how lottery drawings work
Tips & Tricks

Explainer: How Do Lottery Drawings Work?

Here's how the winners get made.

You’ve ordered your lottery ticket via Jackpocket, and now you’re excitedly waiting to find out if you’re a lucky winner. Whether you’re playing Win 4 or going for Mega Millions, you may be wondering how the winners are selected and what exactly goes on behind the scenes.

First Thing's First: Who Picks the Winners?

First of all, we should note that at Jackpocket we offer a secure platform so you can order state lottery tickets but game rules and drawings are administered by the state lotteries and out of our control. Drawings for New York Lottery games like Take 5 and New York Lotto, for example, are run by the New York Lottery. 

We don’t pick the winners—you have the same odds of winning on Jackpocket as you do at the store. 

Now that that's out of the way, let's dig in.

What happens at a lottery drawing?

A lottery drawing is the process of selecting the winning numbers for a particular game. Those winning numbers determine the number of winning tickets for each prize level. 

For example, Mega Millions drawings are held Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 p.m. ET at WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia. Five white balls are drawn from a set of balls numbered 1 through 70. Then, one gold Mega Ball is drawn from a set of balls numbered 1 through 25. If the 6 numbers on your ticket, match the numbers drawn, you've hit the jackpot! (Don't forget the little people.)

You can watch live drawings for your state lottery on your local tv station or sometimes as webcasts on your state lottery's website.

How the winning lottery numbers are picked

No matter the type of lottery draw game you’re playing, winning numbers are always randomly selected and visible to the viewer—both during the "mixing" process and the numbers selection process. There are two main types of lottery draw machines: gravity pick and air mix. No matter what kind of machine is used, viewers can see the rubber balls at all times as they travel through a transparent tube, which gives viewers confidence that the drawing is not being tampered with or fixed. 

Gravity pick lottery machines are the most commonly used machine—for major drawings like Mega Millions and Powerball, you can usually count on seeing one. This machine, complete with spinning paddles that rotate in opposite directions, mixes the balls until they drop out of the bottom of the chamber one-by-one. 

Air mix lottery machines are more usually used in games like Pick 3 or Pick 4. The machines have a chamber filled with numbered ping-pong balls that are moved by jets of air from a fan located at the bottom of the drum. The balls move up and out of the chamber through a tube and are pushed out onto a tray.

Now that you know how lottery drawings work, are you ready to test your luck? Get your ticket on Jackpocket today!

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