HomeIowa Lottery

The Iowa Lottery encompasses many different games that allow Iowans a chance to win big by drawing random numbers and scaling prizes based on how many matching numbers players have on their tickets. Iowa participates in the Multi-State Lottery Association (MSLA) to offer higher jackpot games like Powerball and Mega Millions while also offering smaller state-level contests.

In this piece, we’ll explain how the Iowa Lottery works, where the money goes, how to claim your winnings, and much more!

The Iowa Lottery explained

The “Iowa Lottery” refers to all state-run and multi-state scratch-offs, pull-tabs, InstaPlay, and draw games. Lottery players must be at least 21 years of age to participate as established by state law in 1994.

Draw games require players to match the numbers on their tickets to those which are selected during a drawing (the drawings may be televised but results can be found online or in certain newspapers). Scratch games involve using a coin, key, or other object to scratch a selected area of the ticket to reveal whether the ticket is a winner and what the prize amount will be (sometimes, the same ticket can win different amounts depending on which areas are scratched).

InstaPlay games are effectively “scratchless scratch-offs,” with players able to scan their ticket instantly to see if they’ve won anything. Pull-tabs are similar to scratch-offs and instead require the player to pull perforated windows while trying to reveal a winning combination.

However, you should ensure that you keep your Lottery gambling in check, and always check out our guide to responsible gambling in Iowa if you feel you might have a problem.

Can you play the Iowa Lottery online?

No, you cannot play the Iowa Lottery online. Tickets must be purchased in person, though you can use the Iowa Lottery app to create a ticket in advance which can be purchased at an authorized retailer.

History of the Iowa Lottery

Iowa launched its state lottery program in 1985 as part of the Iowa State Fair. The first game, Scratch, Match & Win, sold nearly 6.5 million tickets in the first week. Since then, players have won more than $4.5 billion in prizes, and lottery games have raised more than $2 billion in funds for state programs including the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund, the Iowa Public Safety Survivor Benefits Fund, the Vision Iowa program, and the state’s General Fund.

In 1998, Iowa became the first state to require players to be 21+ to participate in lottery games. Continuing to pave trails, Iowa partnered with the Kansas Lottery in 2007 to offer a multi-state scratch game, Midwest Millions.

How do you claim Iowa Lottery winnings?

The process for claiming lottery winnings depends on the amount you win. Prizes under $600 can be claimed at the retailer where you purchased the ticket while prizes above that amount must be claimed at a lottery office. If you’ve won more than $600, here is what the claim process looks like.

  1. Confirm you have a winning ticket by scanning the barcode with the state lottery app or on the website.
  2. Call the state lottery to schedule an appointment. This is to ensure there are representatives in the office who can help you complete the necessary paperwork and ease the claim process.
  3. Take the ticket and a government-issued photo ID to a lottery office. There are branches in Cedar Rapids, Clive, Council Bluffs, Mason City, and Storm Lake, though if you’ve won more than $250,000, you must go to the Clive office (just outside Des Moines).
  4. Complete the Winner Claim Form and the appropriate federal form (W-9 for U.S. citizens, W-8BEN for non-citizens).

Note that state-specific games, scratch-offs, and pull-tabs must be claimed within 90 days while multi-state draw games have a 365-day period to claim winnings.

Can I claim Iowa Lottery winnings online?

No, you cannot claim Iowa Lottery winnings online. The only online element involves checking your ticket numbers to see if you have a winning ticket. You can only claim lottery prizes in person.

Fortunately, there are many convenient ways to claim your winnings. Prizes up to $600 can be claimed at any retailer, other than for pull-tab games (which must be claimed where you purchased the ticket). If you won between $600 and $250,000, you must claim your winnings at a state lottery office (there are branches in Cedar Rapids, Clive, Council Bluffs, Mason City, and Storm Lake).

Prizes of more than $250,000 must be claimed at the Clive office (just 11 miles from the Capitol building in Des Moines).

Is there an app for the Iowa Lottery?

Yes, there is an app for the Iowa Lottery. You can download LotteryPlus on an Apple or Android device through the iOS App Store or Google Play Store, respectively. When searching for it in the correct app store, look for the blue star with “IA Lottery” against a white field in the app icon space.

You can use the app to scan purchased ticketsto see if you’ve got a winner, but lottery tickets cannot be purchased through the app. Instead, you can use the app to create a ticket and then go to a lottery retailer that can sell and print your pre-crafted ticket.

Reviews indicate the app performs reasonably well but those with newer devices may encounter issues with speed and compatibility. These issues will likely be resolved when another update is released.

Iowa-specific draw games you can play

As odd as this may sound, both Iowa-specific draw games, Pick 3 Iowa and Pick 4 Iowa, feature inter-state drawings. The state used to get results drawn by the Illinois Lottery through WGN-TV but stopped that practice in 2014 when WGN discontinued airing 9 PM newscasts (lottery results were drawn near the end of the newscast). Then, in 2017, the Iowa Lottery partnered with Indiana’s Hoosier Lottery for the results, with Iowa disregarding the Super Ball doublers that Indiana uses.

  • Pick 3 Iowa
  • Pick 4 Iowa

Cross-state lottery draw games you can play in IA

Because cross-state lottery draw games have a larger pool of players buying tickets, the prizes are both harder to win and more lucrative. Here are some of the cross-state games you can play in Iowa.

  • Lotto America
  • Lucky For Life
  • Mega Millions
  • Powerball

Instant win lottery games in Iowa

There are several types of instant win lottery games in Iowa, some of which can be played without needing to pick numbers or scratch off the results. Here are some of the types you’ll find.

  • InstaPlay
  • Scratch Tickets
  • Pull-tabs

Where do I purchase lottery tickets in IA?

You can purchase lottery tickets in IA at any of the state’s nearly 2,400 authorized retailers. We’ll spare you the full list and instead highlight some of the general locations to make your purchases.

  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Casinos
  • Self-service kiosks
  • Airport terminals
  • Convenience stores
  • Liquor stores

Famous IA Jackpot winners

Here are a few of the biggest IA lottery jackpot winners:

  • Lerynne West: Lerynne West of Redfield is thus far the biggest jackpot winner in Iowa history, winning $343.9 million by playing the Powerball in 2018. West split the jackpot with another winner from New York, with each player receiving half the prize. Amazingly, West didn’t have her ticket in hand when the winning numbers were announced; the ticket was on the floor of her sister’s pickup truck. The sister sent a picture of the winning ticket, and West checked the numbers on the Iowa Lottery website to confirm the jackpot win.
  • “The Shipping 20”: The next biggest win in Iowa lottery history was a group of coworkers from the Quaker Oats plant in Cedar Rapids; they won $241 million playing the Powerball in 2012. After the win, the group formed a trust and wished to remain anonymous, though a legal dispute led to their names landing in the public record due to Iowa’s Open Records law (Iowa Code Chapter 22). The group took the lump sum payout and divided the funds among the 20 winners.
  • Bill Watson: Bill Watson was the first person to win more than $1 million by playing the Iowa Lottery. Watson won just over $4 million while playing Wheel Spin Show in 1985. He worked as a fireman at the time, retired at age 29, then came out of retirement to return to the fire department in 1991.


Do I pay taxes when I win the IA lottery?

Yes, you will be required to pay taxes when you win the IA lottery. Tax rates will vary depending on the amount you win, so be sure to check to make sure you aren’t over- or underpaying when claiming the winnings.

What is the annual revenue from the Iowa Lottery?

According to the reports from FY2022, the Iowa Lottery saw $432.7 million in lottery sales with $274.2 million paid out to lottery winners.

Are there age restrictions for buying Iowa Lottery tickets?

Yes, there are age restrictions for buying Iowa Lottery tickets. Those wishing to purchase tickets must be at least 21 years old to participate.

Where can I check the winning numbers for Iowa Lottery games?

You can check the winning numbers for Iowa Lottery games through the LotteryPlus mobile app, in-person at an authorized lottery retailer, or by visiting the Iowa Lottery website.

What are the odds of winning various Iowa Lottery games?

The odds of winning various Iowa Lottery games will depend on many factors, including the type of game, the prize amount offered, and the cost of the ticket. For example, the odds of winning the Pick 3 lottery start at 1 in 100 for a correct pair, while the odds of winning the Powerball are 1 in 292.2 million.

How does the Iowa Lottery contribute to state funding and education?

The Iowa Lottery contributes to state funding and education through two avenues. The first is by allocating a percentage of the lottery proceeds to go directly into social programs like Vision Iowa or the state’s General Fund. The other is through taxation on gambling winnings.