grand prize has a minimum of $1 million. Players may also augment their wagers with EZMatch or Doubler options. The minimum cost for an entry is $1.
Show Me Ca$h
Show Me Ca$h is the next rung down on the Missouri draw games. In this game, you select a set of five numbers from 1 to 39. You have to match at least two numbers to win anything, and the top prize is worth at least $50,000. Show Me Ca$h has draws every day of the week. As is the case with Lotto, there is also an EZMatch augment that can add extra dollars to a win. The minimum cost for an entry is $1.
Pick 4 and Pick 3
Pick 4 and Pick 3 are fairly straightforward in terms of their structure. After all, the way to play is in the name of the games — pick four numbers or pick three numbers. In either case, you must match at least two of your numbers to win.
However, these two games are different from the others due to the fact that there is a tremendous variety in the ways to bet. You can do box bets for all the different outcomes or select segments of your picks to win, rather than simply having to hit the combination of numbers exactly. In a way, these games resemble horse betting, where you can select three or four horses to finish in the top spots, but can dictate different winning combinations.
Both games have two drawings a day. Pick 4 and Pick 3 feature top jackpots of $6,000 and $600, respectively. The minimum cost to play is 50 cents.
Instant win games
The Missouri Lottery offers a large variety of instant win games, or scratchers. Missouri Lottery scratchers consist of preprinted tickets with prizes hidden behind removable coverings. You can reveal the results of your ticket by scratching off the covering with a hard object, like a coin or your fingernail.
Instant win games in Missouri can range in cost between $1 and $50 for a single ticket. There are more than a dozen instant win games in the state that pledge a top prize in excess of $1 million. The highest prize available is a $10 million payoff from the $300 Million Cash Explosion game. The same game also offers a secondary $1 million prize. Of course, the biggest prizes are in the most expensive games. For example, the $300 Million Cash Explosion costs $30 per ticket. The cheapest instant win game with a seven-digit top prize costs $10 to buy.
If you want to play one of these games, it’s also a good idea to check out the scratchers page on the Missouri Lottery website. Because of how these games are created, with a singular mass printing, there are a limited number of top prize tickets, and playing a game whose top awards have already been won can dampen your outlook for a good result.
Club Keno/Keno to go
The Missouri State Lottery offers two keno options, Club Keno and Keno to Go. There are keno drawings every four minutes, and tickets are available for as little as $1. You can purchase tickets for either of these games at any Missouri Lottery retailer.
As with other keno games, both Club Keno and Keno to Go invite you to select a group of numbers from a grid between 1 and 80. You can choose up to 10 numbers. Then, a number drawing takes place, and you are trying to match as many of the drawn numbers as you can. The conditions for a win change based on how many numbers you selected on your ticket. The tip-top prize for one of these games is $1 million.
You can also add as many as four augmentations to your entry if you are willing to pay for them. The multiplier option can increase your prize winnings by a multiple of up to 10. A random wheel spin determines the exact amount of the multiplier.
You can also increase your wager amount and play either the bulls-eye or double bulls-eye option. Bulls-eyes double your wager amount, and double bulls-eyes triple it. In either case, you create your keno entry as usual, but you select either option (or both) and pay the requisite amount. At the end of the drawing, the game will designate one of the drawn numbers as the bulls-eye (red) and a second drawn number as the double bulls-eye (green). If you have matched the number corresponding to the option you chose, you can win up to $1 million.
Finally, there is a progressive jackpot option for games involving six to eight selections of numbers. There is no extra cost or action required to play a game with one of these numbers of spots. Progressive jackpots for eight spots begin at $10,000 and can add a major boost to the outcome for players.
One last group of lottery games available in Missouri consists of pull tabs. Pull tabs are preprinted tickets like MO lottery scratchers, but you purchase them through vending machines at charitable organizations like veterans clubs or fraternal gatherings. You pay for a ticket, pull back the game piece, and consult the screen on the monitor to see if you’ve won. The top prize for these games is usually no more than $600, and they cost either $1 or $2 to play.
Missouri Lottery retailers
Almost any retail outlet can sell Missouri Lottery tickets. As long as there is no evident criminality or other red flags associated with the owners of the outlet, the location is eligible to apply for a license.
Thousands of locations around Missouri sell lottery tickets — typically convenience stores, grocery stores, bars, restaurants, liquor stores and charitable organizations.
What do you do if you win big on the Missouri lottery?
To start with, it is incredibly unlikely that you will win life-changing money by playing the Missouri Lottery. However, somebody has to win, and if you happen to be that person, it’s important that you don’t simply show up to claim the prize the next day after the drawing.
Here’s a simple video to give you some ideas about what to do if you win big playing the Missouri Lottery:
Missouri Lottery app
The Missouri Lottery does have an app. Because Missouri does not allow online lottery sales, however, you cannot buy tickets through the app. Instead, the Missouri Lottery app is more of an informational tool, where you can check recent results, find retailers and examine a map of winners.
The MO Lottery app also serves as the hub for the My Lottery Players Club. This club is free to join, and it can offer several benefits to frequent lottery players. When you play, scan your tickets into the app and use your entries to collect prize points, draw points or instant-win coupons. All of the options lead to more drawings and chances for you to pick up both cash and actual prizes. Drawings within the program can award Apple Watches, GPX portable projector bundles, Troy-Bilt lawn mowers, Weber grill sets or simply more scratchers. You can also redeem points for items like e-books, gift cards and software.
Like any comp system, it’s not a good idea to make receiving a reward your primary goal. Typically, you don’t get it for free. Instead, you pay for it beforehand in “installments.” Still, since it’s free to enter, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enter your tickets if you were planning to play anyway.
What are VLTs?
As we mentioned, the only recent legislation regarding the Missouri State Lottery right now is a selection of bills seeking to introduce video lottery terminals as a new legal option in the state. Lawmakers introduced bills in both the House and Senate regarding VLTs, but nothing has advanced yet.
These VLTs under consideration are very much like slot machines. They use lottery games to determine their outcomes, but from a customer point of view, they are essentially the same type of game that you’d find at one of Missouri’s casinos.
Because of this similarity, it’s likely that the state’s casinos will lobby against these bills. Lawmakers, on the other hand, know that VLTs can mean additional revenue for their budgets, so expect debates about them to continue going forward.
Where does money from the Missouri Lottery go?
The Missouri Lottery began with a goal of raising funds for the state budget, and for the first eight years of its operation, that’s exactly what it did. The funds went directly into the General Revenue Fund, which helps support a variety of programs in the state.
However, that situation changed in 1992 when voters approved Amendment 11 by a vote of more than 3-to-1. The language of the amendment directed the state to use lottery proceeds entirely in support of educational institutions. In 2021, the Missouri Lottery raised more than $345 million for public education in the state.
Missouri Lottery history
In 1984, Missouri voters approved Amendment 5 to enable the creation of a state lottery. The following year, SB 44 passed to create the Missouri Lottery, and on Jan. 20, 1986, the first lottery tickets went on sale for an instant-win game, Jackpot ’86.
In 1987, Missouri was among the first states to join the Multi-State Lottery Association. In February 1988, Lotto America launched. In 1992, the name of the game changed to Powerball, and Missouri took part. Today, 45 states plus a few more jurisdictions participate in Powerball.
As the lottery continued to add games and grow, a new law directed all Missouri Lottery profits to fund public education starting in 1993. By 1997, the lottery had sold more than $3 billion in tickets and raised more than $1 billion for the state.
Today, the Missouri Lottery’s sales regularly approach $2 billion per year. That in turn has meant that each year the lottery typically raises $300 million to $350 million for public education. Through June 2021, the lottery had raised more than $7 billion for the state.
Missouri Lottery FAQ
What is the minimum age for the Missouri Lottery?
Anyone 18 or older can play Missouri Lottery games.
Can I play the Missouri Lottery online?
No, the Missouri Lottery does not allow online sales, and there are no subscription services or ticket-by-mail programs. You must purchase Missouri Lottery tickets from retailers in the state.
Are Missouri Lottery winnings taxable?
Yes, Missouri Lottery winnings are subject to both federal and state income taxes. You’ll need to fill out a Schedule 1 for the IRS and add in your winnings as additional income on your 1040 when you submit your return. You will also need to claim the winnings as part of your taxable income for the Missouri Department of Revenue.
May I claim my winnings anonymously in Missouri?
Yes. Many lottery winners, particularly those who win big prizes, have understandable security concerns about being publicly declared as the winner. It is, in fact, now a crime to publish lottery winners’ identities in Missouri.
What are the different ways to claim a prize?
Small lottery prizes are available to collect as lump sums from any lottery retailer or by mail. You can collect prizes of more than $600 as lump sums by mail or in person at the Missouri Lottery headquarters in Jefferson City or one of its regional offices in Springfield, St. Louis or Kansas City.
Jackpots are only available for people to claim in person at the headquarters in Jefferson City, either as annuities of varying lengths or as lump sums. Be aware that the published jackpot for a big drawing is the full annuity amount, and the lump sum tends to be roughly half that amount.