An Introduction to the Kentucky Lottery

The government-regulated Kentucky Lottery began in April 1989 after a November 1988 vote in which over 60% of the voters approved it. On 4th April 1989 tickets went on sale with first day Kentucky Lottery sales of over $5 million. The first two Kentucky Lottery games were scratch card tickets: Beginner's Luck and Kentucky Derby Dreamstakes.

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Kentucky Mega Millions

Kentucky Mega Millions is a big multi-state jackpot game that begins at an incredible $15,000,000 and can grow larger with rollovers. Draws occur every Tuesday and Friday night. Odds of winning the Kentucky Mega Millions jackpot are one in 175.5 million and overall odds of winning any prize are one in 40.

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Kentucky Lottery Games

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Kentucky Powerball

Kentucky Powerball is also played twice weekly; every Wednesday and Saturday night. Powerball has enormous jackpots starting at $40,000,000 which increase in the event of a rollover. 

 It is played by choosing five white balls from 1 to 59 and one red Powerball from 1 to 35, or you can opt for a Quick Pick (Lucky Dip) for random numbers. Odds of winning the Kentucky Powerball jackpot prize are one in 176 million and the overall odds of winning any prize are one in 32.

Pick 3

Kentucky Pick 3 is played by selecting any three digits from 0 to 9 on a Pick 3 payslip or by selecting Quick Pick to randomly generate your Kentucky Pick 3 numbers. The four ways to play are:

• Straight: Match your three numbers in exact order to win. 
• Box: Match your three numbers in any order to win.

• Straight/Box: Combines a 50-cent Straight play plus a 50-cent Box play.
• Combo: Equal to 3 or 6 Straight plays.


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Pick 4

Similar to Kentucky Pick 3, Kentucky Pick 4 is played by choosing any four digits, 0 through 9 or by selecting Quick Pick. Again, the four ways in which players can choose to play are:

• Straight: Match your four numbers in exact order to win. 

• Box: Match your four numbers in any order to win.

• Straight/Box: Combines a 50-cent Straight play plus a 50-cent Box play.

• Combo: Equal to 4, 6, 12 or 24 Straight plays.



Kentucky Cash Ball

Kentucky Cash Ball is played by selecting four numbers from 1-33 and one Kentucky Cash Ball number from 1-31. The Kentucky Cash Ball number can be the same as one of the main four numbers. Again, the Quick Pick option is also available. Kentucky Cash Ball is drawn six days a week (not Sundays) and has a top prize of $200,000. This game was introduced in March


5 Card Cash

Kentucky 5 Card Cash is based on a classic pack of cards where players can win instantly if their five "cards" make up a ranked poker hand.

There are two ways to win:
• Draw Win with a top prize of $100,000 and draws every Monday to Saturday
• Instant Win with a top prize of $5,000
Overall odds of winning a cash prize are 1:15


The Monopoly Millionaires Club

This Kentucky lottery game is based on the US version of the famous board game. To win the jackpot, players must match 5 of 52 numbers in the main field (selected manually or with a quick pick) and a sixth number drawn from a second field of 28; the latter represents a property on the Monopoly game board (22 streets, 4 railroads and 2 utilities)


Kentucky Lottery Winners

Brenda Knopf

On 20th April 1994, Brenda Knopf from Bloomfield in Kentucky won $64.2 million in Kentucky Powerball. At the time, it was the second largest jackpot awarded to a single winner in US lottery history.


Alice Burgess

In September 1994, Kentucky Lottery retailer Paul Rhoton of Adolphus rented a limousine to escort Kentucky Lotto winner Alice Burgess to Louisville to claim her $1.2 million prize. It was the first time a retailer had given such top notch transport for a customer who bought a winning ticket in their store.


Kent Miller

Kent Miller of Madison in Tennessee won Kentucky Powerball's $89.3 million jackpot on 26th January 1996. Like many people who live in states with no lotteries, he crossed state line to Kentucky and bought his ticket in Oak Grove.

Miller told press that he wouldn’t return to work as a purchasing agent for the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs. His mother did go to work the following day, but Miller said he hoped it would be her last day.

Skirted by his lawyers and two brothers, Kennet and Keith, Miller said he had no plans yet for his Kentucky Lottery winnings other than building a new home for his mother, Ocie Miller of Indianapolis.

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Kemal Barakovic

In 2004 a former Bosnian war refugee won $1 million playing Kentucky Cash Ball after buying five tickets all with the same numbers; each ticket was worth $200,000. Kemal Barakovic chose his winning numbers from a bar code on a bottle of vitamins in his home. When asked why he bought 5 Kentucky Cash Ball tickets with the same numbers, he simply said, "Why play for $200,000 when you can go for a million?"

Kemal Barakovic settled in Louisville after leaving a refugee camp in Croatia 10 years previously and had always dreamed of having "his own home in America, and now that dream can become a reality," said Sanel Barakovic, his son.

Kemal Barakovic, who spoke little English took his sons Sanel and Amir to Kentucky Lottery’s headquarters in Louisville. Their father bought his Kentucky Cash Ball tickets at a Thorntons store and played the same five numbers on each ticket: 11, 14, 21, 24 and the Cash Ball 22. The odds of matching all five Kentucky Cash Ball numbers are one in 1,268,520.

Kentucky Lottery officials said that it was the first time a player has had multiple winning tickets in a draw for Kentucky Cash Ball. 61-year-old Barakovic who worked making air filters at Airguard in Louisville, had a habit of picking numbers from items he found around his apartment.

Sanel Barakovic worked at the Thorntons store. He tried to persuade his father to choose different numbers for each Kentucky Cash Ball game, but "Dad always said, `Why go for $200,000 when you can shoot for a million?'"

Sanel told the press that his father intended to share the money with him and his brother, a truck driver who lived in Iowa. Amir Barakovic said his mother, Habiba, stayed home yesterday because "she couldn't handle this."

With his Kentucky Cash Ball winnings, the family including Habiba, Kemal’s wife, planned to visit relatives in Bosnia and buy a house.


Rob and Tuesday Anderson

Georgetown couple Rob and Tuesday Anderson won a fortune after a clerk at the Pro Stop Marathon incorrectly printed a Kentucky Powerball ticket for Rob on Christmas Eve, 2010. The botched ticket ended up hitting the Kentucky Powerball’s $128.6 million jackpot.

Rob Anderson, his wife Tuesday and various family members visited Lottery headquarters in Louisville with their winning ticket.

39 year-old Rob told the press “I was on my way to the Wal-Mart on Highway 62 in Georgetown to pick up some presents”. He added “I saw the Pro Travel Marathon on my way to Wal-Mart, so I thought I’d swing in and get a couple of lottery tickets as stocking stuffers.”

“I needed to get gifts for three people, so I thought I’d get three single Kentucky Powerball tickets to put in their stockings,” Rob continued. “I told the clerk what I wanted, and instead he mistakenly printed one ticket with three lines of numbers. I told him it was a mistake, but I decided to just keep the ticket and get the three others I needed.”

On the Sunday morning after the draw, Rob checked the winning Kentucky Powerball numbers on his TV.

“Oh damn, I think we’ve hit the lottery!” he shouted to Tuesday.

The couple met with an attorney for advice, and had looked at property and a few new vehicles. One thing they both talked about was that their Kentucky Lottery fortune would help them further their education.

“I guess finance might be a good major to have,” Rob laughed. has many more winners’ stories for you to read from lotteries around the world.



Kentucky Lottery Taxes

State law requires that all Kentucky Lottery winnings are subject to 6% state tax and 25% federal tax.


Kentucky Lottery History

On 5th November 1988 over a million Kentuckians voted on the lottery referendum, which passed with 60% in favour. The Kentucky Lottery was the first lottery in the United States set up as a corporation.

4th April 1989 was the first day of sales and over 5,000 licensed retailers sold over $5 million in Kentucky Lottery tickets. The Kentucky Lottery’s first week of sales generated $27 million, which made it one of the leaders in first-week sales per capita.

The first Kentucky Lotto tickets went on sale on 1st October 1989, with jackpot prizes paid in 20 annual instalments. John and Pat Ackerman of Louisville became the first jackpot winners shortly after on 28th October, winning $2 million.

In 1991 The Kentucky Lottery was recognized as the fastest growing lottery in the US, with sales finishing the year up 71% over 1990.

Things went badly in 1993 when the state auditor of public accounts released an audit which cited conflicts of interest by some Kentucky Lottery board members and employees, questionable procurements and the abuse of expense accounts. All the Kentucky Lottery directors were asked to resign.

In 1994 many Kentucky Lottery offices closed for a week when a storm shrouded Kentucky with 16 inches of snow. The Kentucky Lottery continued its computer operations and over $5 million in tickets were sold that week, despite the fact that virtually every major road in the state was closed.
May 2007 saw the $10 billionth Kentucky Lottery ticket sold and the amount of prizes paid to players exceeded $6 billion.

In April 2009 the Kentucky Lottery celebrated its 20th anniversary. Over two decades, the lottery sold more than $11.3 billion in tickets, paid $6.8 billion in prizes and returned nearly $3 billion in profits to the Commonwealth. This money went to fund college scholarships, adult and early childhood literacy programs, education, affordable housing and bonuses for Vietnam veterans.


Other Kentucky Lottery Information

In 2003 the Kentucky Lottery became an active participant in the Amber Alert program. Various communications methods were used to send Amber Alert messages including on-line tickets, in-store signage and on the Kentucky Lottery’s web sites.


Where Kentucky Lottery proceeds go:

On 1st November 1999 the Affordable Housing Trust Fund began to use funds received from the Kentucky Lottery's unclaimed prize fund for the construction of 1,000 units of housing for needy Kentuckians.

In 2004, the Kentucky Lottery hit a major milestone when over $2 billion had been provided for the Commonwealth over the previous 15 years. The revenue was used to fund need-based and merit-based scholarships, literacy programs, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the KEES Reserve fund, the SEEK program and the General Fund. A one-time Kentucky Lottery donation was also given to Vietnam Veterans.

Another historic milestone was reached on 1st July 2005 when 100% of Kentucky Lottery proceeds were transferred for the benefit of college grants, scholarships and literacy programs.

Since 1999, over $637 million had benefitted need-based grants and merit-based scholarships and this provided more than 592,000 financial awards to Kentucky high school students. Before 1999, the number of students attending college in Kentucky had for several years remained stagnant. The start of the Kentucky Lottery funded scholarships and grant programs resulted in a 20% increase in college attendance.



The Kentucky Lottery has almost 3,000 retailers. In 2014, record retailer commissions of $52.8 million were awarded to retailers.

Also in 2014, the UK lottery operator Camelot was employed by the Kentucky Lottery to advise on how to revive ailing sales.

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