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Lotto 6/49 - stylised as Lotto 649 in its logo - is a national lottery game in Canada, with two draws each week at 10:30pm ET on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It's Canada's oldest lottery game, and since 2013, each draw also includes a raffle to win CA$1 million and overall odds of 1 in 6.6 to win any prize, including the chance of a free play in a future draw. A Lotto 6/49 ticket costs CA$3.

To get the answers to the most frequently asked Lotto 6/49 questions, read the FAQ section at the bottom of this page.

Lotto 6/49 Number Generator

Number of Lines

How to Play

Lotto 6/49 requires players to choose six numbers from 1-49 and match them all in order to win the jackpot. Each ticket you buy also has a further chance to win, in the form of a unique raffle number known as the Guaranteed Prize Draw, which allocates a prize of CA$1 million to one ticket every draw.

In some super draws there are further prizes allocated, typically of smaller but still significant amounts, while occasional event draws may also award annuity prizes, such as a monthly or annual payday for life, to jackpot or raffle winners.

Why to Play

Lotto 6/49 offers excellent overall odds of winning at just 1 in 6.6, although some players might not welcome the fact that the lowest prize is a free ticket, rather than a cash prize or even a refund of the ticket price in cash. It is one of the few six from 49 lotteries worldwide to still offer the jackpot for matching six balls - with no secondary pot or other 'bonus ball' type of criteria - at odds of just under 1 in 14 million. Despite this, there is also the Guaranteed Prize Draw akin to the UK's Millionaire Raffle and for tickets purchased in Ontario, the supplementary game ENCORE described below, making a strong all-around offering.

Supplementary Games

The Guaranteed Prize Draw is an additional raffle draw alongside the main lottery, but is not a supplementary game as such, in the sense that each ticket receives a unique raffle number as standard. An optional extra, however, is ENCORE (a bonus game available only in Ontario) - which is not only available on Lotto 6/49, but also on several other Canadian lotteries including Lotto Max, Daily Keno, Pick-2, Pick-3, Pick-4 and provincial games like Lottario and Ontario 49. If a player elects to play ENCORE, CA$1 is added to the ticket price and a unique seven-digit number is printed on each ticket. The prize structure is complicated, with 22 different ways to match digits from left to right, right to left, or a combination of the two, but the game offers payouts from CA$2 to CA$1 million at overall odds of 1 in 9.17.

Prizes and Odds of Winning

The total prize fund for Lotto 6/49 accounts for 47% of total ticket sale revenues. A 7% slice is kept for guaranteed prizes and special draws, while the remaining 40% covers the regular prizes. The fixed prizes - including free play tickets, CA$5 and CA$10 payouts - are deducted first, and the remaining revenue forms the Pools Fund, to be divided between the other prizes in the percentages shown.

In the event that any of these prize levels is not won by anyone - usually the jackpot, but technically including the prizes for matching four balls or more too - that share of the Pools Fund rolls over to the next draw, to be added to the future jackpot.

The jackpot odds will be familiar to anyone who has played a standard 6-from-49 lottery before, including the UK and several European national lotteries. With a starting value of CA$5 million and a guaranteed payout of CA$1 million prize on each draw, it's a relatively generous jackpot that often rolls over to substantially more than its starting price.

At the lower end of the prize scale, the free play for matching any two main balls and the CA$5 payout for two balls plus the Bonus help to improve the overall chances of a win, taking them to about 1 in 6.6, not including the one guaranteed winner of the CA$1 million raffle for each draw too.

Match Prize (% of Fund) Odds
6 79.5% 1 in 13,983,816
5 + Bonus 6% 1 in 2,330,636
5 5% 1 in 55,492
4 9.5% 1 in 1,033
3 CA$10 1 in 56.7
2 + Bonus CA$5 1 in 81.2
2 Free ticket 1 in 8.3

Below you will find a table detailing the odds of winning and prize tiers for the ENCORE supplementary game:

Match Prize Odds
All seven digits CA$1,000,000 1 in 10,000,000
Last six digits CA$100,000 1 in 1,111,111
Last five digits CA$1,000 1 in 111,111
Last four digits CA$100 1 in 11,223
Last three digits CA$10 1 in 1,122
Last two digits CA$5 1 in 112
Last digit CA$2 1 in 11.22

Payment Options

Smaller prizes can be claimed at retailers, some casinos, lottery prize centres and by mail. This includes sums up to CA$50 and, at the retailer's discretion, anything up to CA$999.90. Prizes over CA$1,000 can be claimed by mail or at casinos and prize centres; over CA$10,000 at prize centres or by mail only; and over CA$250,000, only in person at the prize centre. For international players who are not in Canada or the US, it is possible to request that a prize cheque be sent out in the post - this is at the player's own risk, with no guarantee of delivery or timeliness. Winners of prizes over CA$10,000 are also required to take part in certain publicity, including being listed on the lottery's website in a news release and other such materials.

History

Lotto 6/49 is Canada's oldest and most popular lottery, but only switched to its current format in September 2013. Ticket prices increased from CA$2 to CA$3 per line, but at the same time, the minimum jackpot grew from CA$3-3.5 million to CA$5 million, with an extra CA$1 million guaranteed raffle in each of the fortnightly lottery draws. The new rules also brought in the award of a free play for matching two main numbers, and if this is counted as a win, the overall odds are now just 1 in 6.6 instead of the previous 1 in 32.3.

Where to Play

Lotto 6/49 is played throughout Canada, and the unique Guaranteed Prize Draw number on each ticket shows where it was bought - if the first digit is 0 or 1, British Columbia; 2 or 3, Western Canada; 4 or 5 for Ontario; 6 or 7 for Quebec; and 8 or 9 for the Atlantic provinces. The game is also specifically open to players from the US and other international countries, and you can enter using a lottery courier service to go out and buy a physical ticket on your behalf in any of the participating provinces. Special claim rules mean that if you win from overseas, you can request a prize cheque to be mailed out to you.

Where the Money Goes

The Canadian lottery operators in each province allocate funds to a wide range of worthy causes, many of which are cultural rather than directly charitable. Payouts go to amateur athletes in need of funding support, hospitals and healthcare facilities, and research into problem gambling. Sponsorship opportunities also put lottery funds and other operators' proceeds towards concerts and even beer festivals on some occasions.

FAQs

When is the cut-off for ticket sales?

Ticket sales close at 10:30pm ET on draw nights, shortly before the draw itself takes place. The draw itself is made within a few minutes, with results verified and made available soon after that.

Those playing online through a lottery concierge are reminded that such services may close their sales earlier to ensure that the tickets can still be purchased.

What is the CA$1 million Guaranteed Prize Draw?

This supplementary game is a standard feature on Lotto 6/49 tickets, similar to the UK's Millionaire Raffle and other such prizes. Each ticket is given a unique ten-digit number, comprising a one-digit prefix based on where it is sold, a seven-digit number allocated to each ticket consecutively, and a two-digit suffix that identifies different lines on the same play ticket e.g. 01, 02 etc.

The first digit refers to the location the ticket was bought: tickets from British Columbia will start with a 0 or a 1, Western Canada tickets will start with a 2 or 3, Ontario tickets will start with a 4 or 5, Quebec tickets will start with a 6 or 7, and Atlantic provinces’ tickets – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Labrador – will start with an 8 or 9.

The first eight digits of the ticket will refer to the number pool set by their region of issue. For example, Ontario – with tickets starting with 4 or 5 – will have the number pool of 40000000 – 59999999. These eight digits are the same for all entries of that particular ticket.

The last two digits identifies the amount of Guaranteed Prize Draw selections for that specific ticket, starting with one an increasing whenever additional selections are made.

Example Guaranteed Prize Draw code for British Columbia - 01234567-01

In a standard draw, one of the entered ten-digit numbers is chosen at random to receive CA$1 million - the winning ticket is chosen from only the numbers that are known to have been allocated, which in theory guarantees a winner in every draw, and creates at least two Canadian-dollar millionaires each week.

How long do I have to claim my prize?

The standard claim deadline is one year from the date of the draw, after which time the prize expires and you can no longer claim it. This deadline applies to all Lotto 6/49 prizes, including the main draw and the Guaranteed Prize Draw or CA$1 million raffle.

Do I have to pay tax?

Under Canadian law, windfall prizes on games of chance are not taxable.

With that said, you may need to pay any usual income tax under your own local laws if you are playing from outside of Canada via a lottery courier service.

Lotto 6/49 prizes usually are paid as a lump sum, but in the event of a special draw with an annuity prize, you might also have to pay income tax within Canada on any interest generated from your initial win amount, but usually not on the original lump sum, even if it is invested on your behalf rather than being paid over in full.

How many combinations are available on the ENCORE game?

10 million. The number matrix for the game ranges from 0000000 to 9999999, and once all possible combinations have been sold, the numbers will start to repeat.

Is there jackpot cap for the Lotto 6/49 game?

No – the jackpot for Lotto 6/49 will continue to roll over until a player wins it.

Got a lottery question that you don’t see answered here? Why not try visiting the general FAQs page to see if it’s been answered there.