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How to play Lottery

Want to know how lotteries really work?

You’re in the right place.

You might know some lottery basics: players buy tickets, numbers get drawn, and the big winner gets their picture taken with a giant cheque. But how does it all work? 

Object of the Game

Lotteries are essentially a number-matching game. The goal for most games is to have your ticket match the randomly selected draw numbers—the more that match, the more you can win.

Types of Lottery Games

Weekly lotterY games

Weekly lotteries have draws 1-2 times per week, often with larger jackpots than other lottery games. Some games like LOTTO MAX and LOTTO 6/49 are national games, meaning the game is available all across Canada.

Learn how to play LOTTO MAX

Daily Lottery Games

Most daily lotteries have two draws on a daily basis, giving you more chances to win, with smaller prizes than weekly lottery jackpots.

Learn about Daily lottery games

Watch N’ Win Games

These games give you chance to win INSTANTly with in-store entertainment, and then keep your ticket for a chance at the nightly draw.

Learn how to play Watch N’ Win Games

Two ways to play


Registering for lets you play on desktop and mobile. Why play online?

  • Play when it’s convenient 

  • Easily keep track of your tickets

  • Set custom play budgets 

  • Optional weekly subscriptions

Register for now


Playing at retail is simple: depending on the game, you can fill out a selection slip, ask for a Quick Pick, or tell the cashier what game and/or for how much you’d like to play. 

Find an OLG retailer near you


Weekly and daily lottery games require you to choose numbers that become part of your ticket. There are two ways to pick your numbers:


Get randomly selected numbers quickly by selecting “Quick Pick” online or through your cashier in store.


Choose the specific numbers you want to play by marking them off on your online or in-store selection slip.

TIP: The odds of winning are the same no matter how you choose your numbers

Cost of Play

Weekly and Daily Lottery Games

Weekly and daily lottery games range in price, but all require a minimum purchase for one or more lines of numbers, before adding additional lines. LOTTO MAX’s minimum $5 purchase gives you three lines to play.

Watch N’ Win Games

All three Watch N’ Win games, POKER LOTTOMEGADICE LOTTO or WHEEL OF FORTUNE® LOTTO give you two chances to win at $2 per play.

No matter how you play, set a budget. The minimum $5 play for both weekly LOTTO MAX draws would cost $10 a week or $40 a month.

TIP: You can set custom play budgets online with My PlaySmart Tools

Lottery Odds

Odds tell you how likely something is to happen. The odds of winning most lottery draw games are based on two factors: 

  1. How many numbers must be matched
  2. The size of the number pool

The fewer numbers there are to match, and the fewer numbers in the overall pool of numbers, the greater the odds—or likelihood—of winning. 

Just know that even when something is unlikely, it can still happen. That’s why winning against the odds is so exciting!

Get more info on Lottery Odds

Lottery Draws

How do the winning draw numbers get selected? Each lottery game uses use either a random ball-drop machine or random number generator for an exciting, unpredictable reveal of the winning numbers or results.

Ball-drop Machine

Blasts of air blow numbered balls around until they are randomly selected.

Random Number Generator

A computer cycles through thousands of numbers per second until one is randomly selected.

Both methods ensure a random result for every draw, and lottery balls are tested regularly for consistency in size and weight to keep it that way. We take randomness seriously!


Jackpots are the top prize for any lottery, usually won by matching all numbers in a single line. LOTTO MAX features 7 numbers for every line, so you’d have to match all 7 numbers to win the Jackpot. Other lottery games feature 5 numbers per line.