Since 1981, the Arizona Lottery has been the most widely available form of legal gambling in the state. In fact, Arizona has the distinction of being the first state west of the Mississippi River to approve a state lottery when voters did so at the ballot box in November 1980.
Over the course of the past four decades, it has provided billions of dollars in funding for arts and education, conservation, human services, and public safety. There’s no telling how different such programs might have looked in Arizona if not for that funding.
here we’ll break down what the lottery currently offers, how to buy tickets, and the best practices for claiming prizes, while also spelling out exactly how even Arizonans who never buy a ticket still benefit from its existence.
Arizona Lottery multi-state draw games
Multi-state draw games are those offered by the Multi-State Lottery Corporation. The Arizona Lottery participates in that company’s offerings, as do most other states with a lottery.
Draw-style games are those which involve a pool of numbers or other symbols, some of which are drawn at a certain time. The object of the game is to have a ticket matching those numbers or symbols. Because of their wide availability and potentially life-changing progressive jackpots, these are very popular in Arizona.
Drawn every Tuesday and Friday at 9 p.m., Mega Millions tickets cost $2. You can add the Megaplier to your play for another dollar, which can multiply the value of your non-jackpot winnings up to 5X. Each drawing consists of five regular numbers and then the Mega Ball. Prizes range in value from $2 for matching just the Mega Ball to $1 million for matching all five regular numbers. Of course, with a Megaplier, those prizes get larger.
If no one wins the jackpot in a drawing, the corporation performs a “roll increase,” which means that the jackpot will be worth more in the next drawing. It continues to build value until someone matches all six numbers to claim the big prize. Your overall odds of at least breaking even are 1 in 24 playing this game.
Drawings for Powerball take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 9 p.m. Just like with Mega Millions, draws cost $2 and you can add the Power Play for another dollar. Doing so will increase your non-jackpot winnings up to 10X their normal value. The game works very similarly to Mega Millions. There are five regular numbers and a Power Ball. However, the minimum prize here is $4, meaning you’ll double your money if you match one number and the Power Ball or just the Power Ball.
As you stand to make more money from the simplest winning play and the Power Play can multiply your winnings to a greater extent, your chances of winning are a little longer in this game. The odds of winning any prize are 1 in 24.87. Whether you want to pick your own numbers or have a computer do that for you, you can find these games at any Arizona Lottery retailer.
State draw games in Arizona
The Arizona Lottery doesn’t leave it entirely up to the Multi-State Corporation when it comes to offering draw-style games. There are several titles of this type only available in the Grand Canyon State.
Of course, residents of other states who are of legal age are welcome to play. But if you win a prize, you’ll have to claim it in Arizona. These games are simple to play and available at multiple price points.
This is a daily draw game that contains the suggested amount of numbers. Ask for a quick pick or choose your own five numbers for $1. For another dollar or two, you can add the EXTRA! for an instant chance at $250 or $500. Prizes start at $1 for matching two numbers and go all the way up to a progressive jackpot for matching all five numbers. Drawings take place at 7 p.m. every night.
This title includes six numbers in each drawing but also costs just $1. Again, adding the EXTRA! for a dollar or two gives you a shot at instant prizes of $250 or $500. Drawings for this game take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 7 p.m. Matching half of the numbers nets you $3, with prizes escalating to $50 for matching four numbers and $2,000 for matching five numbers. If you match all six numbers, you’ll get the progressive jackpot.
This game isn’t as straightforward as the name suggests, though that makes it more fun. If you don’t opt for a quick pick, you’ll have to choose one, two, or three sets of three-digit numbers. That means there are six different play types, which all come with their own prizes if you pick correctly. This is also a daily game, with drawings happening each night at 7 p.m. Prizes range from $25 to $500.
This is an innovative way to play Mega Millions and Powerball. At a Quickcard retailer, choose between $4, $6 or $10 plays. Then, scratch the ticket to reveal your numbers. Those will be your numbers for the next Mega Millions or Powerball drawing. The advantage of playing those games this way is that you get multiple plays on each card. For example, a $4 card would have two plays. However, players should note they cannot currently add the Megaplier or Power Play to a Quickcard.
After you pay $2, you can select six numbers. The game will then automatically reward you with two additional rows of six numbers randomly selected by the computer which are part of your play. Then, wait for the drawing, which occurs daily at 7 p.m. The more numbers you match, the better. Matching 10 of 18 numbers gets you $2,000, while matching three numbers has a prize of $2. There’s a progressive jackpot here, too, claimed by matching all six numbers in your top line.
Instant win games in Arizona
If you don’t want to wait for biweekly or nightly drawings, the Arizona Lottery has plenty of instant options for you. These include scratch-off cards and Fast Play. The broad menu of scratchers provided by the lottery comes with a variety of themes, but the gameplay is the same. Take a coin and see if your scratching reveals a cash prize.
Tickets range in price from just $1 for games like $50 Loaded all the way up to $30 for Ultimate Millions. Potential prizes escalate with ticket prices, going from simply returning the cost of the ticket to you to producing a tremendous return on your wager with a $3.5 million top prize.
Fast Play is true to its name in that you don’t even have to scratch a card to see if you’ve won. Just buy the ticket and follow the quick, simple instructions on the card to see if you’ve landed a prize. The cost for these games starts at $1 and tops out at $20. That $20 game, Mega Multiplier Progressive, is just one of several titles in this category with a progressive jackpot. Smaller prizes start at $1, for games like Piggy Bank Bucks.
Lottery retailers in Arizona
Many different types of businesses and groups can apply for a license to sell lottery tickets in Arizona. These can include:
- Convenience stores
- Fraternal organizations
- Gas stations
- Liquor stores
- Tobacco shops
- Truck stops
The most important thing to know is that only people who are at least 21 years of age can buy lottery tickets in Arizona. The lottery’s website has a helpful tool that allows you to find the closest retailer to where you’re located.
Arizona Lottery app
You can’t buy lottery tickets online in Arizona. Not yet, anyway. The Arizona Players Club app gives you several benefits, though, like being able to play free games.
Other perks include:
- Chances to earn points by completing quizzes and other activities
- Rewards points for non-winning draw-style and instant win tickets
- Second chance drawings for non-winning tickets
You can redeem points for entries into drawings for cash and other prizes such as buy-one-get-one-free tickets.
Who benefits from the Arizona Lottery?
The short answer to this question is nearly everyone in the state to some degree. That applies whether you even buy a ticket or not.
In fiscal year 2020, for example, the Arizona Lottery contributed a total of $226.14 million to a variety of causes. Here’s how that total broke down that particular year:
- $129.26 million to the state’s general fund
- $39.68 million to higher education in forms like scholarships
- $32.23 million to health and human services like homeless shelters
- $14.97 million to business and economic development such as funding mass transit
- $10 million to environmental conservation, including supporting state parks