Lottery Glossary

August 1, 2023

 

Welcome to our Glossary page, your comprehensive guide to the lottery world.

Whether you’ve been playing the lottery for years or you are just starting out, this glossary is designed to be a complete reference to understanding the jargon used throughout all lotteries.

From commonly used words like ‘jackpot’ and ‘quick pick’ to more specialized terms like ‘annuity option’ and ‘multi-state lottery’ our aim is to offer straightforward and clear definitions to help you make knowledgeable choices.

 

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W

A

Add-on Feature
In some lottery games players have the option to add extra features to their tickets alongside the main game. These features come with an additional cost and can enhance the chances of winning or boost the prize money. Typically to include an add-on feature players simply mark the designated spot on the lottery play slip when purchasing their tickets.

Advanced Draw
Also known as an “Advanced Bet” or “Multi Draw”, it is a game feature that lets players participate in upcoming draws. Players can select their numbers for several consecutive draws within a defined range set by the lottery.

By opting for this feature the ticket value increases depending on the total number of plays chosen.

Advertised Jackpot
The guaranteed amount of money that the lottery operator promotes in online and media advertisements. It represents the jackpot value if the winner opts for the annuity payment option.

Annuity option
A payout alternative for large lottery jackpots where the winner receives the prize amount over a set period determined by the lottery rules, jackpot size and economic factors at the time of the win.

Any Order
A play option which allows players to choose a set of digits matching the number of digits to be drawn. To win, the selected digits must match the drawn digits regardless of their order.

Advance Bet
A ticket purchased for a future game drawing which takes place after the next regularly scheduled drawing for that game.

Agent
A vendor who sells lottery tickets.

Annuity
A prize payout option for certain lottery games with big jackpots. Winners receive their prize in yearly installments over 20 or more years rather than a single lump sum.

These annual payments are predetermined by the lottery rules and eventually accumulate to reach the total advertised jackpot amount.


B

Back Pair
A feature where players choose two digits. To win, the last two digits of the game result must exactly match the chosen digits in the same order.

Ball Draw Machine
A device used in lotteries to randomly select winning numbers from a pool of numbered balls.

Ball
In lottery draws a ball (number or digit) refers to a (usually spherical) numbered object which is randomly selected. Every game has a specific number of balls drawn and players win by matching the drawn balls.

Ball Set
The collection of numbered balls utilized in draw machines to select the winning numbers for a lottery game. Each lottery establishes specific rules and standards for how these balls are constructed, drawn and verified.

Bearer Document
This refers to an unsigned lottery ticket or document that belongs to whoever holds it.

Bearer Instrument
In the context of lotteries this refers to a document like a lottery ticket that proves ownership of a prize.

When you have a winning ticket it means you are the rightful owner of the prize it represents. Since ownership isn’t recorded elsewhere it’s essential to sign the back of your ticket to safeguard your claim.

Beneficiary
An organization or group that receives a portion of the lottery proceeds. The lottery commission is responsible for selecting the beneficiary which can vary from single entities to multiple social causes.

Common examples of lottery beneficiaries include state funding, education initiatives, support for the homeless and programs for the elderly.

Bonus Number (Supplementary Number/Extra Number/Bonus Ball)

This is an additional number (or numbers) drawn alongside a lottery’s main draw which can impact the prizes.

Bonus numbers are drawn from either the main draw’s number pool or their own unique pool. They may be included in the ticket cost or require an extra payment. In certain games bonus numbers can create new winning combinations especially in daily draw games and are sometimes used to define prize categories.

Book
A set of scratch-off lottery tickets that are available for instant play.

Box (Any Order)
In lottery games like Pick 2, Pick 3, Pick 4, or Pick 5, “Box” or “Any Order” is a wagering option which allows players to win by matching the drawn numbers in any order.

Boxed Bet
In a boxed bet the player selects a group of digits that match the number of digits to be drawn in the game. The player wins by matching all the digits in any order.

Bundle
A collection of individual and group entries offered to online players via a lottery messenger service.


C

Cancelled Ticket
This refers to a ticket that has been printed by the terminal but is no longer valid or usable and is deemed void.

Capped Jackpot
A jackpot with a maximum limit on its growth set to a predetermined value. When the jackpot hits this limit any additional funds that would have increased it are redirected to lower prize tiers.

Cash for Life
Referring to a game where the winner receives a fixed prize amount, but unlike traditional prizes, it is paid out in regular installments for the entirety of the winner’s life.

Claim Form
A necessary document for winners of substantial prizes to claim their rewards.

Claim Center
An authorized location where players can validate their winning lottery tickets and claim their respective prizes. Each state may have its own claim centers with varying prize amounts that they can pay out. It is different from lottery retailers which are licensed locations authorized to sell lottery products and payout prizes up to a specific predetermined limit.

Claim Period
The timeframe within which a lottery winner must collect their prize winnings. It is crucial for winners to be aware of the claim period because once it expires they may lose the opportunity to claim their prize. This period varies depending on the specific lottery.

Claim Process
The steps required to redeem a lottery prize as instructed by the lottery operator.

Cash Option
A prize payout method where the winner receives a single one-time payment instead of a series of payments over several years. This option differs from the annuity plan where winnings are distributed over an extended period. The lump-sum value of the cash option is determined based on bond rates used to purchase an equivalent annuity.

Cold Number
A number that has not appeared frequently in previous draws based on statistical data, leading some to believe it may not be likely to be drawn in the near future.

Combo
A “Combo” refers to a wager where a player combines both a Straight play and a Box play type.

Commission
The governing body of a lottery with both authoritative and advisory roles. It oversees and guides the lottery’s activities.

Consecutive Numbers
Consecutive numbers are simply numbers that follow each other in numerical order. For instance, 5, 6, and 7 are consecutive numbers, while 39, 40, and 41 also form a consecutive sequence.


D

Daily Game
A lottery game held at least once every day. This term also denotes a specific type of lottery game where players select numbers from 0 to 9 allowing for repetitions.

Date Game
A specific type of lottery game that is scheduled to occur on predetermined days.

Digit
A “digit” or “number” refers to any single number from 0 to 9.

Digit Game
Also known as a “numbers game” it refers to a lottery game where players select numbers to form a winning combination.

Draw (drawing)
The event where the winning numbers are unveiled. These draws are carried out by the official lottery operator and are frequently broadcasted live on television or online. “Draw Results” simply refers to the resulting numbers produced by a particular draw.

Draw Machine
The device used to randomly select the winning lottery numbers.

Drawing Results
The official outcome of a lottery drawing.

Drawing Format
The drawing format refers to the specific configuration that influences the odds of each bet. It encompasses crucial elements such as the number of machines used, the field of balls contained in each machine, and the total number of balls drawn from these machines during the lottery drawing. Understanding the drawing format is essential as it directly impacts your chances of winning and adds an exciting layer of complexity to the lottery experience.

Draw Game
In some regions the term “lottery” encompasses more than just traditional lottery tickets including raffles and instant games. A Draw Game is a type of lottery game based on chance, where the winning results are determined by a random drawing procedure.


E

Electronic Funds Transfer
Often abbreviated as EFT it refers to the direct transfer of funds from one bank account to another enabling convenient and secure transactions without the need for physical cash.

Estimated Jackpot
The expected highest prize for the next lottery draw. This amount may change based on ticket sales and the number of winning tickets.

Exact Order
A play option where players choose a set of digits that must match the drawing result in the precise order. To win, the player’s selected digits must align perfectly with the drawn numbers. It is the opposite of “Any Order” where matching digits can be in any order to win.

Extra Game (supplementaty game)
An additional game played alongside the main lottery game. These games provide players with extra opportunities to win additional prizes or enhance the prizes from the primary draw. Keep in mind that participating in these supplementary games usually incurs an extra cost on top of the ticket price.

Exotic Game
A lottery format that deviates from the usual set of win conditions.


F

Fixed Prize / Fixed Jackpot
A prize amount that remains constant for each draw. These fixed prizes are typically associated with lower prize tiers and daily draw games. Unlike progressive or rolling jackpots that increase with each draw, fixed prizes maintain the same value offering a predictable reward for lucky winners.

Fixed Payout
The specific cash amount awarded to a player when they match a predetermined set of numbers. This type of payout is often featured in daily draw games, instant win add-ons or card games. It ensures that players receive a set prize for their winning combinations making the winnings more predictable and straightforward.

Front Pair
A number game play option where the player selects two digits. The player wins if the first two digits of the drawing outcome match the chosen digits in the exact order. It’s similar to the Back Pair but involves the first two digits instead of the last two.


G

Game
The specific lottery, drawing, or wager in which participants take part to win prizes based on chance.

Game Matrix
Representing the specific rules of a lottery game, indicating the number of numbers a player must choose and the total pool of numbers available.

Going Public
When a lucky individual wins a substantial jackpot in certain large lottery games they are required to disclose their identity, including their name, city and the prize amount to the press and the general public.

Good Causes
Non-profit organizations that receive a portion of the funds generated by a lottery operator. Typically, these funds are directed towards supporting organizations in the health, charity and education industries.

Group Play
A collaborative approach in which multiple lottery players pool their resources to collectively cover the cost of purchasing tickets. By doing so they increase their chances of winning. If the group’s ticket happens to win, the prize money is distributed among all the participants allowing them to share the joy of victory as well as the winnings.


H

High Numbers
In a number set high numbers refer to those that fall within the top half of the range. For instance, if the number set is from 1 to 50, the high numbers would be 25 to 50.

Hit
The occurrence of a particular number being drawn during a lottery draw. For instance if the number 7 has been selected in 4 out of the last 5 draws it has been ‘hit’ the last four out of five draws.

Hopper
The hopper refers to a cylindrical machine used to draw the winning balls randomly.

Hot Number
Hot Number refers to a frequently drawn lottery number with a higher probability of being selected based on historical draw data.


I

Instant Game
An instant game is a type of lottery that provides immediate results to the player. It involves scratch-off tickets where the player must scratch away a coating to see if they have won a prize. These tickets are also known as “Scratch Cards.”

Internet Gaming
Participating in various online games, which may include casino-style games or online lottery games.

Internet Wager
A bet placed through online gambling platforms encompassing various options such as lottery games and sports events.


J

Jackpot
The highest prize in a lottery game.

Jackpot Cap
The maximum amount that a lottery jackpot can reach. Once the jackpot reaches this cap it cannot grow any further. It is also known as a Capped Jackpot.

Jackpot Fatigue
A decrease in lottery ticket sales when the jackpot amount is low. It’s a phenomenon where players hold off on buying tickets until the jackpot rises.


K

Keeper
A frequently chosen lottery number on your ticket, often for personal reasons.

Keep Out
A number that you choose not to use for personal reasons such as superstitions or its past appearance history.

Kiosk
A digital machine found at lottery ticket outlets. Its primary function is to sell lottery tickets. Additionally it has a built-in feature for players to verify their winning status.


L

Last Drawn
The most recent occasion when a specific number was drawn in a lottery game.

Lottery
A legal game with three key elements – a prize to win, a chance to win or lose, and some form of consideration (like buying a ticket). It includes draw games, instant games, and raffles.

Lottery Betting
Placing wagers on lottery numbers’ outcomes instead of using an official lottery ticket.

Lottery Commission
The governing body overseeing the lottery organization, appointed by the state governor.

Lottery Retailer
Any licensed store or premesis that sells lottery tickets to the public.

Lottery Scam
Cynical and unlawful attempts to obtain money and/or personal information from lottery players, often impersonating official lottery operators or government entities.

Lottery Tax
Taxes paid by lottery winners based on their location and winnings. Some states have no lottery tax, while others apply it only to winnings over a specific amount.

Lotto
A game with large jackpots using a single ball draw machine with a predetermined number of balls. The order of ball draws doesn’t affect the winning outcome. Lotto games offer one play option with multiple winning conditions, but certain lotteries with “Lotto” in their name may differ.

Low Numbers
Numbers in the bottom half of a number set, e.g., 1 to 24 in a set of 1 to 50.

Lump Sum Payment (cash option)
A single, smaller payment option for a jackpot win as opposed to receiving the full amount through an annuity.


M

Market Name
A distinct name given to a lottery game or its elements to avoid confusion.

Match
When a player’s chosen number matches the drawn number.

Messenger Service
A convenient service that buys lottery tickets on behalf of players regardless of their location, allowing participation from outside the host country.

Minimum Jackpots
The starting prize amounts awarded in a progressive jackpot lottery when a winner is determined.

Minimum Increase
The smallest increment by which the progressive jackpot grows if no winning tickets are selected.

Multi-draw
An option allowing players to purchase tickets for multiple future draws.

Multi-jurisdiction Lottery
A Multi-jurisdiction Lottery like Powerball and Mega Millions operates across various U.S. states, providing widespread access to players seeking thrilling opportunities to win big.

Multiplier
An additional number assigned to tickets multiplying non-jackpot winnings. It can be included in games or for an additional fee.


N

National Lottery
The authorized national entity responsible for conducting lotteries within a country.

Number (ball, digit)
Referring to a single numerical value commonly represented as a digit or ball. Players select numbers as part of their ticket entries and these numbers play a crucial role in determining winning combinations during the draw. Understanding the significance of each number chosen can enhance your chances of a successful lottery experience.

Number Checker
A convenient online feature that allows players to validate their lottery numbers and discover if they have won any prizes. With just a few clicks players can find out the exact amount they have won if their numbers match the drawn results.

Number Generator
A digital tool designed to generate random number combinations for players’ lottery entries.

Number Range (number pool, ball set)
The set of numbers available for players to choose from when they participate in a lottery. When playing, individuals select their numbers from this specific range.

Numbers game
A lottery type drawing one ball from each of 2 to 5 machines. This game offers a variety of play options and is commonly known for games like Pick 3 and Daily 4. Each ball is numbered between 0 and 9.

Number Trend
A recurring pattern derived from the lottery numbers drawn in the most recent games. By analyzing these previous draws players attempt to identify any noticeable trends or patterns that could potentially influence future winning numbers.

Numerology
A mystical belief that ascribes a supernatural connection between numbers and various events or occurrences. In this practice certain numbers are thought to carry specific meanings and influences.


O

Odds
The likelihood of winning a prize, determined by considering all the potential combinations that can be drawn. In most lottery games the odds are fixed, indicating that the chances of winning a particular prize remain constant with each draw.

Office Pool
A collaborative lottery arrangement among colleagues or co-workers. In this setup individuals pool their resources to purchase lottery tickets together, increasing their chances of winning.

Offline Game
A lottery game that doesn’t rely on computer terminals for validating entries. Instead players participate through traditional means, with scratch cards being a prime example of such games.

Online Agent
An online agent serves as your proxy in the lottery world. This service allows you to delegate the task of purchasing lottery tickets instead of going to the physical vendor yourself.

Online Syndicate
A group of lottery players who come together to pool their resources and increase their chances of winning. In an online syndicate, participants join forces through dedicated platforms or websites, enabling them to purchase more lottery tickets collectively than they could afford individually.

Overdue
Referring to a specific lottery number that has not been drawn for a relatively extended period. Players often keep an eye on these overdue numbers believing they are more likely to be drawn soon due to their absence in recent draws.


P

Pairs
Commonly found in daily draw games like Pick 3/4/5 it involves selecting specific sets of numbers from the daily draw results including the first two numbers (Front Pair), the last two numbers (Back Pair), or the first and last number (Split Pair).

Pari-mutuel
A prize distribution method where winners in each category equally split the cash allocated to that tier. A specific percentage of the overall prize pool is dedicated to the pari-mutuel prize tiers.

Passive game
Players are not required to make decisions during gameplay, simply purchasing a ticket is all that’s needed to participate.

Payback Rate
The payback rate represents the average percentage of gross lottery revenue that is returned to players. This typically ranges from 50-60% on numbers games.

Payout
The money rewarded by the lottery operator to a lucky winner.

Payout option
When a lottery player wins they have choices for how they receive their prize. The payout options typically include a lump-sum payment or an annuity payment.

Payout table
A concise list of rewards corresponding to different winning criteria in a specific lottery.

Play Slip (betting slip)
A card or digital form used by lottery players to select their numbers or preferences. Players mark their choices on the slip, and in retail locations the slip is processed by the retailer to generate the corresponding lottery ticket. For online play digital play slips are utilized to make the selection process easy and convenient.

Play Type
The chosen method of playing selected numbers. It determines the various winning combinations that players can aim for in daily draw games.

Player
A person who buys or holds a lottery ticket.

Pool
A collaborative group of lottery players who combine their funds to purchase tickets collectively. Each member of the pool owns a share of the tickets. If the pool wins the prize money is divided among the contributors based on an agreed-upon arrangement.

Primary game
The standard wager available in a lottery. Players are typically required to purchase the main game ticket before accessing any additional options.

Prize
A reward or valuable gift given to the lucky winner. Prizes can range from exciting vacations and free tickets to cash rewards and other valuable items.

Prize Percentage
The portion of the prize pool allocated to a specific prize tier in a lottery draw.

Prize Pool
The collective sum of money generated from ticket sales which is then divided among all the different prize levels.

Prize Tier (division, div)
The different levels of prizes awarded in a lottery, determined by the number of matched numbers in a draw.

Progressive Jackpot
A continuously growing prize that escalates with each draw where no winners are declared. The jackpot keeps increasing until it either reaches a predetermined limit or is won by a lucky player.


Q

Quick Pick
An automated method of choosing lottery numbers using a computer or machine instead of manually selected by the player.


R

Raffle
A game where individuals buy tickets for the opportunity to win prizes. Unlike traditional lotteries with fixed winning odds, raffle odds can fluctuate based on the number of participants involved.

Result History
A record of previous lottery results showcasing the winning numbers, number of winners and prize amounts from past draws. A useful way to stay informed about the lottery’s track record to make informed choices.

Results
The end results of a lottery draw encompassing the selected numbers, prize sums and the quantity of winners in each prize category.

Retailer
An authorized individual or vendor responsible for selling lottery tickets. They are often granted the authority to distribute prize payouts within a designated cash limit.

RNG (Random Number Generation)
A secure computerized system used to randomly select numbers for certain lottery games. Instead of traditional ball draw machines some jurisdictions or specific games utilize this technology to ensure fair and unbiased results.

Rollover
This occurs when a lottery jackpot is not won, causing it to carry over to the next draw and contribute to the prize pool for the upcoming game.


S

Scanned Copy
An electronic image of a player’s lottery ticket serving as proof of purchase. Lottery messenger services typically use this feature, storing these scanned copies securely in the player’s online account for easy access.

Scratcher (scratch card)
An instant-win game available for purchase both in-store and online. Players can reveal potential prizes by scratching off the designated areas on the card.

Secondary Game
A complimentary additional feature offered alongside the main lottery game provided at no cost to players.

Second Chance Drawing
A special opportunity for non-winning lottery tickets to have another chance at winning prizes outside of the main game. Through Second Chance Drawings, these tickets get a shot at winning separate prizes from the initial draw, using the entrant’s original selection in a new drawing.

Second-tier Prize
A lower-value reward given to players who meet specific simpler winning criteria. These prizes are typically fixed amounts and remain the same regardless of whether the jackpot is growing or fixed.

Selection
The numbers chosen by a player and marked on their tickets.

Skip
A number that hasn’t been drawn in recent draws. It’s important to note that this occurrence doesn’t influence the likelihood of the number appearing in the next draw.

Split Pair
A play option where the player selects two digits. To win the player must correctly match their chosen digits with the first and last digits in the drawing result, in that precise order.

Starting Jackpot
The initial minimum prize amount set for a lottery game, which serves as the default jackpot. Once the jackpot is claimed by a winner it resets to this predetermined value.

Straight (exact order)
A play type where players win by matching the drawn numbers in the exact order they appear.

Subscription
Enables players to create recurring payments for a predetermined number of lottery tickets or draw entries throughout a set timeframe.

Sweepstakes
A random drawing where prizes are given to selected participants.

Syndicate (lottery pool, pooling)
Where individuals pool their money to purchase multiple lottery tickets. If any of the tickets win, the proceeds are shared among the members based on their respective contributions to the fund. This cooperative approach enhances the chances of winning and allows participants to enjoy the excitement of the lottery as a team.

Syndicate Manager
Overseeing the administrative duties of a lottery syndicate. Handling tasks like buying tickets, collecting payments from participants and distributing any winnings among the members.

System:
An organized approach of purchasing multiple lottery tickets to enhance the likelihood of achieving particular outcomes. This method is commonly used in group play scenarios.


T

Terminal
The electronic equipment utilized by authorized retailers to process, print, and distribute lottery tickets as well as facilitate prize payouts.

Ticket
A ticket is the physical record of your chosen lottery numbers serving as both your entry and proof of purchase.

Total Sum
The Total Sum represents the sum of a player’s selected lottery numbers. Certain lottery games may have add-on features where players can win prizes based on their numbers’ total sum matching the drawn numbers.

Triple
A three-digit number such as 333 where all three digits are identical.


U

Unclaimed Prize/Numbers
A lottery prize that remains unredeemed by the lucky winner. If a winning ticket holding a significant amount of money approaches its expiration date the lottery operator makes attempts to locate the rightful winner before the prize is forfeited.

Underdrawn (cold)
Numbers that appear less frequently than expected in lottery draws.


V

Validation
The crucial verification process that authenticates a winning lottery ticket ensuring it has not been claimed previously and that the prize amount is correct. Players can validate their tickets at a lottery retailer or operator to guarantee a fair and transparent payout for deserving winners.

Vendor
An authorized seller of lottery tickets.


W

Wager
The money a player bets on the uncertain outcome of a lottery draw. When purchasing a ticket players choose their desired wager amount through a play slip.

Ways
Play options like wheel or box where players win if their selected numbers appear in any order. The winning conditions vary, providing multiple opportunities to win.

Wheel (lottery wheel)
A widely used lottery strategy where players choose a group of numbers and the system generates multiple ticket lines encompassing all possible combinations within that chosen set.

Winner
A ticket holder whose chosen numbers match the winning combination required to claim a prize.

Winning conditions
The specific requirements that must be met for a player’s chosen numbers to be eligible for a prize. In certain lotto and bonus lotto games a single ticket may meet multiple winning conditions allowing players to compete for different prizes including second-tier rewards and the grand jackpot.

Withholding
The deduction of a portion of a lottery winner’s prize to cover tax obligations.