The Virginia Lottery is an autonomous agency of the Commonwealth governed by this chapter, operating with complete independence from legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. Led by a Director and Board of Directors appointed by Governor Ralph Northam as head of its Department that administers state lottery and sports betting activities according to this Chapter.
The lottery is a popular form of recreation and entertainment in the United States. A significant portion of its proceeds is used to fund public education; additionally, scholarships for students, veterans’ benefits, job training programs and job training programs all benefit from participation in lottery draws. Over half of American adults play at least once every year – which demonstrates its popularity!
Virginia Lottery also offers instant (scratcher) games as an addition to traditional draw games, with prizes ranging from $20 up to a grand prize of $500,000. Scratcher game winners have odds of 1 in 816,000 while chances of any prize wining range between 1 in 6.86. You can purchase tickets online as well as at most gas stations, convenience stores and grocery stores across Virginia.
Lottery prizes can be claimed from authorized retailers or customer service centers throughout the state. Retailers offer payment in cash or check; larger prizes may require redemption at one of eight customer service centers – including Lottery Headquarters in Richmond – instead.
The Virginia Lottery is well-known for its large jackpots and commitment to public education. Since 1999, when its inception, more than $10 billion has been donated directly or indirectly to Virginia schools as part of the Lottery’s mission of supporting K-12 education in Virginia schools; one third of Lottery profits go directly back into schools; two-thirds support educational initiatives.
Virginia currently offers three lottery games: Mega Millions, Powerball and Cash4Life. Mega Millions offers multi-state players the opportunity to win up to an estimated jackpot of up to $70 Million every drawing; players choose five numbers between one and 70 plus an optional Megaplier number to increase prize values non-jackpot prizes won. Powerball provides similar play with an estimated $262 Million jackpot prize available every drawing.
Powerball and Mega Millions offer winners the option of selecting between lump sum and annuity payments, with an annuity payment purchasing U.S. Treasury bonds to cover prize amount minus federal income tax withheld; payments are then dispersed over 30 annual installments.
Virginia’s former multi-state lottery game, Decades of Dollars, used a similar prize structure; out of 112 drawings conducted between April 2014 and April 2015, no top prize winner selected either the annuity or cash option as their winning prize option. Virginia replaced Decades of Dollars with Cash4Life which can also be played simultaneously in Georgia and Kentucky.