An Introduction to the Virginia Lottery

In 2013, the Virginia Lottery had sales of nearly $1.7 billion and a record $1.08 billion was awarded in prizes. Tickets sales increased by 2% which means about 35% of adults bought a ticket. The Virginia Lottery Commission is a proactive organisation which plans to increase the number of Virginians who play at least monthly to 37% by December 2017.


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Virginia Lottery Games

Mega Millions

Virginia was one of the original seven Mega Millions lottery states. Tickets first went on sale on 15th May 2002 and the first draw was held two days later. Any store in Virginia which sells a jackpot winning tickets receives a $50,000 bonus from the Virginia Lottery Commission.

A Virginia Mega Millions ticket sold on 30th March 2012 with a prize of $250,000 went unclaimed, so as with all unclaimed prizes, it went to the state Literary Fund. This fund is used for educational purposes. The Virginia Lottery has transferred over $234 million in unclaimed prizes to its Literary Fund.


Lottery24 - Virginia MegaMillions

Lottery24 - Virginia Powerball



The first day of Virginia Powerball sales was 31st January 2012 with the first draw on 3rd February. Virginian retailers that sell a jackpot-winning Virginia Powerball ticket receive a tasty $50,000 bonus.

The largest jackpot since the start of Virginia Powerball was $336 million on 11th February 2012. On that day, Virginia Lottery players bought 1.1 million tickets. At its height, this would have been an estimated 1,860 tickets per minute across the state. On 31st March 2012, a player who bought a Virginia Powerball ticket from Food Lion in Virginia Beach missed out on a whopping $1million prize, when no one came forward to claim it.


Win For Life

Win for Life is a lottery game played in Virginia and Georgia. The first day of sales for Virginia Win For Life was 26th February 2006 and it was first drawn on 1st March. Stores selling a top-prize Virginia Win for Life ticket pocket a $10,000 bonus for the privilege.

The game is played by picking six numbers from 1 to 42 and there are eight ways to win a prize. A player lucky enough to win the top prize receives $1,000 per week ($52,000 per year) in quarterly payments for the rest of their life and there have been 38 Virginian Win for Life winners so far. The chance of winning this top prize is 1 in 5,245,786.

   Lottery24 - Virginia Win For Life
Lottery24 - Virginia Decades of Dollars   


Decades of Dollars

Decades of Dollars is played in Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky and Arkansas, and Virginia has seen two jackpot winners so far: Gloria Carter of Waynesboro and Cornelius Harris of Norfolk.

Virginia Decades of Dollars is played by choosing six numbers between 1 and 47, and was first played at the beginning of 2011. The top prize is $250,000 a year for 30 years, equal to a $7.5 million dollar jackpot. Stores that sell a top-prize Virginia Decades of Dollars ticket are also winners as they receive a $10,000 bonus.


Cash 5

As the name suggests, Virginia Cash 5 is played by picking five numbers between 1 and 34.

There are two draws each day at 1:59pm and 11pm and the chance of a $100,000 jackpot.

There are various wagers to play Virginia Cash 5: 25 cents minimum, 50 cents and $1.

Odds to win the jackpot of $100,000 are 1 in 278,256.

   Lottery24 - Virginia Cash 5
Lottery24 - Virginia Pick 4   

Pick 4

With a top prize of $5,000, two chances to win every day and multiple ways to play, Virginia Pick 4 is another very popular game. Is played by selecting any four digit number from 0000 to 9999 and there is a 1 in 10,000 chance of winning the top prize.



Pick 3

The Washington Pick 3 game is played by picking any three digit number from 000 to 999. You can do this yourself or let the computer do it for you, in which case it is known as Easy Pick (Lucky Dip).

Again, there are two draws a day and the bet is either 50 cents or one dollar. There is a 1:1,000 chance of winning $500.


   Lottery24 - Virginia Pick 3


There have been hundreds of Scratcher (Scratch Card) games, and the top prize is currently $4 million. Some have the eXTRA logo which can win you extra prizes and merchandise, while others might have the 2nd Chance logo, in which case a non-winning ticket can be entered for additional prizes.

Fast Play

Fast Play games are similar to Scratchers, without the need for scratching; a ticket’s winning status is determined when a ticket is printed from a Lottery terminal. Fast Play games have varying prizes and rules and new ones are regularly added.


Virginia Lottery Winners

J. R. Triplett

Korean War veteran J. R. Triplett bought five tickets from Red Apple Country Store in Stephens City and became the largest Virginia Mega Millions jackpot winner at the time, earning $239 million. The draw took place on 20th February 2004. A retired truck driver, he said of his wife:


"She got down on her knees and thanked the Lord."

The winning numbers were 1, 13, 20, 21 and 30 with Mega Ball number 24. The odds of winning were one in over 135 million. Triplett opted for the lump sum of $141.5 million before taxes.

Lottery24 - Joe Denette Mega Millions winner fom Virginia wins $75m   

Joe Denette

On 1st May 2009 Joe Denette of Spotsylvania County became $47.8 million (the advertised jackpot was $75.6) richer after winning the Virginia Mega Millions. His ticket was bought at Joyful Convenience Market in Woodford.  A massive Nascar fan, Denette accepted his cheque at the Richmond International Raceway. The winning numbers were 9, 16, 24, 40 and 43 and the Mega Ball was 35. And the store received a $50,000 bonus from the Virginia Lottery for selling the jackpot-winning ticket.



Cornelius Harris of Norfolk

Friday the 13th was lucky for Cornelius Harris of Norfolk when he received a $4 million cheque from Virginia Lottery Executive Director Paula Otto. He matched all six numbers (6, 13, 15, 23, 28 and 38) in the 12th April 2012 .Virginia Decades of Dollars drawing to become the state’s first top-prize winner in that game. His win entitled him to $250,000 a year for 30 years but instead he opted for a single payment of $4 million before taxes. 69-year-old Cornelius Harris, a retired ironworker, talked of paying off his house, giving some to his family, churches and charities, and possibly buy himself a fishing boat.

Gloria Carter

Gloria Carter of Waynesboro won $4 million in a Virginia Decades of Dollars game in May 2013, opting for the lump sum rather than annual instalments. She chose the Easy Pick option in the Royal Mart store on East Broad Street, and the winning numbers churned out by the terminal were 5, 11, 17, 25, 28 and 41. When she realised that her numbers matched the jackpot, she shouted upstairs to her husband "Honey, come down. I've got to show you something!"

Virginia Fike

Aptly named Virginia Fike from Virginia had an amazing day back in 2012 when she won $1 million twice, yes twice, in the same day! She had two tickets that matched five of the six Virginia Powerball numbers in the 7th April draw. “I must be dreaming” she said when she was presented with a cheque for $2 million at the store where she bought the tickets. She received $1.4 million after taxes and the store received a $20,000 bonus for selling the two winning tickets.

Lottery24 - Dave and Nacy Honeywell from Virginia win $217m on the Powerball   

Dave and Nancy Honeywell

Computer scientist Dave Honeywell spent $10 on Easy Pick Virginia Powerball numbers before he flew out of Richmond International Airport on a business trip. On his return, he noticed a banner in the airport proclaiming that the winning $217 million ticket had been sold there, and smiled to himself! He and his wife Nancy worked in Maryland's Fort Meade, an 81-mile commute one way. Dave said the first thing he would buy would be a new car! This was the first jackpot win in the Virginia Powerball history.

Virginia Lottery Taxes

Virginia withholds federal and state taxes from each prize over $5,000 - 25% for federal taxes and 4% for state taxes. All players must be over 18 years.


Virginia Lottery History

America's very first lottery was to help fund the Jamestown Settlement and was known as "The Great Virginia Lottery”. It was held in 1612 and raised $29,000.

Lottery proceeds also helped to establish early universities, churches and libraries. These early lotteries stopped when gambling was outlawed in Virginia in 1849.

In 1987, Virginians voted 57% to 43% in favour of a state-operated lottery. The modern Virginia Lottery Commission’s headquarters is in downtown Richmond; and there are additional offices in Abingdon, Farmville, Hampton, Harrisonburg, Henrico, Roanoke and Woodbridge. The State now runs its own lottery games and state-wide games: the Virginia Powerball started in 2012 and Virginia’s Mega Millions began in 2002.


Other Virginia Lottery Information

Supporting education

In 1989, the proceeds from lotteries in Virginia went to capital construction projects. Between 1990 and 1998 they were transferred to the state's General Fund and from 1999, a budget amendment was made that meant all future lottery proceeds would go solely towards educational purposes. This became a permanent part of the State’s constitution in 2000, voted for by over 80% of Virginians.

The Lottery also holds an annual Super Teachers contest. A panel of educators select one Super Teacher from each of Virginia’s eight regions and each winner receives a $2,000 credit for school supplies from The Supply Room Companies and another $2,000 from the Lottery fund.

In 2013, the Lottery contributed over $486.5 million to Virginia's public schools.

All unclaimed Lottery prizes in Virginia go to a Literary Fund. This Literary Fund is used for projects such as upgrading technology in schools and for funding teacher retirement.


The law in Virginia requires that each ticket must include a telephone number for a counselling service that addresses compulsive gambling. The number links to the Virginia Problem Gambling Helpline, a program which is maintained by the Virginia Lottery.


The Virginia Lottery has over 5,000 lottery retail outlets.  In 2013, the top store in terms of revenue was the K-1 Dairy Store in Arlington with sales of $3,757,923.25.

Virginian lottery retailers earn 5.6% of sales revenue. This includes a 5% commission on all scratch cards, 1% of all prizes from scratch prizes cashed in their store and additional bonuses for selling winning tickets.

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