- Where can I buy tickets?
- The NCEL currently has more than 6,800 retailers throughout North Carolina. You can recognize a Lottery retailer by the PLAY HERE signs that are posted in or around their store. To locate a retailer in your area use our zip code search for a list of locations near you.
- Are prizes taxable?
- Yes. All prizes won are subject to Federal and State withholdings. For more specific information, please contact the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-829-1040 or www.irs.gov.
- What happens if I lose a winning ticket?
- If you lose your ticket, anyone can claim it. A ticket is a bearer instrument until signed. Unless you sign the ticket, anyone else who has the ticket can claim the prize.
- How long do I have to collect a prize?
- For instant scratch-off games, you have 90 days from the official announced end of game. If mailed, the ticket must be received by the NCEL within 90 days. Postmarks will not satisfy this requirement. Online tickets (like Powerball) must be redeemed within 180 days of the drawing for which the ticket was purchased.
- What are the odds of winning a prize in the Lottery?
- The odds of winning vary by game and are printed on the back of every instant scratch-off ticket. You can also obtain the odds of a particular game by checking the How to Play section of this website or by picking up a How To Play brochure at your local retailer.
- What does “Overall Odds” mean?
- Overall odds provide the average amount of winning tickets per game. For example, if a game has odds of 1 in 4, which means for all of the tickets in the entire game, there will be one winning ticket per every four tickets. However, because prizes are distributed randomly throughout a pack, it does not mean that there will be a winning ticket every 4th ticket.
- How old do I have to be to play?
- You must be at least 18 years of age or older to play.
- Can I use a credit card to purchase lottery tickets?
- No. Acceptable forms of payment include cash, check, debit card, and gift card at the retailer's discretion.
- Can I buy lottery tickets through the mail?
- No. North Carolina Education Lottery tickets must be purchased at a retailer under contract with the Lottery. In addition, federal law and postal regulations do not allow an unplayed lottery ticket to be mailed across state lines.
- Do I have the option of remaining anonymous with regard to the media and the public?
- The NCEL will consider a winner’s name, city/county, and the prize amount a matter of public record, unless the winner produces a valid protective order or Address Confidentiality Program authorization card.
- How can I claim a winning ticket?
- Claiming a North Carolina Education Lottery (NCEL) prize is simple. A winning ticket must be presented and verified in order to receive your prize. A NCEL ticket is a bearer instrument until signed.
• Prizes with a value of $599 or less, including free tickets, can be collected at any NCEL retailer or Regional Office by mail using a NCEL prize claim form.
• Prizes with a value between $600 and $99,999.99 must be claimed at NCEL headquarters, any NCEL Regional Office or by mail using a NCEL prize claim form. Prizes of $100,000 or more must be claimed in person at NCEL headquarters.
• For all prizes of $600 and above photo I.D. and proof of Social Security number is required.
- Can I claim my prize by mail?
• Prizes with a value of $599 or less, including free tickets, can be collected at any NCEL retailer or Regional Office by mail using a NCEL prize claim form for Prizes $599 or less.
• Prizes with a value between $600 and $99,999.99 must be claimed at NCEL headquarters, any NCEL Regional Office or by mail using a NCEL prize claim form for Prizes $600 or more. Prizes of $100,000 or more must be claimed in person at NCEL headquarters.
Please complete a winner claim form. Then mail the claim form, copies of identification and your signed winning ticket to:
North Carolina Education Lottery
P.O. Box 41606
Raleigh, NC 27629-1606
Be sure to provide your complete name and address information on the envelope. The North Carolina Education Lottery Corporation is not responsible for tickets which are lost by the U.S. Postal Service or any other carrier. If you have questions on how to claim, please call Player Services at (877) 962-7529.
Play at the Pump
- What is Play at the Pump and how does it work?
- Play at the Pump is a new convenient and fast way to play the Carolina Cash 5, Powerball and Mega Millions jackpot games. And it’s simple! Just swipe your debit card at the pump and drive away with your numbers for the next jackpot drawing. Right now Play at the Pump is available at a limited number of retailers, but more locations will be added over the next few months so look for it at your favorite fuel location soon.
For additional information on the North Carolina Education Lottery’s Play at the Pump program please visit www.ncelonthego.com/faq.