Ontario Lottery - How to Play the Lottery in Ontario, CA

By Martin Booth
Fact Checked by Joss Wood

Ontarians have been enjoying the chance to play Ontario Lottery games since 1975. There are now several ways to play games in person and online across the province, where online casinos and sports betting have also been legal since April 2022.

Recent figures show the Ontario Lottery making net annual profits of $1.6billion, all of which is used to support community causes such as hospitals, charities, and amateur sports. 

Ontario Lottery Games

Ontario Lottery Games

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation offers a broad choice of games for people who enjoy a flutter online or in person. There are several daily draw games, as well a range of instant scratchcard-style games.

Ontarians can also take part in multi-province games with jackpot payouts. Let’s look in more detail at some of the Ontario Lottery games you can play.

Canada Draw Games

There are three jackpot draw games you can play in Ontario, alongside people from across the nation. These games are overseen by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation, which is co-owned by five regional lottery organisations, including the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. In each case, the chances of your winning numbers scooping the big prize are small – the lottery can be fun, but it's an expensive not a source of profit for almost everyone who plays.

GameGame Overview
Lotto Max Lotto Max draws have been held every Tuesday and Friday since May 2019, nearly ten years after the original weekly draw game was launched. For $5, you pick a single line of seven numbers – and you get another two lines of quick picks that are randomly selected for you.The chances of achieving the main jackpot prize, for matching all seven of the numbers drawn, are one in nearly 33.3 million.
Lotto 6/49Lotto 6/49 has been running since June 1982, when it became the first nationwide game to allow you to choose your own numbers, rather than have them randomly picked for you. Draws are now held every Wednesday and Saturday.You pay $3 and pick six numbers between 1 and 49, and if you match all six – defying odds of one in nearly 14 million – you win a fixed prize of $5million. There is also a Gold Ball Draw, with a payout of at least $1million that can rise draw by draw to a maximum of $68million.  
The Daily GrandDespite its name, this game is drawn only twice a week, on Monday and Thursday. For $3, you select your numbers in a bid to match all five drawn, plus the extra Grand Number.If you match all five and the Grand Number – the chances of which are one in more than 13 million – you win either $1,000 a day for life, or a lump sum of $7 million. The reward for picking five out of five is $25,000 a year for life, or a $500,000 lump sum.

Multi-Province Draw Games

The three games listed above are the only games in which people across Canada can take part together. There are other lotto games that are held in various provinces, but each one is administered by the relevant lottery and gaming corporation.

As a result, the prize pools available tend to be smaller than the life-changing sums on offer in multi-province games. Residents of, and visitors to, Ontario can play the following Ontario online lottery and in-person games.

GameGame Overview
Ontario 49Ontario 49 is a provincial version of the multi-province Lotto 6/49 game. Again, you pick six numbers in the hope of matching the six that are drawn twice each week, on Wednesday and Saturday. Entry costs just $1, with a fixed jackpot of $2million. However, you can boost your chances of winning by opting for a combination play ticket – although, not surprisingly, there is an additional cost to playing this way, which is dictated by how many numbers you pick.
Ontario LottarioThis is one of the newer games available to Ontarians, with two draws held each Saturday night – the Main Draw and the Early Bird Draw. For $1, you get two sets of six numbers between 1 and 45. The probability of matching all six is one in more than four million. However, if you match all four Early Bird numbers on one line on your ticket, you win a share of a $50,000 pool.
Daily KenoAs you might expect from the name, this game is played daily. There are two draws, at 2pm and 10.30pm ET. You can wager $1, $2, $5 or $10 and you select ten numbers between 1 and 70. Your payout depends upon your stake. If you stake $1 and match two of the 20 numbers drawn, for instance, your prize is $7, while matching ten numbers with a $10 stake – which has a likelihood of one in more than 2.1 million – you will win the top prize of $2.5 million.
Lightning LottoOne of the main attractions of Lightning Lotto is that if you are a winner, you know straight away. That’s because the draw is conducted at the beginning of each day, before sales begin. You pay $2 for three sets of five numbers between 1 and 49. The jackpot for matching all five starts at $125,000 and grows with every ticket sold until it is won and the prize reverts to $125,000.
Poker LottoPoker Lotto gives you two chances to win with one $2 ticket. You can buy an Ontario online lottery ticket, or visit one of the Ontario Lottery retailers across the province, and you’ll know instantly if you’ve won a prize of up to $5,000. That same ticket also gives you an entry into the nightly $100,000 prize draw, while you can take the Poker Lotto $1 add-on option to have a chance of extra prizes, including a progressive jackpot.
Wheel of Fortune LottoThis is another lotto game that gives you more than one way to win. Every time you make a $2 play, you get an instant spin of the prize wheel, with prizes of up to $10,000 available on the spot. You also get six random words that give you the opportunity to win up to $100,000 by matching the words pulled out in the nightly draw, held at 10.30pm ET.
Megadice LottoThere are two chances to win a prize when you enter this game. Stake $2 and you are entered in an instant game where seven dice roll – if you get seven ones, the top prize, you collect $7,500. Your ticket also earns you entry to a nightly draw, which is made at 10.30pmET. Match three or more numbers to win a prize, with the top payout $100,000 for matching six numbers and a bonus number. You can find all the latest Ontario Lottery results at the OLG.ca website.
Instant Win Games

Instant Win Games

As we have seen already there are many Ontario Lottery games that have an instant-win element about them, as well as the chance to join a draw with prizes at stake. If you check out the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation website at OLG.ca, you’ll also find more than two dozen purely instant games.

These are presented in a variety of formats, and in most instances you can play for as little as 50 cents. You can try out any game to see whether it’s the one for you by opting for demo play mode, which allows you to try it for free.  

Ontario Lottery Scratch Tickets

As well as the many Ontario online lottery options, you can enter games at nearly 10,000 retail stores and other in-person outlets. The scratch card options you can get from retailers start at $1, though you can invest considerably more if you wish.

Games like Plinko, The Bigger Spin and Bingo Multiplier are available for play across the province and give you find out instantly whether you are a winner or not.
 

❓ How to Claim Lottery Winnings

There are several ways to claim your money if you are an in-person or Ontario online lottery winner. If you win a prize of less than $1,000, you can take your winning ticket to one of the nearly 10,000 lottery retailers across the province. Don't forget to sign your ticket! The money will be paid either in cash or on to your credit or debit card.

If you have a winning ticket worth more than $1,000, make your claim online. And if you are a winner on an online game, your payout will be added to your OLG.ca account. Should your prize be more than $50,000, you will be invited to attend an interview at the OLG prize centre in Toronto.

Sports Picks Games

As well as the draws and instant games, you can also gamble on a selection of Sport Select titles:

  • Pro-Line This is the most popular type of sport-themed game available through the Ontario online lottery. You can place fixed-odds wagers, but not on single matches; you must compile parlay bets that must have at least three legs.
  • Pools The Pools section of the Pro-Line site offers you the opportunity to select a variety of outcomes on a particular sporting event. If you are one of the bettors who gets the most right, you pick up a share of the prize pool.
  • Point Spread Point spread games work in the same way as point spreads with conventional sports betting companies. You have to predict whether or not a team will win by more than the stated margin.
  • Props You can also gamble on the outcome of a variety of proposition bets. These are wagers not related to the result of the game in question and they can include first-scorer and over/under markets.

Responsible Lottery Playing

Like every respectable gaming commission, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation takes seriously its responsibility to ensure its players are keeping their wagering under control at all times.

Among its extensive responsible gambling resources are PlaySmart.ca, a “knowledge hub” full of advice for keeping your play enjoyable. There are also tools to regulate the amount of time and money you spend, as well as self-exclusion assistance.

You can also find links to agencies with expertise in this field. They include ConnexOntario, which provides a free 24/7 helpline, and the Responsible Gambling Council.

The most common cause of problem gambling issues are lotteries. They should be approached with caution. 

What is PlaySmart?

PlaySmart.ca is a comprehensive gambling education resource that provides information, tools and advice to help players make smart choices and keep the games fun. The website describes itself as a "gambling encyclopedia" and it offers a variety of resources, including tips on how to play as well as game odds and strategies. The site also hosts a set of tools to help you customize your time and betting budget, understand your play habits or take a break when you need it. And, if playing ever stops being fun, PlaySmart has Responsible Gambling resources to help you.

Ontario Lottery History

Ontario Lottery History

The history of the Ontario Lottery dates back to 1975, when the Ontario Lottery Corporation was established. The first game offered, Wintario, went live in the April of that year, with the first draw the following month.

The Interprovincial Lottery Corporation, which administers games across Canada, was set up in 1976. In the years since, the number and range of lottery games available to players purely within Ontario and throughout the nation has grown steadily.

Lotto 6/49 was the first inter-province game, launched in 1982. It was followed by Lotto Max in 2009 and Daily Grand in 2016. Since 2015, when the PlayOLG.ca website was launched, it has been possible to play games online and through your mobile device.

The lottery is immensely popular in Ontario. It has been estimated that about 5.7 million residents are regular players – which equates to 38 per cent of the province’s adults. Its popularity undoubtedly contributed to the province’s decision to permit legalized Ontario online casino play and sports betting in 2022.

The Ontario Lottery is a non-profit organisation, in that all its profits go to good causes, which means a windfall of more than $1 billion a year for community projects in the province.

Ontario Lottery FAQ

You must be at least 18 years of age to purchase lottery tickets in Ontario.

Yes, you can. You can purchase tickets online at the OLG.ca website that allow you to participate in a host of lottery games. Games can also be accessed through the OLG app, which is available for both iPhone and Android device users.

To buy lottery tickets online in Ontario, you can sign up for an account at OLG.ca. Once you have signed up, you can add funds to your account and choose a game to play.

If you win a prize of up to $1,000 on an Ontario province lottery game or a multi-province title, you can claim your prize in cash from any of the nearly 10,000 outlets that have a lottery terminal. If you win more than $1,000 you will have to submit your claim online.

That depends how much you win. If your prize is $1,000 or less, you will not have to give your name. But the identities of winners of prizes over that amount are published on the OLG website, and winners of huge jackpots should expect to be photographed. However, exemptions have been granted on a few occasions.

It depends on the draw you are taking part in. In most instances, however, you can purchase a ticket until virtually the last minute. It is worth checking online to see if there are earlier deadlines that apply to any of the games at the Ontario Lottery.

If you win a prize in most of the draw games, you have exactly a year to claim your money. Famously, a $70 million prize drawn in June 2022 went unclaimed for the whole 12 months. For instant games, the expiry date is printed on the back of your ticket.

The good news is that the Canadian government does not view lottery winnings as taxable income. That’s right; if you win $1 million on an Ontario Lottery game, you get to keep every last dollar of it. This is in contrast to the situation in the USA, where the IRS treats gambling payouts as fair game.

Taking part in any lottery game is a matter of risk and reward. The more you are hoping to win, the smaller the chances that you actually will. If you simply want to win any prize, the best option is a game like Daily Keno, where you have a one in 13 chance of matching two numbers.

You can claim lottery winnings under $1,000 in cash or by credit/debit (depending on retailer availability) at any OLG Lottery retailer. For prizes of $1,000 or more, you need to visit an OLG Prize Centre in person within one year of the draw date, bringing your winning ticket and valid ID.

You can purchase lottery tickets, including online, until 10:30 PM EST on the day of the draw. This applies to most lottery games, including Lotto Max, Lotto 6/49, Ontario 49, Lottario, Daily Keno, Pick 2, Pick 3 and Pick 4. Refer to the OLG website for the specific cut-off time of any particular game you're interested in.

Author

Martin has reviewed sports betting sites and casinos from all around the world including all the best sportsbooks and online casinos in Ontario.

Cited by leading media organizations, such as: