Frequently Asked Questions
Who runs Washington's Lottery?
Washington's Lottery is a state agency with approximately 144 employees involved in financial, operational, sales and marketing, legal, security, and other key day-to-day functions. Lottery is supervised by Director Bill Hanson, who was appointed by Governor Christine Gregoire in April 2010.. The Lottery is overseen by a five-person Lottery Commission whose powers are to establish and approve sound operating practices.
The Commission members do not work at the Lottery, but have other full-time occupations. Each Commission member attends important Lottery Commission meetings every other month and stays in close contact with the director of the Lottery to participate fully in major Lottery issues. Commission members are appointed to a six-year term by the Governor and approved by the state Senate.
Where do Lottery proceeds go?
Lottery proceeds benefit the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account (WOPA). The majority of lottery money going to beneficiaries are dedicated WOPA to support programs such as the State Need Grant, the State Work Study program and early learning. Once the required contribution is made to WOPA, the remaining lottery money goes to the Education Legacy Trust Account, the Economic Development Reserve Account, the Problem Gambling Account, and the Stadium and Exhibition Center.
Wasn't the Lottery supposed to pay for schools?
Many Washington State Residents believe Washington’s Lottery was approved by the Legislature with the intent that Lottery revenues be dedicated to schools or education programs solely. While this perception is understandable given the history of lottery legislation introduced in the 1970s and early 1980s, the reality is quite different.
Lottery dollars are a small but important portion of the total funding for education. To learn more about Lottery dollars for education, and how education is funded in our state, visit the Beneficiaries section of our website.
Where and how can I buy a Lottery ticket?
Lottery tickets are available at many convenient locations throughout Washington state, including grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants and bars, and even some espresso stands! Click here to locate Lottery retailers closest to you.
Purchasing a Lottery ticket is easy. Click here to visit our Lottery Games page where you can read how to play each of our games, or pick up a "How to Play" brochure available at most licensed retailers. Our retailers can also assist you with purchasing your Lottery tickets.
Can I buy a Lottery ticket over the Internet?
Internet gambling has always been illegal in Washington State and in the United States. The only legal Washington's Lottery ticket is one purchased at a licensed Lottery retail store location in Washington State.
There are many risks when gambling on the Internet. Unlike other licensed and regulated gambling activities, Internet gamblers have no idea who is operating the gambling site, if the games are honest, if winnings will be paid, or if the money wagered will be used for criminal purposes. Players have no recourse if they are not paid or cheated. Players put themselves at risk of credit card fraud, identity theft, or other financial crimes by disclosing information that should be kept secure.
Can Lottery employees play Lottery games?
No, they cannot. Employees and family members with whom they reside are restricted from purchasing Lottery tickets and claiming a share of a winning Lottery ticket.