North Carolina Lottery: Draw Games, Instant Win, and NC Lottery Overview

Fact Checked by Blake Weishaar

The North Carolina Lottery might be one of the youngest in the U.S., having not been enacted until 2005, but it has quickly become one of the biggest and most successful lotteries. The state-run lottery is the most popular form of gambling; however, now that betting in North Carolina is legal and live, it may no longer be the top choice!

The NC lottery is unique for one very important reason: 35% of the total money earned from the state lottery goes towards paying for the education system in North Carolina.

Must be 21+ to participate & present in NC. T&Cs Apply. Play Responsibly. Gambling problem? Call 877-718-5543 or visit

What North Carolina Lottery Games are Available?

At the North Carolina Education Lottery, players will have access to multiple types of games, including Draw, Multi-State Draw, Keno and Scratch-Offs.

Within these categories, you can play in notable contests, such as Powerball and Mega Millions. You can earn rewards and take advantage of several online promotions. These include deposit bonuses, rewards point multipliers, and more.

Below, we'll go in more depth on each of these Lottery NC games, discussing what's available and any notable rules.

See for Terms. Must be 21+ to participate & present in NC only. New Customer Offer. Subject to eligibility requirements. Rewards are non-withdrawable bonus bets that expire in 7 days. Gambling problem? Call 877-718-5543 or visit

North Carolina Lotto Draw Games

Under the "Draw Games" section at the North Carolina Lottery site, you'll find eight games listed. These include Powerball, Mega Millions, Lucky For Life, Carolina Cash 5, 4, and 3, and more.

Each game has its own unique set of rules, so we'll touch on them each below, focusing on in-state games only.

Carolina Cash 5

With Carolina Cash 5, you'll choose five North Carolina lottery numbers and aim to take home the jackpot every night of the week.

  • βœ… Starting at just $1, you can have a chance at a jackpot at or around $100,000, which continues to increase until it's won.
  • βœ… You can also add "Double Play," which allows you to be entered into a second drawing to win more prizes.
  • βœ… In addition to Double Play, you can add EZ Match to give you a chance to win $500 instantly.

The most recent drawing results in May 2023 resulted in zero $120,000 jackpot winners, but there were 17 $250 winners. You'll win based on how many you get correct, with the lowest payout for those with two correct numbers of the five.

Carolina Pick 4

To begin playing Carolina Pick 4, you'll pickβ€”you guessed itβ€”four numbers between 0 and 9, or you can choose Quick Pick for the terminal to select for you randomly.

There are multiple ways to play Carolina Pick 4, including the following:

  • 🎯 Exact: The NC lottery numbers you choose must match winning numbers in exact order.
  • πŸ”’ Any Order: So long as you have the right NC Lottery numbers, you'll win, despite the order.
  • πŸ”₯ 50/50: This is a hybrid of the two previously mentioned styles. You can win either way.
  • 🀝 Combo: An "Exact" play for any combination of NC Lottery numbers selected on a single ticket.
  • πŸ‘―β€β™€οΈ Pairs: You'll designate two numbers as a Front or Back Pair. For Front Pairs, you'll select numbers in the first two rows only, and the Back is for the last two rows. The chosen pair must match the winning pair in exact order.

For this game, you can play for either $0.50 or $1. This game also includes Fireball, which provides a chance for players to get more combinations to match and win more prizes. This game comes with an Advanced Play, where you'll select specific future draw days, and Multidraw, which allows you to play seven consecutive days and nights.

With the most recent results, there were 400 winners that received a combined $36,525.

Carolina Pick 3

With No. Carolina Pick 3, you'll play with fewer numbers to select, but at the cost of a higher payout. 

The payouts for the $0.50 and $1 buy-ins are about 10x less than Pick 4. With Pick 3, for example, if you play "Exact" and win, players will win $250 compared to Pick 4's $2,500.

The most recent NC Pick 3 results were $234,908 across 2,236 players.

Fast Play

Fast Play games are reminiscent of scratch-offs because you can get the results immediately. To purchase Fast Play tickets, you can do so from any store clerk or at a self-service vending machine. To determine if you've won, you can scan your results immediately with the ticket checker. NC Lottery prizes here include progressive jackpots and more.

For example, Lucky Clover is a Fast Play Progressive NC Play NC Lottery game. You'll be given multiple four-leaf clovers with numbers of them, and you'll find out after purchasing what your numbers are to try to match with the clover. This game aims to match numbers on all sides of the clover to win the amount of money it illustrates.

North Carolina Keno

With North Carolina Keno, you'll enter a fast-paced draw-style game with winners every four minutes or so.

  • βœ… There are 80 total numbers on a Keno card, and you have 20 to choose from. When you choose these numbers, you'll choose which ones you think will match.
  • βœ… There are multiple "Spots" to choose from in North Carolina Keno from 1-10.
  • βœ… The prize pools for these get higher the more Spots you pick, including $2 in winnings for 1 Spot and $100,000 for a 10 Spot.

On the NC Lottery site, you'll find details about the hottest and coldest numbers. These represent the frequency with some numbers chosen, which can help inform your betting decision.

Multi-State Draw Games

With Multi-State Draw Games, go outside the purview of just North Carolina. While you can play NC Mega Millions and NC Powerball, these are connected to other states. The cash jackpot results reflect that numerous states are involved, as winners can win a jackpot of nearly $100 million.

Below, we'll look at NC Powerball and NC Mega Millions.

North Carolina Powerball

To play Powerball, you'll start by choosing five numbers between 1 and 69 and a single Powerball number that scales from 1 to 26. Like other games mentioned beforehand, you can choose Quick Play to automatically turn out numbers for you.

Powerball tickets go for $2. But if you add Power Play, it's an additional $1. There are multiple ways to win at North Carolina Powerball, including matching the five balls in any order, and a "second-level" prize of $1 million if you do it exactly.

The latest Powerball jackpot stands at $435M.

North Carolina Mega Millions

NC Mega Millions is similar to Powerball in that you'll choose five numbers and then one additional number. The first five numbers are between 1 and 70, and the final sixth number is the Mega Ball, between 1 and 25.

Like Powerball, you can also do Quick Play and add an additional $1 to the already $2 buy-in for Megaplier. You can play five sets of numbers per pay slip.

To win the Mega Millions cash jackpot, you must match the five numbers in any order in addition to the Mega Ball number. For the second cash prize of $1 million, the final result must match your five numbers, excluding the Mega Ball number.

There hasn't been a Mega Millions winner since April 14, and the jackpot is $395 million.

Must be 21+ to participate & present in NC. T&Cs Apply. Play Responsibly. Gambling problem? Call 877-718-5543 or visit

North Carolina Lottery Instant Win Games

Under the Instant Win NC State Lottery games, you'll find Scratch-Offs. These tickets can be purchased at local participating retailers for cash. There are various types of Scratch-Offs and funds required to purchase them, so be sure to check out the details of each game.

According to the NC State Lottery site, new games are added every first Tuesday of the month. The NC State Lottery site also shows expiring games, so you'll know how long you have to purchase those Scratch-Offs.

To play these games, you'll read the details of each, scratch away, see the results, and know if you've won the top prize/jackpot or one of the other available prizes. The cash required for these ranges from $1 to $30, per the Scratch-Offs page to date.

How to Purchase Lottery Tickets in North Carolina

In North Carolina, you can purchase Lottery tickets online and in person.

For in-person tickets, the process is easy. You'll visit a participating retailer and make your purchase with cash. You can play Keno, Scratch-Offs, and various other games here.

For online, here's what you'll do:

  1. βœ… Download the NC State Lottery app from the Google Play or Apple App Store.
  2. βœ… Create an NC Lottery accoun by clicking click Sign Up in the bottom right of the mobile app.
  3. βœ… Provide information such as a username,  password and email address.
  4. βœ… Check your email for a confirmation code and provide it.
  5. βœ… Supply personal information like your name, address, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
  6. βœ… Add money to your account, purchase from the available games, and check results.

Is There a North Carolina Lottery App?

Yes, there's an official NC State Lottery app that you can download. It's available for both iOS (iPhone) and Android users. You can download it from the Apple App and Google Play Store.

With this app, you can check the status of your tickets and purchase tickets for Powerball, Mega Millions, Lucky for Life, and Cash 5. You'll also be automatically entered into second chance drawings on eligible tickets. 

As a player in the Lottery in North Carolina, you'll also be able to join Lucke-Rewards, which you can earn points toward with each ticket scan via the mobile app.

There are plenty of perks on the app for playing NC Lottery games.

πŸ“² RELATED: North Carolina Sports Betting Apps

See for Terms. Must be 21+ to participate & present in NC only. New Customer Offer. Subject to eligibility requirements. Rewards are non-withdrawable bonus bets that expire in 7 days. Gambling problem? Call 877-718-5543 or visit

Are There any Promos for the NC Lottery?

Yes, there are NC betting promos available for the lottery, including deposit matches. On the NC State Lottery Page, under the "Rewards" tab, you'll see a link to the Promotions page. Here, you'll see various offers.

Be sure to check each promo's page to see if there are any changes or for any promos added later.

North Carolina Lottery History

One of the newer lotteries to hit the scene, the North Carolina Lottery was established in 2005. This came after the North Carolina General Assembly passed the "North Carolina State Lottery Act" in August 2005.

The first lottery ticket was sold on on March 30, 2006.

Legalizing the lottery provided an influx of revenue to re-route to education programs. As of May 2023, the lottery has generated nearly $10 billion for education programs, including $929 million in 2022. There were 27,146 scholarships administered in 2022, and 48,504 grants helped students attend a state university.

Overseeing the North Carolina is a nine-member committee responsible for sending profits to various education levels.

Biggest Lottery Wins in North Carolina

On the North Carolina Lottery site, you can see winners. Still, they're all relatively recent and only include $5,000 or more prizes.

I found some of the biggest winners throughout NC State Lottery history:

DateWinningsWinnerNC Location
June 2019$350M (Powerball)UnknownHope Mills
Feb. 22, 2015$188M (Powerball)Marie HolmesBrunswick County
June 2009$141M (Powerball)UnknownBrunswick County
Jan. 9, 2019$110M (Cash 5)UnknownHarnett County
June 2009$88M (Powerball)Jeff WilsonKings Mountain

Holmes' 2015 win was the largest win in North Carolina Lottery history at the time. The 2019 win in Harnett County was the largest-ever jackpot win for a Cash 5 game.

North Carolina Lottery FAQ


Richard Janvrin

Graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard has written for notable sports outlets such as Bleacher Report. Now with, Richard is able to combine his sports and gambling interests to spend time exploring online sportsbooks and casinos.

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