In addition to a multitude of land casinos and online sports betting options, Colorado has a robust lottery system that includes a number of state and multi-jurisdictional games. A lottery was approved in the state in January, 1983, at first including only scratch-off tickets. Lottery drawings were added in April that same year. All players must be 18 or older.
Colorado Draw Lottery Games
Colorado Lottery has 3 in-state games:
Pick 3 launched in April of 2013. Players choose 3 digits 0-9, with wagers ranging between $.50 and $5. Betting options include exact order, any order, front pair, or back pair. The longest odds (and biggest payouts) are for the exact order wager, in which the numbers drawn must match the numbers played and be drawn in the exact same sequence. A $5 winning exact order bet pays $2,500. Drawings are twice a day, seven days a week. Mid-day drawing is at approximately 1:30 p.m. and the evening drawing is around 7:30 p.m.
Cash 5 began in the state in 1996. Bettors can choose 5 out of 32 numbers for a $1 ticket. Payout amounts depend on how many of their numbers match those drawn. Matching 2 numbers will win you your money back, but match all 5 numbers and the prize is $20,000. Cash 5 also offers an instant win option called EZ Match for an extra $1, with which bettors can win up to $500. Drawings are seven days a week at approximately 7:35 p.m.
Colorado Lotto+ is the new incarnation of Colorado Lotto, holding its first drawing in September 2019. Changes over the original lottery include raising the price from $1 to $2, and reducing the available numbers from 42 to 40 to improve the odds of winning. With each ticket purchased, the lottery terminal adds a randomly selected multiplier (2x-5x) for any non-jackpot prize. Players can opt to wager an additional $1 per line for a second-chance drawing with a $250,000 grand prize. Colorado Lotto+ jackpots start at $1 million and drawings are held Wednesdays and Saturdays at approximately 7:35 p.m.
Multi-State Draw Lottery Games In Colorado
Colorado Lottery is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), which allows the state to offer certain high-jackpot games not offered in every state.
Powerball is one of the best-known multi-jurisdictional lottery games, known for its huge jackpots that start at $40 million. Players choose 5 numbers between 1-69, and another number from 1-26 (the “Powerball”). In 2016, the jackpot grew to an astonishing $1.5 billion (with a b). Powerball is available in 45 states as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s been available in Colorado since 2001. Tickets cost $2 with Power Play multipliers costing an additional $1 per line. Drawings are held on Wednesday and Saturday at approximately 9:00 p.m.
Lucky for Life gives players a shot at up to $1,000 a day for life. Choose 5 numbers between 1-48, and 1 from 1-18 for the Lucky Ball. Tickets are $2. Matching the Lucky Ball alone wins $4, but a 5-number match plus the Lucky Ball wins the top prize of $1,000 a day for life. Drawings are held Monday and Thursday at approximately 8:33 p.m.
Mega Millions is another well-known multi-jurisdictional lottery game, which has also seen its jackpots grow to outrageous sums. In 2018, the Mega Millions jackpot grew to $1.6 billion. Players choose 5 numbers between 1-70, and an additional number from 1-25 for the Mega Millions. Tickets are $2 apiece, and the Megaplier multiplier is available for an extra buck. To date no Coloradan has win the Mega Millions. Drawings are held Tuesdays and Fridays at approximately 9:00 p.m.
Colorado Lottery Scratch
Colorado Lottery has scores of different scratch-off ticket games to choose from, costing between $1 and $50, with prizes as high as $3 million. Most major retail locations carry scratch-off tickets. Some games include a second-chance bonus draw, where a losing ticket can be scanned or plugged into the mobile app for another shot at the big money. Some games also offer jackpot bonus draws.
Colorado Lottery App
Colorado Lottery also offers players a mobile app that lets them scan tickets, enter bonus drawings, check the day’s drawings results and find a location nearby selling tickets.
Colorado Lottery’s Biggest Winners
Colorado has awarded several large lottery prizes in the years it’s been available. The biggest win to date was in 2014, when a man from the town of Rifle, Colo. won $90 million from a Powerball ticket. Way back in 1992, a college student in Boulder won a $27 million prize in the Colorado Lottery. In April 2020, a Pueblo, Colo. man won a $1 million Powerball prize twice in the same day. Not the biggest winner ever, but still pretty amazing.
Colorado Lottery Tax Implications For Winners
Of course, Uncle Sam is going to want to take a big wet bite out of any big win. The Colorado Lottery website even has a specific page directing winners to seek financial counseling in the event of a life-changing win.
Right off the bat, prizes over $5,000 are subject to a 28% tax (24% federal, 4% state). And that’s if you provide a Social Security number. Winners who do not provide one get hit with a 34% tax (30% federal, 4% state).
Where Does That Tax Revenue Go?
In the 37 years Colorado Lottery has been operational, it’s given more than $3.5 billion back to the state’s parks, trails, and open spaces. The breakdown of distribution of collected funds is as follows:
- Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) – 50%
- Conservation Trust Fund (CTF) – 40%
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) – 10%
- Profits that exceed the annual cap go to the Colorado Department of Education, Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund – Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST)