The Maryland Lottery resembles something of a trailblazer when it comes to state lottery systems.
The Old Line State was one of the leaders among states with lotteries, starting sales in January 1973. Nearly a third of its revenue over the half-century since has gone to support many causes in the state like education, infrastructure, and local governments.
A portion of the funds also provides treatment for individuals with compulsive gambling issues. Sales also provide additional revenue for retailers. Finally, income taxes paid on winnings support various federal and state projects.
Here’s info on how to buy tickets and the history of the Maryland Lottery. Some details about the different types of games are also available. On top of it all, you can learn how to find out if you’ve won and what to do in that instance.
Multi-state draw games to play in Maryland
The Maryland Lottery participates in the Multi-State Lottery Corporation. For that reason, players in the state can buy tickets for the corporation’s popular draw games in person, and they can’t technically purchase Maryland Lottery tickets online. Drawings for these games take place every week on certain days. Two of them have progressive jackpots that have soared into nine and even 10 figures in the past. Another has a top prize that literally rewards long life spans.
Powerball drawings take place at 11 p.m. ET every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets cost $2 with the option to add the Power Play for a $1. The value of that Power Play multiplier can go all the way up to 10X, though. Non-jackpot prizes for this game start at $4 for matching the Powerball.
For this game and all other multi-state draw games, you can prepare your playslip on the Maryland Lottery mobile application instead of using a physical playslip. The field of numbers is slightly smaller here, going from 1 to 69. The Power Ball range is slightly bigger, though, as it runs from 1 to 26. Pick five numbers and a Power Ball number or do a Quick Pick to play. Nailing all five numbers plus the Power Ball gets you the progressive jackpot. In terms of overall odds, they’re 1 in 24.8 for this game.
Can I buy a Powerball ticket online in Maryland?
While some states offer the option of buying lottery tickets online, Maryland isn’t one of these. To purchase a Powerball ticket, you’ll have to pay a visit to a Maryland Lottery Retailer.
Mega Millions is the original multi-state draw game, and you can watch drawings every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m. ET to see if you’ve won the progressive jackpot. The corporation bases initial jackpot values and roll increases on sales figures from around the country, so the value can add up quickly.
Tickets for this game are also $2, with non-jackpot prizes starting out at that same value. You can also add the Megaplier to your ticket for $1, which will multiply the worth of your non-jackpot winnings if you should prove fortunate enough.
The pool of numbers for this game is 1 to 70. The Mega Ball has a range from 1 to 25. Pick five numbers and a Mega Ball number or choose the Quick Pick. You can make your play active for up to five consecutive drawings if you wish, which is a common option for all multi-state draw games. Matching all five numbers plus the Mega Ball gets you the jackpot. If just your Mega Ball number matches, you’ll break even with a $2 prize.
Should you opt for the Megaplier, each drawing will determine the multiplier on that option, ranging from 2X to 5X. So, it’s possible to win as much as $5 million for matching all five numbers with a 5X Megaplier. The odds of winning a prize of any value here are 1 in 24.
Can I buy a Mega Millions ticket online in Maryland?
Much like with Powerball, Maryland Lottery players cannot purchase a Mega Millions ticket online. Instead, you’ll have to visit one of the various Maryland Lottery Retailers located throughout the state.
Every night at 9 p.m. ET, players get a chance at a top prize of $1,000 a day for the rest of their lives, courtesy of Cash4Life. Even the second prize is remarkable, though, as it is $1,000 a week for the remainder of winners’ lives. Smaller prizes start at $2 and cap out at $2,500. Tickets are $2, and sales for nightly drawings suspend at 8:45 p.m.
To play, pick five numbers from 1 to 60 and then one Cash Ball number from 1 to 4. Alternatively, you can opt for a Quick Pick, which means the computer will select numbers for you. That’s an option for all multi-state draw games. If you match all five numbers plus the Cash Ball, you win the grand prize. Matching just one number gets you your $2 back, though, so the odds of winning something in this game are a decent 1 in 8.
Maryland state draw games
While Mega Millions and Powerball often draw a lot of media attention because of the huge progressive jackpots, the Maryland Lottery has its own contingent of draw-style games available.
These titles offer more frequent drawings and some of them have a lower price point. Additionally, some of them are simpler games, which can mean better odds of winning.
For Maryland-only draw games, you have many of the same options available for the multi-state games. Those include the option to prepare an ePlayslip, activate your plays for up to five consecutive drawings, and the Quick Pick instead of manually selecting numbers.
5 Card Cash
This game is based on standard poker with one deck and drawings happening every evening. Tickets for 5 Card Cash cost $2, and you can win instantly if the poker hand on your ticket shows a pair of Jacks or better. Your ticket will show a random 5-card hand, and the more of the cards that match those pulled in the drawing, the more you win.
Bonus Match 5
Another nightly drawn game, Bonus Match 5 asks you to pick five numbers out of a pool of 1 to 39. Then, you select a Bonus Ball out of the remaining numbers. Cost starts at $1 and tops out at $6, depending on how you choose to play. Prizes start at $2 for matching two numbers plus the Bonus Ball.
This common and popular draw game earned that reputation throughout the country because of the huge volume of options when it comes to how to play Keno. In the Maryland Lottery version, you can wager between $1 and $20, with drawings occurring every three-and-a-half minutes throughout each day. Prizes range from $1 to $100,000.
Every Monday and Thursday night, the lottery draws six numbers from a pool of 1 t0 43. If you match all six on any single line on your $2 ticket, you win the progressive jackpot for Multi-Match. Tickets for this game have three lines, giving you four different ways to win prizes that start at $2 for matching five numbers across the three lines.
Pick 3/Pick 4
For Pick 3 and Pick 4, you do what the names suggest: Pick either three or four numbers. There are many different ways to play and win in both games. You can also opt to wager as little as $0.25 or as much as $1 on each play. Drawings happen twice daily.
Racetrax plays very similarly to Keno but features a 3-D animated “horse race.” Races start every five minutes throughout the day, and the game has a bonus wheel that allows players to multiply their winnings. You can bet anywhere from $1 to $20 with winnings based on the wager plus the fixed odds on the “horse” you choose.
Maryland instant win games
Many lottery players in Maryland prefer more instant gratification. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for that.
The most common type of game in this category is scratch-off cards. These come in a variety of themes with some seasonal releases. Tickets start out at just $1 and ramp up to $30. Potential prizes escalate with cost, ranging from paying you back for what you spent on the card all the way up to $2 million. For prizes of up to $600, you can usually redeem a winning card at the same place you bought them.
For an even quicker potential reward, the Maryland Lottery offers Fast Play. There’s no scratching involved here. Just buy a ticket from a store clerk or vending machine. The ticket will instantly tell you whether or not you won and for how much. The cost to play these games starts at $1, and non-jackpot prizes top out at $100,000. Several of the titles feature progressive jackpots as well.
Lottery retailers in Maryland
Many different types of businesses can acquire licenses to sell lottery tickets in Maryland. You might find lottery ticket sales at:
- Convenience stores
- Gas stations
- Liquor stores
- Tobacco shops
- Truck stops
Because of the wide availability, it’s likely you’re always near a place where you can purchase tickets. The Maryland Lottery website has a page specifically devoted to helping customers find the retailer nearest them.
What to do if you win the lottery jackpot
So, you just defied the odds and hit a jackpot win. Now what should you do?
For any payday, lottery players should take certain procedures to claim their winnings. For those who have large prizes waiting for them — think around six figures — consider these best practices in the video below in order to better prepare yourself if you do end up hitting it big.
Maryland Lottery apps
While online ticket sales remain illegal in Maryland, you can conduct a lot of your other business with the state lottery on its mobile application. To get it, visit the App Store on iOS devices or visit the Maryland Lottery website on Android devices. Once it’s on your device, you can use the app to:
- Check drawing results
- Create ePlayslips for use at retailers and save your favorite numbers
- Find a retailer nearest to your location
- Scan any draw or scratch-off ticket to see if you’ve won
- See the current values of progressive jackpots and set custom alerts when those hit desired thresholds
The Maryland Lottery also has a separate app for its loyalty program. You can register for free right on the app if you don’t have an account prior. This app has many of the same functions as the standard app, but it also allows you to scan your tickets for rewards points accumulation, then redeem those points for prizes.
You can also download specific apps for the Maryland Lottery’s Keno and Racetrax games. These apps give more details about how to play, which numbers have been hitting lately, potential payouts for your play, and clue you into promotions. Additionally, you can watch Keno drawings right in the app. However, you still must visit a physical retailer to actually purchase your tickets.
Who does the Maryland Lottery benefit?
The numbers from fiscal year 2020 are a good representation of where the money from lottery ticket sales goes. Of $2.189 billion in sales, here’s the breakdown:
- $1.361 billion (62.1%) paid out to winners
- $548.5 million (25%) paid to the state’s general fund
- $163.7 million (7.5%) paid to retailers as commissions
- $75.5 million (3.5%) kept for operating expenses
- $20 million to schools in Baltimore
- $20 million to the Maryland Stadium Authority
- $156,000 to veterans’ organizations
History of the Maryland Lottery
In November 1972, Maryland voters approved a constitutional amendment authorizing legal gambling in the state for the first time. Less than two months later, the regulatory framework was in place and the lottery started working to get its products to market.
The first game, Twin Win, became available to players on May 15, 1973. The Maryland Lottery debuted its first scratch-off games in February 1976.
As one of the pioneers of multi-state lottery games, the Maryland Lottery was influential in paving the way for its draw-style games. In 1996, it introduced The Big Game, which would lay the foundation for Mega Millions in 2002.
Under the auspice of the state legislature and with subsequent amendments, the Maryland Lottery has since expanded to oversee video lottery terminals (2002), casinos in Maryland (2010), and now Maryland sports betting.