Lottery games have their own lingo around play types, bets, and prizes. Here, you can expand your vocabulary. Check out Lottery USA’s comprehensive glossary to find definitions for popular terms.
A common type of lottery game. In this game, players choose six numbers out of a pool of 1 through 49. To win, the selection must match a certain number of balls from the draw.
A play type available in some daily draw games. If selected, you can win by matching the winning numbers in either exact order or be off by one (higher or lower), on one, two, three, four, or five numbers, depending on the game.
See: Box, Combo, Pairs, Straight, Straight/Box
- Add-on Feature
Many lottery games include add-on features that players can choose to include in addition to the main game when buying lottery tickets. Normally, there’s a spot on lottery play slips that players can mark in order to include an add-on feature.
Add-on features usually cost an extra fee and offer a chance to increase prize money or improve odds.
- Advanced Draw
A game feature that allows players to enter future draws of the game. Players can choose to enter their numbers in multiple consecutive draws from a range defined by the lottery. The ticket value will increase based on the total number of plays.
Also known as an "Advanced Bet" or "Multi Draw."
- Advertised Jackpot
The jackpot value that the lottery advertises online and in the media. This is how much money the lottery operator guarantees if the winner chooses the annuity payment option.
A lottery ticket retailer.
A payout option available in some lottery games with large jackpots. The winners collect their prize in recurring annual installments over a specific period of time, normally 20 or more years, instead of a one-time lump sum payment. The payments are set by the lottery rules and will add up to the advertised jackpot amount.
Also known as "Annuity Payment."
See: Lump Sum Payment
The numbered object the lottery randomly selects during draws. Each game has a predefined amount of balls that will be drawn. To win, players must match the winning balls drawn.
Also known as "Number" or "Digit."
- Ball Set
A group of numbered balls used in draw machines to choose the winning numbers of a lottery game. Each lottery has special rules and standards when it comes to the way the balls are built, drawn, and validated.
- Bearer Instrument
A document that declares the ownership of a certain property or payment.
A lottery ticket acts as a bearer instrument, entitling its holder’s ownership to whatever prize it may have won. Ownership of your ticket is not officially recorded elsewhere, which is why signing the back of it is recommended.
The recipient of any relevant lottery winnings.
- Bonus Number
A number (or numbers) that is drawn alongside a lottery’s main draw with the potential to influence prizes.
Bonus numbers are either drawn from the main draw’s number pool or their own unique number pool.
Sometimes, bonus numbers are included in the cost of the ticket. Other times, they are an add-on that players must pay extra for. In some games, bonus numbers can be used to generate new winning combinations (in daily draw games). They are sometimes also used to define prize categories.
Also known as a "Supplementary Number," "Extra Number," or "Bonus Ball."
A collection of playable instant-win lottery tickets/scratch cards.
A type of wager, commonly referred to as a "play type". To win, the player’s numbers can match the drawn numbers in any order. This appears in daily draw games such as Pick 2, Pick 3, Pick 4, or Pick 5.
Also known as "Any Order".
See: 1-Off, Combo, Pairs, Straight, Straight/Box
An assortment of personal and syndicate entries available to those playing online through a lottery messenger service.
- Cancelled Ticket
A ticket printed by the terminal that has been voided.
- Capped Jackpot
A jackpot that stops growing once it has reached a certain predefined value. Often, when a jackpot reaches its cap, any money that would have been added to it goes to lower prize tiers instead.
- Cash Option
See: Lump Sum Payment
- (Prize) Claim Form
A document that must be completed by winners in order to receive a particularly large prize.
- Claim Center
An official lottery office or authorized lottery location where players can validate tickets and claim prizes. The prize amounts payable by claim centers varies between states.
These are separate from lottery retailers, which are authorised and licensed locations that are allowed to sell lottery products and to payout prizes up to a predetermined amount.
- Claim Period
The time period during which a lottery winner must claim their prize. Claim periods vary between lotteries. Beyond the claim period, a winner may no longer be able to claim their prize.
- Claim Process
The instructions to redeem a lottery prize outlined by a lottery operator.
- Cold Number
A number that is, based on previous draw statistics, thought not due to make a draw appearance soon.
See: Hot Number, Overdue
A wager in which a player’s selection combines a Box play type and a Straight play type. This play type often appears in daily draw games.
Also known as a "Combination," "Super Straight," or "Wheel" bet.
See: 1-Off, Box, Pairs, Straight, Straight/Box
The sales figures of an official lottery operator used when partnering with retailers.
Not to be confused with the "Lottery Commission."
See: Lottery Retailer
- Concierge Service
A service that offers participation worldwide lotteries regardless of a player’s physical location.
Also known as a "Lottery Messenger Service."
- Consecutive Numbers
Consecutive numbers are numbers that appear next to each other in numerical order.
A consecutive number sequence is broken when a drawn number does not immediately follow the one before it.
Examples of consecutive numbers: 2, 3, 4, and 43, 44, 45.
Example of a break in consecutive numbers: 16, 17, 22, 18. 22 broke the list.
- Daily Game
A lottery game that takes place at least once a day.
The term "Daily Game" is also used when referring to a specific type of lottery game in which numbers from 0 to 9 are selected and can repeat. These games tend to have fixed prizes, and offer multiple wagers and play types that players can choose from. Also called "Pick" games, they can have two, three, four, or five digits.
Also known as "Cash’" or "Number" games.
See: Numbers Game
- Date Game
A lottery game that takes place on certain days.
Any of the numbers from 0 to 9. It’s commonly used in daily draw games and can be a synonym for "Number."
A draw, or drawing, is where the winning numbers are revealed, and "Draw Results" refers to the outcome of a specific draw.
Draws are conducted by an official lottery operator and are often broadcast live on television or online.
- Draw Machine
The machine from which the winning lottery numbers are randomly chosen.
- Electronic Funds Transfer
A transfer of funds directly to a bank account.
Often refers to a deceased person’s assets, including their money and property.
- Estimated Jackpot
The approximate top prize amount for a lottery’s upcoming draw.
The amount can fluctuate depending on the number of tickets sold and the number of winning tickets.
- Extra Game
Also known as a "Supplementary Game."
A game that operates in conjunction with a lottery game.
These supplementary games often give players a chance to win an extra prize or increase prizes from the main draw. They are usually an added cost to tickets.
- Fixed Prize
A fixed prize does not change from one draw to the next. These tend to be found in lower prize tiers and daily draw games.
See: Fixed Payout
- Fixed Payout
A fixed payout is the cash amount that a player receives by matching a certain amount of numbers. Commonly found in daily draw games, instant win add-ons, or card games.
- Game Matrix
Refers to the amount of numbers a player needs to choose and the total amount of numbers in the ball set. For example, a common game matrix is 6/49, which refers to picking six numbers from 1 through 69.
- Going Public
Revealing your identity as a jackpot winner to the press and general public.
For certain large jackpot lotteries,jackpot winners must reveal their identities, including their name, city of residence, and the amount of money won.
- Good Causes
Certain non-profit organizations that receive a percentage of a lottery operator’s funds.
Recipients of such funds are usually organizations within the education, health, and charity sectors.
- High Numbers
Numbers that are in the top half of a number set. For example, the high numbers in a number set of 1 to 40 would be 20 to 40.
See: Low Numbers
The appearance of a specific number in a draw.
Example: "Number 23 is quite a strong performer, having hit the last three out of five draws."
The cylindrical machine that used to draw the winning balls of a lottery game.
- Hot Number
A number that, based on previous draw statistics, appears overdue to make an appearance.
See: Overdue, Cold Number
- Inheritance Tax
Tax that must be paid by someone inheriting an estate or money.
- Instant Game
A lottery ticket with a coating that a player must scratch away in order to reveal if they have won a prize.
Instant game tickets are sometimes referred to as "Scratch Cards."
- Internet Gaming
Taking part in games that are available online, including games similar to those found in casinos or online lottery games.
- Internet Wager
A wager made in online gambling, with the options ranging from lottery games to sporting events.
The top prize offered by a lottery game.
Many lottery games have a progressive jackpot system. The jackpot amount will grow until it is either won or, in some cases, it hits an established limit (the jackpot cap).
- Jackpot Cap
See: Capped Jackpot
- Jackpot Fatigue
The slump in lottery ticket sales when the game’s jackpot amount is relatively low. Jackpot fatigue is a lottery phenomenon that suggests players are waiting until the game’s jackpot amount rises.
A lottery number that you frequently choose to play on your ticket.
- Keep Out
A lottery number that you refrain from using, whether based on superstitions, its appearance history, or any other reason.
- Last Drawn
Used to refer to the last draw in which a number made an appearance in a lottery game.
A luck-based game that involves matching certain numbers or symbols in order to win a prize.
- Lottery Betting
Placing a wager on the outcome of the numbers in a lottery draw rather than participating with an official lottery ticket. Not to be confused with a "Wager" or "Bet."
- Lottery Commission
The governing body that oversees and regulates a jurisdiction’s lottery system.
Not to be confused with "Commission."
- Lottery Retailer
A store or company that sells lottery tickets.
- Lottery Scam
Unlawful attempts at gathering the personal information of lottery players. Scammers typically purport to be acting on behalf of the official lottery operator or a governmental organization.
- Lottery Tax
The taxes a lottery winner must pay depending on where they are located and how much they have won.
Some states do not impose a lottery tax, and some only impose tax on winnings over a certain amount.
- Low Numbers
Numbers that are in the bottom half of a number set. For example, the low numbers in a number set of 1 to 40 would usually be 1 to 19.
See: High Numbers
- Lump Sum Payment
A one-time payment of money for a jackpot win. It is typically lower than the annuity amount.
Also known as the "Cash Option."
When a drawn number is the same as a player’s chosen number.
- Messenger Service
A service that purchases lottery tickets on a player’s behalf, regardless of their physical location. It offers people who do not live in a lottery’s host country the opportunity to play.
An option in which players can purchase a certain number of tickets for future draws.
- Multi-jurisdiction Lottery
A lottery that takes place in multiple U.S. jurisdictions. The main examples are Powerball and Mega Millions, which can be played in most states.
An extra number assigned to tickets. Typically, any non-jackpot winnings are multiplied by this number. It is either included in games or can be added for a fee.
- National Lottery
The official lottery organization of a country.
- Number Checker
An online tool that lets players check their lottery numbers to see if they’ve won and, if so, how much they’ve won.
- Number Generator
An online tool that can create lines of numbers for players.
- Number Range
The group of numbers from which a player selects their line from.
Also known as a "Number Pool" or "Ball Set."
- Numbers Game
See: Daily Game
- Number Trend
A pattern based on the lottery numbers that have appeared in recent previous draws.
The belief in a supernatural relationship between numbers and events.
The probability of a prize being won, based on all the possible combinations that can be drawn.
Lottery games typically offer fixed odds, meaning that the chances of winning a specific prize remain the same for every draw.
- Offline Game
A game that does not use a computer terminal to validate an entry. Scratch cards are an example of an offline game.
- Online Agent
Similar to a lottery messenger service, an online agent will purchase lottery tickets on your behalf.
See: Messenger Service
- Online Syndicate
If a number has gone over its average draw appearance frequency, based on previous draw statistics, it is referred to as "overdue."
See: Cold Number, Hot Number
Play types often available in daily draw games such as Pick 3, Pick 4, or Pick 5.
- the first two numbers of a daily draw game (Front Pair)
- the last two numbers of a daily draw game (Back Pair)
- the first and last number of a daily draw game (Split Pair).
See: 1-Off, Box, Combo, Straight, Straight/Box
A prize system in which the cash allocated toa prize tier is equally shared between the winners of that category. A fixed percentage of total prize pool money goes into pari-mutuel prize tiers.
A monetary payment made by a lottery operator to a winner.
- Play Slip
The card that players use to mark their lottery choices. A retailer processes the slip and then prints the player’s lottery ticket. Where online play is available, players use digital slips.
Also known as a "Betting Slip."
- Play Type
An option for how to play chosen lottery numbers typically used in daily draw games. Each play type represents different winning combinations available to the player.
- Prize Percentage
The percentage of a draw’s total payout amount that went into a given prize tier.
- Prize Pool
The total amount of money from ticket sales that gets distributed across all prize tiers.
Also known as a "Prize Fund."
- Prize Tier
The prize levels in a lottery, normally defined by the amount of numbers matched in any given draw.
Also known as a "Division" or colloquially as a "Div."
- Progressive Jackpot
A jackpot that increases in value every time there are on winners in a draw. Depending on the game, this process will either continue until the prize reaches a limit, or indefinitely until the jackpot is won.
- Quick Pick
An option where a lottery ticket’s numbers are randomly generated by a machine or computer, rather than picked by the ticket holder.
Similar to a lottery, people purchase raffle tickets for the chance to win prizes. Unlike major lotteries—where the odds of winning are fixed—the odds of winning in a raffle can vary depending on how many players take part.
- Result History
The history of lottery results, including information such as the winning numbers, number of winners, and prize amounts of past draws.
The outcomes of a draw, including numbers drawn, prize amounts, and the number of winners for each prize tier.
When a lottery jackpot is transferred into the next draw’s prize pool after there are no winners.
- Scanned Copy
Lottery messenger services often scan a player’s lottery tickets to provide proof of purchase.
These lottery tickets are sometimes referred to as "scanned copies," and are usually stored in a player’s online account.
Another term for a scratch card. A "scratcher" is an instant-win game that can be bought in store or online.
See: Instant Game
Refers to the absence of a given number from a draw. Note that this phenomenon does not affect the odds of a number coming up in any individual draw.
Example: "Number 40 has skipped the last three Powerball draws."
- Starting Jackpot
The minimum default jackpot for a game. After the jackpot is won, it goes back to this value.
A play type available in all daily draw games. When selected, a player wins if their numbers match the drawn numbers in the same order.
Also known as an "Exact Order" play type.
See: 1-Off, Box, Combo, Pairs, Straight/Box
A play type available in daily draw games. Players can win by matching the winning numbers in either exact or any order. Players pay extra for the added ways to win.
An option for lottery players to set up a recurring payment for a number of tickets or draw entries over an agreed period of time.
A game in which prizes are awarded to a certain number of randomly selected entrants.
A group of people who buy multiple lottery tickets by pooling funds together and share any proceeds proportionally to each member’s contribution.
Also known as a "Lottery Pool" or "Pooling."
See: Online Syndicate
- Syndicate Manager
The person in charge of the administrative tasks of running a lottery syndicate. Such tasks often include purchasing lottery tickets, collecting participants’ payments, and reimbursing participants with any winnings.
An electronic device used by lottery retailers to enter, print, and pay out lottery tickets.
The printed document with your numbers. It also acts as your proof of purchase.
See: Bearer Instrument
- Total Sum
The value of a player’s lottery numbers when added together.
Example: "Adding my numbers 17, 20, 03, 40, and 12 together, my total sum is 92."
Some games offer add-on features where players can win a prize if their numbers add up to the same sum as the drawn numbers. In daily draw games they may be referred to as a "Sum it Up" or "Lucky Sum" number.
A three-digit number made up of the same digit repeated three times.
- Unclaimed Prize
A lottery prize that has not been claimed by the winner. When a ticket that has won a large amount of money is nearing its expiration date, the lottery operator will often make an effort to find the winner.
The process every winning lottery ticket must undergo to confirm the following: it’s indeed a winner, it hasn’t been claimed before, and the prize amount is correct.
Depending on the value of the prize, players can take their ticket to a lottery retailer or operator to validate it.
A lottery ticket seller.
See: Lottery Retailer
A sum of money placed on the outcome of an unpredictable event, such as a lottery draw. At the time of purchasing a ticket (typically for daily draw games) the player selects the desired wager when filling out the play slip.
A popular lottery system. A player selects a set of numbers, and then additional ticket lines are made for every possible combination of that set of numbers.
Also known as a "Lottery Wheel."
What everyone playing the lottery hopes to be!
The amount of money to be deducted from a winner’s prize in order to cover taxes.