Illinois Lotto


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Unlike most state lottery systems, the Illinois State lottery is independent and offered three times a week. The lottery, created in 1974, is one of the oldest lotteries in the United States and is offered consistently every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. This means that you have three chances to win the lottery as opposed to only one or two that most other state and multi-state lotteries offer.

Proceeds Used to Support School Children

Proceeds from the Illinois State Lottery are used to support local schools meaning that buying a ticket is not just a chance to win big money but also a chance to help out struggling school systems. Those school systems by the way are facing massive cuts in state aid as the Illinois legislature deals with huge amounts of red ink emanating from the Great Recession.

Game Type

The Illinois State Lottery has changed a number of times since it was first introduced in 1974. Back then, it was based on picking 6 numbers out of a total of 40. Today however, the lottery, which is still designed to be a basic style lottery, is based on picking 6 numbers out of 54. While this does decrease the odds of winning somewhat, they have not moved to create the “double dip” style lotteries where you have to pick six numbers plus a bonus number (ultimately, those kinds of lotteries tend to offer poorer results since the odds of winning are much longer than for the single set of numbers).

Aside from the jackpot, there are of course cash prizes provided in the lottery for matching 5, 4 or 3 numbers. The lottery also has a Quick Pick facility which means that you can simply tell the computer to pick the numbers for you (although the computer doesn’t get a share of the profits if you win!).


As with most lottery games today, the Illinois State Lottery used to be restricted only to American citizens and then only to those who could get themselves to Illinois to purchase a ticket. The Internet has changed all that so that anyone from anywhere in the world can purchase a ticket simply by logging on and paying the cost of the ticket. The only restriction is that you must be over 18 years of age to participate.

Odds of Winning

The odds of winning the Illinois State Lottery are quite good. The chances of taking it all home and winning the jackpot are 1 in 10,170,000. Second prize odds are one in 3,900,000; third prize odds are 1 in 656 and the forth prize odds are just 1 in 34. The total odds of winning anything from the Illinois State Lottery are 1 in 32 meaning that you have an excellent chance of walking away with some cold hard cash when you play the game.


Jackpots are paid out in lump sum payments (60% of total) or in complete payments which are spread out over 26 years. This is a fairly standard policy for most American lottery systems since they figure on recouping the cost of paying out the money by investing it over 26 years. The largest jackpot ever was $69,900,000 in April 1989 by the way – not too shabby for one lucky winner in the Illinois State Lottery.

Game information
Game type 6/52
Schedule Mon 9:15 pm, Wen 9:15 pm, Sat 9:15 pm
Jackpot type jackpot paid in 26 annual installments
Cash option About 50%
Taxes About 28%
Participating Illinois
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