The first-ever lottery draw in Ontario took place in 1975. ‘Wintario’ was a basic draw compared to today’s lottery. Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) oversees national and provincial jackpot draws, scratch cards, and a wide selection of online games. Ontario has a history of big winners – including a $70 million jackpot on Lotto Max won in 2021.
This page has everything you need to enjoy the Ontario lottery. You will find details of the giant jackpot draw games below – plus the many other ways to land a windfall prize. Details on claiming prizes, responsible gambling, and the online casino and sports betting available via OLG.ca are also covered.
How the Ontario lottery works
Ontario Lottery and Gaming is a crown corporation that oversees all forms of gambling in the province. This covers the lottery, casinos, horse racing, and charity gambling. OLG is located at Sault Ste. Marie with a separate prize office in Toronto.
You play both the big national games, and jackpot draws available in ON only. There is a busy schedule of draws. Each night Monday through Saturday sees million-dollar+ prize draws distributed. Smaller games take place multiple times daily.
Tickets for draws can be bought online, or at retail outlets.
If you buy lottery tickets online in Ontario, there are options for weekly subscriptions. After registering at the OLG.ca site, you get access to instant games, slots, and other forms of gaming in addition to the lottery ticket sales. There is a smartphone/iPhone app that can be downloaded from the OLG site. This lets you check your numbers and purchase tickets on the move.
The traditional option is to head to a retail outlet for your tickets. Depending on the draw, you can select your numbers – or let the terminal choose them randomly using Quick Pick.
How to claim lottery winnings in Ontario
How you claim a winning ticket from the Ontario Lottery depends on the size of the prize.
- $1,000 and under: Smaller wins can be paid by retail outlets.
- $50,000 and under: You can claim remotely by mail, information on where to send it is on the OLG website. You can also schedule an appointment to visit the OLG corporate office in Toronto.
- Over $50,000: If you are lucky enough to get a big win, you need to call the OLG prize centre on 1-800-387-0098 to validate your ticket and make an appointment to receive the money.
In line with other provinces, you do not have to pay tax on lottery winnings in Ontario.
Lottery games in Ontario
As well as the popular main draws, the ON lottery provides many different forms of gambling:
- National Draws: Enter Lotto Max, the Daily Grand or Lotto 6/49 draws.
- Ontario Draws: Ontario/49 takes place twice per week, with many smaller daily draw games also available.
- Scratch Tickets: Retail scratch cards have prizes of up to $3 million, you can check how many prizes are outstanding online.
- Instant Games: Online versions of scratch cards are themed, with many big prizes available.
- Online Casino: OLG offers slots (many with progressive jackpots), table games and video poker.
- Sports Betting: You can access a range of pooled and parlay bets, via the Pro-Line system.
Ontario lottery: National draws
There are three large national draws, which are available in all provinces.
You get three sets of seven numbers for $5 when you enter this giant national draw. You can choose your numbers for line one, or let the terminal select all three.
The jackpot starts at $10 million – and grows until won. It has a $70 million cap. To win you need to match all seven numbers to those drawn. This draw takes place every Tuesday and Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Players in Ontario have won the Lotto Max jackpot more than 75 times and have been paid out more than $5.8 billion in prizes. The most recent big winner in the province came at the end of February 2021, when a player from Sudbury claimed the $70 million jackpot prize.
Tickets for Lotto 6/49 cost $3. You get six numbers between 1 and 49. As well as that selection, each ticket includes a unique ten-digit number. One ticket will win an additional $1 million guaranteed prize alongside each draw.
The jackpot prize starts at $5 million and will continue to grow until it is won. The Lotto 6/49 draw takes place bi-weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There is a separate ‘Encore’ game, which costs an additional $1. This optional bonus game has prizes of up to $1 million.
The largest-ever jackpot prize in the history of the Lotto 6/49 is $64 million. This was won by a player from Mississauga in October 2015.
The Daily Grand
Winners of the Daily Grand will win the incredible prize of $1,000 a day for the rest of their life (or claim an instant $7 million instead). Tickets cost $3. You choose five main numbers between 1 and 49, as well as a single ‘Grand’ number between 1 and 7.
Match those five numbers and the Grand number to win that life-changing jackpot prize. Match just the five numbers without the Grand Number to win the second prize of $25,000 a year for life (or a lump sum of $500,000). Draws take place every Monday and Thursday.
Ontario lottery: Multi-provincial draw games
The busy schedule of jackpot draws in Ontario includes provincial draws. There is a mix of regular lottery games and fast-paced alternatives.
- Ontario 49: Just like the Lotto 6/49, this draw uses the 6 from the 49 format. This game costs just $1 to play and has a top prize of $2 million. Draws are held every Wednesday and Saturday.
- Daily Keno: You get to choose to pick between 2 and 10 numbers between 1 and 70 and your stake (the choices are $1, $2, $5, and $10). The largest prize possible is $2.5 million if you make 10 selections and all 10 are within the 20 drawn numbers.
- Lottario: You enter two draws for one ticket in this daily draw. Each $1 ticket has two sets of numbers (between 1 and 45). One set is for the early bird draw (top prize seeded at $50,000) and the other for the main draw which is seeded at $250,000.
- Lightning Lotto: Numbers for this draw are known before tickets go on sale. The moment you purchase your ticket, you know immediately if you won. Tickets cost $2, they include three selections between 1 and 49.
- Poker Lotto: This game uses playing cards in a lottery-style game. Tickets cost $2 – with an optional extra $1 to go ‘all-in’. There are two ways to win. First, you can get an instant win based on the strength of your hand. Then an evening draw takes place to match cards in the same way the other draws use numbers.
- Wheel of Fortune Lotto: Tickets cost $2 with two parts to the game. First, watch the spinning prize wheel on the lottery terminal screen for an instant prize. There is then a nightly draw, where you need to match 3 or more words.
- Megadice Lotto: A daily Lotto game with two chances to win with one ticket. The first is an instant dice game, the second a traditional six-number lottery draw. The instant win game offers a top prize of $7,500 and the nightly draw offers wins of up to $100,000. Tickets cost $2.
Ontario lottery draw schedule
Big draws take place each night except Sunday. Some nights have both national and Ontario-only draws, giving you double the chances of scooping a big jackpot.
Draws take place at 10:30 p.m. ET:
- Monday: Daily Grand
- Tuesday: Lotto Max
- Wednesday: Lotto 6/49, Ontario/49
- Thursday: Daily Grand
- Friday: Lotto Max
- Saturday: Lotto 6/49, Ontario/49
Scratch tickets from the Ontario lottery
Instant win scratch tickets can be purchased at lottery retail outlets. There are electronic versions of these games via the OLG website.
Retail scratch tickets have varied prices from $1 to $30. Many of them have million-dollar jackpots. The examples below are taken from different ends of the price range:
- Lucky Lines Express: This scratch ticket costs just $1 and has a top prize of $10,000. To play this game you’ll scratch the twelve dollar logos to reveal symbols. Then scratch only the symbols that match them in games one and two – reveal a complete row and win the associated prize.
- Triple Millions: This scratch ticket costs $30. There are ten prizes of $3 million to be won with this card and a total prize fund of more than $250 million. There are four games on each card. Three of them use the reveal three matching symbols format. The final game involves matching your lucky numbers with thirty hidden ones. Uncover a ‘Stack of Cash’ symbol to immediately win $100.
Before purchasing retail scratch tickets, it can be an idea to do some research online. On the Ontario Lottery website, you will find lists of all the unclaimed prizes. This shows how many major prizes are still available for each type of ticket.
Instant games on the OLG website
Instant games are the electronic equivalent of retail scratch tickets. Many of them are 1-for-1 copies of the physical cards, which you virtually ‘scratch’ to match prizes. You can buy $10, $20, and $30 cards – or choose your stake in the many instant games.
Some are themed. For example, ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and ‘The Price is Right’ instant games. Others have entertaining and quirky takes on popular culture. Examples here include ‘Emoti Collect’ and the ‘Battleship’ games. Still, other options include bingo or keno-style games with the scratch ticket concept.
Casino games on the Ontario lottery
In addition to the lottery draws and instants, you can enjoy online casino games legally via the OLG website. They include slot machines, table games, video poker, and instant win casino games.
Many of the slots are online versions of the popular games from casinos in Ontario. You will find Cleopatra, 88 Fortunes, Quick Hit, and Da Vinci Diamonds games online. Some slots have giant progressive jackpots – including the linked ‘MegaJackpots’ games from IGT.
Table games include multiple versions of blackjack, roulette, and a mix of poker-themed games such as Ultimate Texas Hold’em and 3 Card Poker. Bingo, keno also are also featured. Video poker has its section. This includes access to ‘Game King’ terminals, which include nine popular variations. There are separate multi-hand games too.
Big prizes are won regularly in this online casino. You can see a list of recent winners here and across all the formats on the OLG website.
Sports picks games on the Ontario lottery
The Pro-Line sports betting portal is available through OLG. Betting is covered by the two outcomes rule, though many different games work within this constraint.
- Pro-Line: In this section you pick either the home team and the visitor and be given the corresponding odds for that selection.
- Pools: If you choose this option, your pick will be entered into the player pool. If you win, the payout will be based on how many winning tickets there are (the fewer people who made the correct pick, the more you’ll win).
- Point Spread: If playing the point spread, the favoured team will be given a point/run/goal reduction to effectively even up the contest to make it a real 50/50 pick.
- Props: These are based on events within a game. For example, you might want to pick one quarterback to throw more touchdown passes than another in a game. Prop bets can offer a whole new way of looking at sports picks.
ON lottery corporation and responsible gaming
The responsible gaming program run by the Ontario Lottery Corporation is called ‘Play Smart’. This is designed to protect those people that may have or develop gambling problems. It provides education, including videos, on the signs of problems. There are also guides on how to play different games, etiquette (for live gambling), and strategies.
You can set budget and time limits — or enter voluntary self-exclusion if needed. Links and phone numbers for organizations that can help are also provided. This includes resources for friends and family members that may be concerned.
How do lottery proceeds help Ontario?
A staggering $55 billion has been provided to good causes in Ontario since the first lottery draw in 1975. OLG has a ‘Corporate Social Responsibility‘ mandate. This means they aim to provide positive social benefits for everyone involved in running and playing the lottery and other forms of gaming.
Money raised is split between the government, host communities, and local charities. There is also a commitment to funding the reduction in problem gambling. Examples of specific areas that receive funding are hospitals, amateur sports, and strengthening relationships with local indigenous communities.
Wrapping up: Playing lottery games in Ontario
Ontario residents have a huge choice of lottery draws, scratch tickets and online casino options. The big national draws have been won in Ontario many times — with some life-changing jackpot prizes awarded. You can also win jackpots in ON-only draws, via instant games, or through the legal online slots provided by OLG.
Best of all, the money raised by OLG stays in Ontario — supporting community organizations, education, and the environment.