Guide to Canadian Lotteries

Canada has a thriving lottery industry, selling more than CAD$8.6 billion worth of tickets in 2019. Though jackpots don’t reach the heights of US lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions, prizes are nothing to scoff at. Additionally, prizes have the benefit of being tax-free, meaning winners take home jackpot prizes as advertised. In this guide to Canadian lotteries, we’ll summarise all the national and regional lotteries available in the country.

National

National lotteries in Canada are operated by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation (ILC), an organisation that is owned by all five of the provincial lottery commissions. The ILC regularly runs three lottery games: Lotto Max, Lotto 6/49, and Daily Grand.

Lotto Max LogoLotto Max

Lotto Max held its first draw in September 2009. A relatively new offering, it replaced the game Lotto Super 7. Players must choose seven numbers from a pool of numbers 1 through 49. One ticket costs CAD$5 within Canada and comes with three lines. Jackpots start at CAD$10 million and are capped at CAD$70 million, which has been awarded multiple times. If a jackpot reaches CAD$50 million, then additional MaxMillions numbers are drawn, which award lucky players with CAD$1 million. Jackpot odds are 1 in 33,294,800 and overall odds of winning are 1 in 7. Draws take place every Tuesday and Friday.

Lotto 6/49 LogoLotto 6/49

Lotto 6/49 was launched in June 1982 and has a format where players must choose six numbers from a pool of numbers 1 through 49, and one bonus number. Jackpots start at CAD$5 million and roll over each time there is no winner. There is no jackpot cap, which can lead to some big prizes—the biggest of which was CAD$64 million, awarded in October 2015. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 13,983,816 and overall odds are 1 in 6.6. Tickets cost CAD$3 within the country and draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday.

Daily Grand LogoDaily Grand

The newest of the national lottery games, Daily Grand (called Grande Vie in Quebec and in the Atlantic) was launched in October 2016, though it didn’t start until 2017 in Atlantic Canada. Players must choose five numbers from a pool of 49 numbers, and one bonus number—called the Grand Number—from numbers 1 through 7. The main prize is CAD$1,000 a day for life, or a lump sum of CAD$7 million. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 13,348,188, and the game has overall odds of 1 in 6.8. Tickets cost CAD$3 within the country for one board, and draws take place every Monday and Thursday.

Atlantic

Lottery games in the Atlantic region of Canada are operated by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC). The corporation is owned by the provincial governments of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, with ALC operating all lotto games in those provinces. All of the national lotto games are offered in the region, and players can choose a regional add-on game called Tag, which is a six-digit number with a prize of CAD$100,000.

Atlantic 49 LogoAtlantic 49

Atlantic 49 is a regional counterpart to Lotto 6/49 that can be played in combination with the national draw or on its own. It has a jackpot prize of CAD$1 million and a guaranteed prize of CAD$25,649 for each draw. Players use the same format as the Lotto 6/49 game for the main board, and for every board purchased players also receive a computer-generated number that is entered into the guaranteed prize draw. Overall odds of winning are 1 in 32, and the jackpot odds are 1 in 13,983,816. Tickets are only CAD$1, and draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday.

Daily Games

The ALC also offers a number of daily draw games with smaller prizes. These games include Hit or Miss, Salsa Bingo, Poker Lotto, Lotto 4, Bucko, and Keno Atlantic. Each of these games has different rules, odds, and prizes. Each game has a nightly draw at 11:30 PM AT.

Quebec

Lottery games in Quebec are operated by Loto-Quebec. In Quebec, players can include the add-on game Extra to each of the national games offered. Players can win up to CAD$1 million if they match the Extra number.

Quebec 49 LogoQuebec 49

Quebec 49 is a game that can be added on to a Lotto 6/49 ticket or can be played separately. It has a jackpot prize of CAD$2 million, costs CAD$1 per line, and uses the same format as the national game. It was first offered in October 1997 and currently has jackpot odds of 1 in 13,983,816 and overall odds of 1 in 32.3. Draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday.

Quebec Max

Quebec Max LogoQuebec Max is the regional version of Lotto Max, and can be added to the national game ticket or played separated. It costs CAD$2 per play, which includes three lines, and has a jackpot of CAD$2 million. The first draw was held in October 2012, and the game has overall odds of 1 in 7, with jackpot odds of 1 in 33,294,800. Draws are held every Tuesday and Friday.

Smaller Games

Loto-Quebec also offers smaller lotto games. These games include Lotto Poker, Banco, Banco Special, La Poule Aux Oeufs D’or,  Quotidienne, La Mini, Astro, Tout ou Rien, Lotto :D, Sprinto, and Triplex. These games range in cost from CAD$0.50 to CAD$5 with prizes ranging from CAD$4,500 to CAD$1 million.

Ontario

Ontario is the province with the highest ticket sales in the country, with nearly half of all ticket sales from 2019 coming from Ontario. Lotto games are operated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). The regional add-on game is called Encore and comes with a CAD$1 million prize.

Ontario 49 Logo SmallerOntario 49

Ontario 49 is the regional version of Lotto 6/49 and follows the same play format. The game was launched in May 2014. It costs only CAD$1 per play and has a jackpot of CAD$2 million. The odds of winning any prize are 1 in 6.6, and the jackpot odds are 1 in 13,983,816. Draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday.

Lottario

Lottario LogoIn its current format, Lottario has been running since November 2015. Players must choose six numbers from a pool of numbers 1 through 45. Jackpots start at CAD$250,000 and roll over until there is a winner. Each CAD$1 play comes with two lines of six numbers and has two draws: the main draw and the early bird draw (so long as the ticket is purchased by 11:59 PM ET on Friday). The draw takes place every Saturday. The game has overall odds of 1 in 5.8 and jackpot odds of 1 in 4,072,530. The largest jackpot, with the prize reaching CAD$3.28 million, was awarded on May 6, 2017.

Western

The Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) operates lotteries in (and is owned by the provinces of) Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the territories of Nunavut, Yukon, and Northwest Territories. The WCLC also offers Extra as an add-on game.

Western 649 LogoWestern 649

Western 649 is the regional version of Lotto 6/49, which can either be played in combination with the national game or on its own. It follows the same format as the national game, and tickets cost CAD$1 for one line. Draws are held every Wednesday and Saturday and have a jackpot of CAD$2 million. The odds of winning any prize are 1 in 6.6, while jackpot odds are 1 in 13,983,816.

Western Max

Western Max LogoWestern Max is the regional version of Lotto Max, and it can either be added to the national game ticket or played on its own. Draws are held every Tuesday and Friday, and the game follows the same format as the national game. Tickets cost CAD$2 and contain three lines. Jackpots are CAD$2 million, with overall prize odds of 1 in 7 and jackpot adds of 1 in 33,294,800.

Daily Games

The WCLC also offers smaller, daily draw games: Poker Lotto, Pick 2, Pick 3, Pick 4, and Keno. The rules, odds, and prizes vary for each game. The ticket prices for these games are as low as CAD$1 but can reach up to CAD$10, and prizes range up to CAD$100,000.

British Columbia

Lottery games in British Columbia are operated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). The BCLC also offers Extra as the add-on game for the region.

BC49 LogoBC/49

BC/49 is the regional version of Lotto 6/49. It can be added to the national lotto game or be played separately. Tickets cost CAD$1 for one line, and the game follows the same format as the national version. The jackpot prize is CAD$2 million, and the odds of winning it are 1 in 13,983,816. The overall odds of winning are 1 in 32.3. Draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday.

Daily Games

The BCLC also offers a few daily games. These include Poker Lotto, Keno, Pacific Hold’Em Poker, and BC 50/50. Rules, prizes, and odds vary for each of these games. The ticket prices for these games start as low as CAD$1 and go up to CAD$10, with the highest prize reaching up to CAD$200,000.

Summary

Lottery Name

Jackpot Odds

Biggest Jackpot

Lottery Type

Draw Days

Lotto Max

1 in 33,294,800

$70 million

Single Matrix (7/49)

Tue/Fri

Lotto 6/49

1 in 13,983,816

$64 million

Single Matrix (6/49)

Wed/Sat

Daily Grand

1 in 13,348,188

$1,000 a day for life

Double Matrix (1/49 + 1/7)

Mon/Thu

Atlantic 49

1 in 13,983,816

$1 million

Single Matrix (6/49)

Wed/Sat

Quebec 49

1 in 13,983,816

$2 million

Single Matrix (6/49)

Wed/Sat

Quebec Max

1 in 33,294,800

$2 million

Single Matrix (7/49)

Tue/Fri

Ontario 49

1 in 13,983,816

$2 million

Single Matrix (6/49)

Wed/Sat

Lottario

1 in 4,072,530

$3.28 million

Single Matrix (6/45)

Sat

Western 649

1 in 13,983,816

$2 million

Single Matrix (6/49)

Wed/Sat

Western Max

1 in 33,294,800

$2 million

Single Matrix (7/49)

Tue/Fri

BC/49

1 in 13,983,816

$2 million

Single Matrix (6/49)

Wed/Sat

Biggest Canadian Lottery Winners

While Canadian lottery prizes might not be anywhere near the biggest in the world, for most people they will be more than enough and allow them to buy whatever their heart or mind desires. Here are the 10 biggest ones that have been awarded to single winners:

Winner

Lottery

Draw Date

Jackpot Win

Gregory Mathieu

Lotto Max

February 25, 2020

$70 million

Adlin Lewis

Lotto Max

January 7, 2020

$70 million

James Wickman

Lotto Max

September 8, 2020

$65 million

Tai Trinh

Lotto Max

October 4, 2019

$65 million

Zhe Wang

Lotto 6/49

October 17, 2015

$64 million

Mary Wernicke

Lotto Max

August 12, 2016

$60 million

Bon Truong

Lotto Max

October 26, 2018

$60 million

Joan Patterson

Lotto Max

February 5, 2016

$60 million

John Henry

Lotto Max

December 25, 2016

$60 million

Laura Tutcho

Lotto Max

May 1, 2020

$55 million

As the table shows, the biggest Canadian jackpots are generally rewarded by Lotto Max. While it’s possible for Lotto 6/49 to reach such high figures as well, it happens far less often due to the game’s significantly better odds, which mean more people tend to win before the jackpot ever has a chance to roll over that many times.

Taxes on Lottery Winnings in Canada

When it comes to taxes, Canada really shines because it’s one of only a handful of countries that do not tax lottery winnings whatsoever. That’s right—even if you win an incredible $70 million Lotto Max prize, you’ll pay a total of precisely 0% in taxes. In other words, the advertised prize is exactly what you’ll get—unlike American lotteries, where you if you choose a lump sum you will generally receive less than 50%.

Conclusion

Canada has many national and regional lottery games that have rewarded lucky players with hundreds of millions of dollars in tax-free prizes over the years. With varying ticket prices, odds, rules, and prizes, there is something for everyone among the lotto games offered in Canada.


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