An Introduction to the California Lottery

The 3rd largest state in the United States in area, after Alaska and Texas, is California.  It is also the most populous state, being home to one in eight of all Americans. In 2010, there were over 663,000 millionaires in the state, again, more than any other state. Of course some of these found their millionaire status after winning one of California’s many lottery games.

 Lottery24 - California Lottery


California Lottery Games

Lottery24 - California Powerball    



California Powerball was launched on 8th April 2013, with the first draw two days later. A marketing budget of $8.4 million was allotted to promote the game, and included red balls placed at various locations in the state and on television, radio and online advertising. Powerball is a multi-state lottery game sold in 45 jurisdictions as a shared jackpot game and each play costs $2. Powerball's minimum advertised jackpot is $40 million and can be paid in 30 annual instalments or with a cash option. Players select five numbers from 1 to 59 and one Powerball number from 1 to 35. So far, there have been 3 winners of the California Powerball.


Mega Millions

Mega Millions is another multi-state lottery game. The California Mega Millions game began on 22nd June 2005 when it became the 12th state to offer the game and the last before the 2010 cross-sell expansion with MUSL. A California Mega Millions draw was held in Hollywood to commemorate the event. In this game, players select five numbers from 1 to 75 and one MEGA number from 1 to 15 for each play. 26 Californians have won a Mega Millions jackpot.

    Lottery24 - California Mega Millions
Lottery24 - Super Lotto Plaus Calfornia   

California SuperLotto Plus

SuperLotto Plus is California’s original millionaire maker and only played in California. Players select five numbers from 1 to 47 and one MEGA number from 1 to 27. Starting at $7 million, California SuperLotto Plus jackpots have reached as much as $193 although other big jackpots include $56 million in 1995 and $72 million in 2007.


Scratchers games 

Scratchers games are instant win games where players scratch off parts of the ticket to see if they’ve won. Prizes range from small amounts to life-changing prizes that can reach millions. There are a variety of Scratchers games with different ways of winning and themes and new games are regularly introduced to provide players with fresh ways of playing and winning. Currently Scratchers games cost $1, $2, $3, $5 or $10 .

Fantasy 5

Fantasy 5 is another draw game. Players have a smaller field of numbers, selecting 5 numbers from a field of 39, to play plus daily draws. Jackpots start at $50,000 and it increases each time there is no jackpot winner.


Lottery24 - Fatasy Five California Lottery

Lottery24 -  California Daily 4 Lottery



Daily 4

As the name suggests, Daily 4 is played every day. There are multiple ways to win and different play styles, and players select 4 numbers from a field of 0 to 9.

Lottery24 - California Hot Spot    

Hot Spot

Hot Spot is another draw game but this time with draws every 4 minutes from 6am to 2am (Pacific Time). The excitement heats up as players get an enhanced game experience with a Bulls-eye feature and in-store screens that display the results as they happen. Hot Spot offers 10 Spots, 1 to 10, from a pool of numbers from 01 to 80 and a $100,000 top prize (10 Spot). Bets can be $1, $2, $3, $4, $5, $10, or $20, for a maximum of 100 consecutive draws. The Bulls-eye top prize (10 Spot) is $300,000.

Daily Derby

This is a mock horseracing themed draw game which gives players a chance to win a Grand Prize of thousands of dollars. Players select their three favourite horses: one to finish first, one to finish second and another to finish third, and the winning Race Time. Again, there are multiple chances to win on every ticket. The game costs $2 per play, per draw and is held daily at 6:35pm and televised at 6:59pm. There is also a lucky dip alternative.

   Lottery24 - California Daily Derby


California Lottery Winners

To date, there have been 26 winners of the Mega Millions jackpot in California and 3 Powerball jackpot winners. Countless others have found wealth from the other lottery games played in California. Winners include:

Milandi Almaweri

Milandi Almaweri became nearly half a million dollars richer after claiming her Mega Millions ticket worth $468,905 on 9th May 2014. Her ticket matched the numbers 39, 10, 59, 28 and 51 although it missed the Mega number 14. She bought her winning ticket at San Leandro Express Liquors, which is at 138 West Juana Avenue in San Leandro, Alameda County, California.

Raymond Buxton

Raymond Buxton, a retired professional from California, appeared to be a bit of a joker earlier in 2014. Having won the Powerball jackpot of over $425 million on the 19th February 2014, he waited until April Fool’s Day to come forward and collected his cheque wearing a t-shirt that read "Luck of the Jedi I have". The other reason for waiting this long to come forward was far more sensible. Buxton wanted a team of lawyers and public relations experts behind him to help him deal with his incredible fortune and all that goes with suddenly becoming a multi-millionaire. He said "While validating the numbers at the CA Lottery website, I came across the Winner’s Handbook and started to put a plan in motion."

Steve Tran

Steve Tran, a delivery driver, shared a $636M Mega Millions Jackpot with another player in Georgia. Tran purchased his ticket from Jenny's Gift Shop on Tully Road, California according to lottery officials. The winning numbers were 8, 14, 17, 20 and 39 and the Mega Ball was 7 and the cash option was estimated to have been $341 million before taxes. After informing his family and friends of his fortune, Tran called his boss and left a voice message saying "I'm really sorry boss. I hit the jackpot. I don't think I'm going to come in today, tomorrow, or ever." Lottery officials wouldn’t say exactly where Tran lives, but did say that he and his family like to visit San Jose because of its large Vietnamese community.


Lottery 24 -Julie Cervera won a share of $23m in California

Julie Cervera

$23 million SuperLotto Plus jackpot prize winner Julie Cervera is another lucky player with a story unlike any other in recent Lottery history. She had stuffed the ticket in her car and it stayed there forgotten for months, until a surveillance camera photo of the ticket's purchase surfaced on the Internet. State officials had publically circulated a picture in attempt to find the winner and when she was recognized in the picture, she realised to her amazement that she was a multimillionaire. A resident of the high-desert town of Victorville who had been on disability benefit for 20 years and described herself as broke, Cervera said that her unexpected change of fortune could not have come at a better time.



Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros

Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros won $266 million on 4th May 2012 from a Mega Millions ticket with the numbers9, 21, 31, 36, 43 and the Mega number 8 that they bought at a local restaurant, L & L Hawaiian BBQ in Pico Rivera. Jacki was working her night shift at NBCLA when a news bulletin said the winning ticket had been purchased in Pico Rivera at L&L Barbecue. She woke Gilbert up at home and demanded he check his L&L lottery tickets. Now multi-millionaires, they have moved to a big house in Newport Beach, but have certainly not forgotten their working-class Latino roots or the neighbourhood that had been part of their family for generations. They decided to devote part of their fortune to scholarships for students in working-class communities. They created the Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation, which gives grants and scholarships to promote Hispanic education. The couple want to help as many Hispanic youth go to college as possible.

Stafford Family

Robert Stafford and his adult children, Robert Jr and Cynthia bought a $2 Mega Millions quick-pick ticket (lucky dip) from Hawthorne market for the Friday night's draw on 1tth May 2007. The winning numbers were 28, 30, 33, 48, and 54 and the Mega Ball was 25, winning the family $113 million. A decade previously Cynthia Stafford went from a fun-loving singleton to mother of five when she rescued her nieces and nephews from foster care after her youngest brother had died in a car accident. "I knew it had to be done," she said, "so I did it." After winning, Cynthia bought two Bentley a baby-blue convertible and a bright-orange sedan. She took a first-class trip to Paris, hired a personal trainer and set up college funds for all the children. However, she did more than change her lifestyle, she also changed her life. She now heads her own production company and has written substantial cheques to organisations including UNICEF, God’s Love We Deliver, the Natural Resources Defence Council and Kids in the Spotlight, a local group that teaches filmmaking to low-income and foster children.

California Lottery Taxes 

California is exempt from state and local income taxes and therefore lottery winnings are only subject to federal income tax. If a winner gives their Social Security number, the California Lottery will take out 25% of the winnings and send the money to the Internal Revenue Service. Without a Social Security number, it takes 28%. If a player doesn’t disclose their citizenship status, the lottery withholds 30%.
Players have up to 180 days after the drawing or the end of the lottery game or play in which the prize was won, or, if a multistate lottery game, up to one year, to collect jackpots and grand prizes. Laws are strict on the lower age limit: No prizes are paid to anyone under the age of 18 years and any person who knowingly claims or attempts to claim a prize with a ticket or share purchased by someone under the age of 18 years is guilty of a misdemeanour.

California Lottery History

The California Lottery was created by a ballot measure called Proposition 37, which was approved by 58% of voters on 6th November 1984. The Lottery Act’s mission was to provide supplemental funding for public schools and colleges. The first tickets were purchased on 3rd October 1985 and was overseen by the California State Lottery Commission. Theses first games were scratch card types and a weekly drawn game began on 14th October 1986.

In April 2010, the Legislature passed Assembly Bill 142 which changed the Lottery’s funding formula which has helped lotteries throughout the United States increase sales and earn more money for their beneficiaries. AB 142 limited administrative expenses to 13%, requiring that 87% of sales be awarded in terms of prizes and contributions to education. The act specifies that the lottery is to be operated and administered by a Commission appointed by the State

Other California Lottery Information

California Jackpot Captain

The California Jackpot Captain program was designed by the California Lottery to provide both loyal and new players with tools to start a lottery group. Over the years, the California Lottery has had countless groups of winners that with the California Jackpot Captain program, have also benefited from additional promotional items.   

Supporting education

Since 1985 the Californian Lottery Commission has given more than $26.6 billion in Lottery funds to public education. Over $1 billion in lottery funds go to supporting California public schools every year and is split: kindergarten to 12th grade 76.71%; community colleges 16.22%; California State University system 4.30%; University of California 2.70% and other educational entities 0.07%. Payments are also made directly to the two California Schools for the Deaf, the California School for the Blind, and the three Diagnostic Schools for Neurologically Handicapped Children. All unclaimed prize money is given to the fund benefiting public education.


There are currently more than 21,000 Lottery retail locations across the state of California. Kavanagh Liquors in San Lorenzo has the distinction of having sold 4 winning tickets, more than any other store. The California Lottery also has a California Lottery Small Business Program which encourages small and disabled-veteran owned companies to participate in contracting opportunities and offers a small business preference discount for qualified companies.

California lottery sales

Ticket sales began on 3rd October 1985 with an instant scratch card game called California Jackpot. In the first 24 hours, an amazing 21.4 million tickets were sold and sales reached $1 billion after just four months. Sales in 2012 reached $4,371,491,746, up from $2,896,372,533 ten years previously in 2002.

Massive jackpots make an enormous difference to ticket sales. For example, the California Mega Millions regularly generates sales of between $2 and $3 million for each draw, but on 17th December 2013 a jackpot of $636 million generated an amazing $42,587,920 in ticket sales, $40 million more than usual.

California Jackpot Captain

The California Jackpot Captain program was designed by the California Lottery to provide both loyal and new players with tools to start a lottery group. Over the years, the California Lottery has had countless groups of winners that with the California Jackpot Captain program, have also benefited from additional promotional items.  

Current Jackpots