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US Gambling Sites / California Online Gambling Sites 2024 / California Online Lottery: Buy California Lotto Tickets Online

California Online Lottery: Buy California Lotto Tickets Online

Publish Date: 30/05/2021
Fact checked by: Josh Schwartz

Whether you’re looking to play the California lotto online, or you’re simply looking to purchase tickets - the Captain's got you covered here today.

From the statewide games to the Los Angeles lotteries and San Francisco lotto tickets, we’ll cover everything you need to know about everyone’s favorite game of chance. From the boring but important details of the commission to our tips and tricks to how you can find yourself holding a seven-figure check in the winner’s spotlight - we’re here to help!

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California Lottery - From Then, Until Now

Lotto life on the sunny West Coast started with the California State Lottery back in 1984, when voters passed Proposition 37 in November of that year to legalise lottery games in California. The first ticket was sold in 1985 and the state lottery has been running ever since - the rest, as they say, is history. After the legalized Lottery Act, the initial lottery game was just one single state-wide weekly draw, which we’ll expand upon after a quick history lesson - don’t worry, we’ll keep it interesting, promise!

A Short History of California Lotteries

So life for the California lottery began in 1984 - some ten years later than the Delaware lotto online and most of the other East Coast states, but half a decade earlier than the Indiana lotteries. The first-ever lottery in the State was run by the California State Lottery, which still runs it, and all other lottery spin-off games in the state, to this day. Unlike other states, including Illinois lotto tickets, no third party or private companies run any of the legally available lotteries in the state.

As well as the original flagship weekly draw, there are now numerous games that you can buy tickets for in California, including multiple draw games, scratchers and second chance draws - but we’ll get to those in more detail later on. For now let’s focus on the important fact that the California lottery is still in public hands, the reason for which we’ll explain below - because it’s actually pretty damn cool.

California State Lottery - Still Serving the Public

Rather than being due to widespread conservatism as it was in many of the Southern US States, California’s late arrival to the lotto scene was due to the fact they wanted to ensure it served the interest of the public - which it did when it was legalized and continues to do so to this very day. None of the money made from the sale of  California lotto tickets goes towards profits of any kind. This is more or less the same for the majority of state lotteries, however, the breakdown of how the money is used in California is more interesting.

Buy California Lotto Tickets Online - Help Education

The best use of the money brought in from the California State lottery is that 34% of all takings must go toward public education - this was a founding principle that they still adhere to, to this very day. 50% of all money made has to go back to the consumers in the form of prize funds, with the remaining 16% being left for administration costs including salaries. As we said, all lotteries in the US are state-funded, however, some states allow private lotteries as well.

Not all states, however, set aside a fair chunk of the money for public education. California has the power to do so because it has remained independent. Unlike the Iowa lotto online and others, the California State Lottery is not a part of the Multi State Lottery Association (MUSL). While this independence offers a lot of upsides, such as the division of public funds, there are also some downsides to standing alone as well - but we’d say that, as far as California is concerned, they’ve used the pros to their advantage so well that the cons are outweighed by far.

California Lotto Online - Entering the Digital Era

Just like everything from car insurance to food shopping and socializing - the California State Lottery had to move online. Today, the California State Lottery has an excellent website that you can use to check the draw results, read up on the types of games and a whole lot of other functions. The site is slick, well designed and gives you almost all of the information you need to know when it comes to playing the lottery in the Golden State.

Did you come here looking to buy California lotto tickets online? Let’s take a look at the possibilities available to you below.

California Lotto Online Buying Tickets


If you wanna buy California lotto tickets online, then you are unfortunately outta luck. In California, you can’t buy lotto tickets online, over the phone or by mail (duh, it’s not 1970, right?!). As things stand, you can only buy lotto tickets from official lottery retailers who are licensed in the state of California. You shouldn’t be too worried though, as there are thousands upon thousands of licensed retails, so don’t fret about feeling restricted here. If you have any problems, you might not be able to buy tickets online or over the phone, but you can call them up and speak to a super friendly staff member - West Coast customer service, best in the world yo!

Playing California Lotteries - The Important Things to Know

Like with everything in life, there are a few basic things that you need to know about playing the lottery in California. From the rules and regulations to how to play and more, we are going to lay down the most important points that you need to know about playing the lottery in the Golden State. We’re going to give you this information in the form of answers to the most frequently asked questions that we’ve received from our California site readers.

California Lotteries - Your Questions Answered

  • What Age Do You Have to Be?

The legal age for playing the lottery in California is 18 years - above the driving age, but lower than the drinking age - can’t complain, right?

  • How Can I Buy a California Lotto Ticket?

You gotta be in it to win it, and you can do so by getting your tickets from an official lottery retailer - of which there are many. As we mentioned above, you can’t buy tickets or play the California lotto online. Bummer.

  • How Do I Know If I’ve Won?

You win the lottery by having the numbers on your ticket match those which are drawn - but you knew that, right? You can check the numbers in a variety of different ways - you can go old school and watch the draw live, however now that it’s 2024 you can simply check them on the California State Lottery afterwards anytime or call them up. If you want to be notified you can even make an account with the California State Lottery.

  • How Do I Claim if I Win?

The answer to this question depends on the size of the prize, therefore we’ll give you a little breakdown right here:

Prizes Under $599

For prizes under $599, you can simply collect your prize at any local lottery retailer in California and they’ll give you cash in hand over the counter there and then - easy! Alternatively, if you wanna kick it old school you can mail off your winning ticket - but why go through all that and wait ten times as long when you can just have the cash handed to you at the store?

Prizes Over $599

The first thing you need to do if you win a big prize is to download the Claim Form PDF online, which you can do on the California State Lottery website. Then, once that’s done you can either take the completed form along with your winning ticket to a California Lottery District Office, which you can find in most major towns and cities in the state. If you don’t live near a DO, or can’t make it, you can mail your winning ticket and claim form out to them.

Can I Play California Lotteries if I’m from Out of State?

Yes, you can, in fact, you don’t even have to be a US citizen - as long as you have a valid winning ticket, it doesn’t matter if you’re from the Hills of Tennessee or the Himilayan Valleys of Kathmandu, you can collect your winnings legally and legitimately. As you can’t buy tickets online though, you do need to actually go to California to buy a ticket. Bottom line, if you’re on vacation, you can play and win the lottery.

Creating a California Lotto Online Account

If you want to increase your chances of winning any of the California State Lottery games or scratchers, you should create a Lottery account. Now, we know what you’re thinking - “what’s the point of creating an account if I can’t buy tickets on the site?” Well, there are a few reasons actually, with the most important reason being that it opens up more opportunities for you to win big prizes, most notably through 2nd Chance.

California Lotteries - What is 2nd Chance?

As concepts go, 2nd chance is pretty much self-explanatory - it gives you another chance to win prizes through bonus and promotional draws with California lotto games. All you need are the following two things:

  1. A California State Lottery Account
  2. A 2nd Chance Code

All Super Lotto Plus tickets, losing scratchers and $5 or more Fantasy 5 tickets will have a 2nd chance code written on the, which can be used to claim some decent prizes. To find out if you’ve won your 2nd chance, you simply need to create an account by filling in the form via the California State Lottery website or the downloadable Lottery App. Once you’ve done so, sign in and enter the code on any of the California lotto tickets that you have as listed above.

California Lotto Online - 2nd Chance Prizes


So we all know the big lotto prizes offer you a very small chance of winning a very big prize, but what about the 2nd chance prizes, which are smaller but more attainable. The prize potential available to you via second chance depends on the type of ticket you have and how much you’ve spent. For all ticket types, you get one 2nd chance entry for every dollar you spend - so a single $5 play ticket gets you five second-chance entries.

The 2nd Chance Game Prizes Breakdown as Follows: 

  • SuperLotto Plus 2nd Chance: $15,000 a week
  • Scratchers 2nd Chance: $25,000 a week
  • Fantasy 5 – 2nd Chance: $10,000 a week

Our Conclusion on California State Lottery

So there you have everything you need to know, but before we go let’s summarize what we’ve learned regarding California lotto tickets. Firstly, you don’t need to be Californian to win the CA Lotto, but you do have to be in California to buy a ticket. Secondly, remember to create an account to check your 2nd chance prize, and lastly, there are multiple games to be played in [yyyy].

California Lotteries FAQ

🏆 Which California lottery game has the best chance of winning?

Naturally, the games with the best chance of winning have lower prizes, and that’s no difference with California lotteries. The answer to this question may change depending on the area or county jurisdiction where you are. Why? Well for example the Los Angeles lottery prizes are different from those in San Fran or Orange County.

❓ Can a foreigner win the CA lottery?

It’s a common problem people face - you’re on vacation in another state, you buy a lottery ticket and then suddenly think - “oh no, what if I win and can’t claim the prize because I’m not from this state?!” Different states in the US have different rules here, if you wanna find out the rules in San Francisco and California, follow, check out our latest guide to California lotto online.

👥 Can you stay anonymous if you win the lottery in California?

Most people want the money, but not everybody wants the fame - but can one come without the other if you win the lottery in a state that’s super well known for its love of celebrity culture? The answer is a little complex, but if you head over to Captain Gambling, we'll do our best to explain. On our site, you'll also find the answers to any other questions you might have about gambling. Are online casinos legal in California? Can I wager on sports in California? Those are just two of the many you'll find answered right here.

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