Lottery in North Carolina 2021

Lottery in North Carolina is one of the youngest lotteries in the United States. It was only established in 2005 when the Governor Mike Easley put his signature on the North Carolina State Lottery Act. There’s been a lot of controversy around the establishment of the North Carolina lottery as this was one of the states where there was a lot of pushback from the lawmakers.

When it was finally launched, it was with the stipulation that 100 percent of all proceeds would go towards building schools and in other ways benefiting the state’s educational system. For this reason, it was dubbed the North Carolina Education Lottery (NCLE). To date, the state lottery has contributed well over USD 5 billion towards this goal and continues to do so every day.

North Carolina Lottery: Playing Offline

Since it was first established in 2005, lottery North Carolina has been offering a number of multi-state as well as in-state draws as well as lottery scratchers. All of these are available to players in various retail stores across the state.

There are no special rules or stipulations that would make lottery games in North Carolina much different from those offered in other states. While NC may have been somewhat late to the party, they copied already successful models from other states and built on those models. As already mentioned all proceeds from lottery sales go towards the education.

North Carolina Lottery: Playing Online

While the NC lottery online site was launches shortly after the lottery had been established, it wasn’t until late 2013 that the state started offering players a chance to actually buy subscriptions online instead of having to purchase tickets in the shops. This was done based on the 2011 interpretation of the Wire Act by the DOJ, which stated that lotteries aren’t forbidden under Act’s provision.

Having said that, players from North Carolina can only buy subscriptions for inter-state draws on the site. You won’t be able to buy tickets for any state-only drawings or scratchers on the lottery site as these are still kept in-store only.

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Lottery in North Carolina Review: Product Overview

Residents of North Carolina have access to a decent number of lottery drawings as well as various instant-win scratch cards. The NC state lottery sells tickets for pretty much all major draws such as Mega Millions and Powerball as well as a few other popular lotteries that involve more states. There are also several state-only lotteries.

North Carolina Lotteries 2021

The North Carolina lottery offers a good range of multi-state lottery drawings. If you’re interested in chasing big, eight and even nine-figure jackpots, they have you covered. You’ll be able to buy all your North Carolina lottery tickets without any issues and get involved for as much as you like every time there is a major draw.

  • Mega Millions is a multi-state lottery offered in 44 US states, North Carolina being one of them. Like in all other states, tickets are sold at USD 2 a piece with an option to buy a win multiplier for USD 1 per play. The Megaplier can boost all your non-jackpot winnings up to five times.

The Mega Millions jackpot starts at USD 40,000,000 and grows with every draw there isn’t the winner. To scoop the main jackpot, you need to correctly predict all five numbers and the Mega Ball number and you’re up against it as odds are about 1 in 302 million. Draws take place two times a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

  • The Powerball lottery in North Carolina is another hugely popular drawing that happens twice a week, every Wednesday and Saturday evening. Like Mega Millions, tickets are sold at USD 2 each and there is the option to buy the prize multiplier for each play for additional USD 1 per play. With Powerball, however, your multiplier can go as high as 10x.

Odds of winning the main Powerball jackpot, which also seeds at USD 40 million, are about 1 in 292,000,000, so it is still a long shot, although a slightly more likely one than Mega Millions. To win the jackpot, players need to correctly predict all five numbers as well as the number on the Power Ball. Powerball is available in 46 US states.

  • Another major draw offered by the North Carolina state lottery is Lucky for Life. Offered in 25 states and the District of Columbia, the game offers two very attractive jackpots. The first one is a chance to win $1,000 paid every day for the rest of your life, while the second one is $25,000 paid every year for the rest of your life (with the minimum of 20 years for both).

Lucky for Life tickets are also sold for USD 2 and can be bought at land-based retail locations and online. NC live lottery draws are held on Mondays and Thursdays. Odds of winning the main jackpot are around 1 in 30.8 million, while the odds for the second prize are about 1 in 1.8 million.

North Carolina Lottery: Carolina Cash 5

Residents of NC can participate in a special North Carolina lotto game called Carolina Cash 5. In this lotto-style game, the goal is to correctly guess five out of total of 43 numbers. The jackpot for Carolina Cash 5 starts at USD 100,000 and it carries over to the next draw every time there is no main winner. The jackpot is pari-mutual, meaning it is divided equally among winners if there are more than one in any individual draw.

Tickets are sold at USD 1 but are only available at physical retail locations and not online. This exclusive North Carolina lottery drawing first launched in October of 2006 and since then, it’s been taking place every night of the week. The odds of winning the main lottery jackpot are around 1 in 963,000.

Like with all other draws, all players have to be at least 18 years of age to participate. While this lottery doesn’t have a huge jackpot like some of the multi-state games, the odds of winning are much more realistic, which makes the game very appealing and quite popular among NC players.

Games & Scratch Cards

Beyond these main draws, the NC Carolina lottery also offers a couple of smaller draws as well as a great range of scratch cards. In fact, scratch cards are quite popular in North Carolina and some of them feature huge potential wins, offering jackpots as high as USD 10,000,000.

  • Carolina Pick 3 is a NC lottery drawing that happens twice a day, every day of the week. Players can place bets on three numbers drawn to appear in the exact or any order. The main jackpot for correctly guessing all three numbers in the correct order is 500 times the bet.
  • Carolina Pick 4 was launched in 2009, about two and a half years after Pick 3. The principle of this NC lotto game is pretty much the same, except players need to correctly guess four numbers. The jackpot is 5,000 times the bet and odds of winning are about 1 in 10,000.

As mentioned, there is also a great range of lottery scratchers available in the state. These sell at various prices, starting as low as USD 1 per scratcher and going as high as USD 20 for a NC lottery ticket. Of course, the bigger the price, the bigger the potential prize amounts players stand to win.

Scratch cards are very popular in North Carolina and their sales are quite big in the state. However, at this point in time, these scratchers are only offered in retail locations while players can’t buy them online.

Special Offers & Drawings

While many state lotteries have a practice where they organize special drawings and games on special occasions, North Carolina isn’t one of them. There are no special games outside of regular drawings. Of course, this could change in the future if people behind lottery for North Carolina see this as a marketing opportunity and a chance to create even more interest among players.

North Carolina Lottery Online: Online Features & Services Under Review

We’ve already covered a great deal of what’s offered by the online site of NC lottery but it doesn’t hurt to make a short summary once again and put it all in one place. As mentioned several times, the state currently only offers a subscription model, whereby players can subscribe for future draws for major draws such as Mega Millions, Cash for Life, and Powerball. Lottery tickets North Carolina for local draws like Carolina Cash 5 aren’t available and there are no scratch cards on offer online. Players can also use the site to watch NC lottery live draws.

How to Use NC Lottery Site

To be able to use the NC lottery online services, you’ll first need to register your basic account by filling in the required details. Then, you’ll need to send in the required documents, confirming you’re of legal age and have a physical address in North Carolina as only residents of the state can take advantage of online services.

With the upgraded account, you’ll be able to subscribe to up to 104 upcoming draws and pay for it all using your debit card or bank transfer. According to current North Carolina lottery laws, you can only buy up to three tickets for any individual draw, which is somewhat low compared to many other states, where players can buy up to 10 tickets.

When it comes to winnings, all wins up to USD 600 will be paid to your online account and you’ll be able to withdraw them back to your bank. However, for higher amounts, you’ll need to visit your local lottery office or the lottery headquarters to accept your prize in person. This is a pretty common procedure in most states for all bigger jackpots although exact amounts vary from one state to another.

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North Carolina Lottery: History

For a long time, North Carolina was the only East Coast state without a lottery. The main reason for this was a strong political opposition against the idea as a lottery was traditionally seen as a sort of regressive tax that mostly influenced the poor. That’s the main reason it took until 2005 for the state to finally pass the required constitutional amendments.

Even then, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the lottery law. Namely, the act was passed during the August 30, 2005 session, when two of the strongest lottery opponents announced their absences. Those looking to set things in motion arranged for special vote on that day and managed to barely pass the new law, with the Governor breaking the tie. This finally gave the green light for the start of sale of lottery tickets North Carolina.

Lottery in North Carolina: Biggest Winnings

Although North Carolina hasn’t had a lottery for that long, it’s seen a fair share of big winners and memorable scores. As is often the case, some of these stories go beyond just huge cash amounts and are truly heart-warming.

The biggest-ever lotto winner from North Carolina was Charles W. Jackson Jr., who won a USD 344.6 million Powerball jackpot. Charles, who was 66 at the time of his win, has been playing the same numbers for Powerball and Mega Millions drawings for two years before his lucky hit came on June 1, 2019. The winner opted to take the lump sum and ended up with USD 158 million after taxes.

Richard Beare may have won “only” USD 250,000 but it was a huge win for the man who was diagnosed with the Stage 4 liver cancer. Richard was actually buying Powerball tickets for his wife but decided to also buy a few scratchers while he was there. Little did he know that one of scratch cards was hiding the USD 250,000 jackpot. After paying taxes, Beare ended up with USD 176876, which he used to take his wife for a vacation in Italy, something they had long been planning on doing but never got around to it.

Top Five Lottery Wins in North Carolina

RankLotteryDatePrize in USD
1PowerballJune 1, 2019344,600,000
2PowerballFeb. 11, 2015188,000,000
3Mega MillionsNov. 22, 20133,000,000
4Mega MillionsJan. 14, 20141,000,000
5Mega MillionsApril 1, 20141,000,000

Chances: The Online Development of North Carolina Lottery

All things considered, the state lottery in NC is a pretty good one, offering plenty of great opportunities for the players, from local to multi-state drawings and games, NC live lottery coverage, and much more. However, there is always some room for improvement and there are definitely things North Carolina could and should implement moving forward.

The biggest thing we’d like to see is ability to purchase tickets for all sorts of draws, not just the multi-state ones, as well as some online scratchers. These are definitely some of the improvements that would benefit the players. However, there is some pushback from land-based retailers who are afraid this could adversely affect their sales, which is the last thing they want as all stores receive a certain percentage of winnings from tickets sold in their places of business.

North Carolina Lottery Online FAQs

How to buy lottery tickets in North Carolina online?

You can purchase lottery tickets in North Carolina using the lottery site but only for multi-state draws like Mega Millions, Cash for Life, or Powerball. The site doesn’t feature any local draws and you can’t buy any scratch cards online.

Can you play the lottery online in North Carolina?

You can play the lottery online in NC as long as you register on the site and have a local address. Namely, only players who actually live in North Carolina can participate in online draws and make online purchases using their debit cards or bank transfers.

How much are lottery winnings taxed in North Carolina?

According to new and improved lottery taxes in North Carolina, all lottery winners who win a prize in excess of USD 5,000 need to pay 25 percent federal tax as well as flat 5.8 percent state tax. This new structure came instead of the progressive taxation scheme that was in force previously.

What is the North Carolina-only lottery draw?

North Carolina hosts a special lottery drawing available only to NC residents. The lottery is called Carolina Cash 5 and draws take place every night. The jackpot starts at USD 100,000 and grows over time with every drawing with no jackpot winner.

How to claim lottery anonymously in North Carolina?

According to current laws and rules, lottery winners can’t remain anonymous in North Carolina. The basic information about all winners who win a prize in excess of USD 600 is public record in the state.

Conclusion: Pick Your Winners

If you live in North Carolina, you certainly won’t be lacking options when it comes to lottery draws you can participate in. The state offers all major lottery tickets for sale both online and in live retail locations so you just need to pick your winners and keep your fingers crossed. On top of this, you’ll find heaps of great scratchers with really big potential prizes, although these can only be bought in stores and not online.
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