The Biggest Lottery Winning States in America

If you are like us, then you have definitely had a moment or two in your life where you thought that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Conversely, many people find themselves in the right place at the right time. Some believe in this philosophy so strongly that they try and make sure that they are in the right place at the right time. In fact, this has even been applied to lottery ticket purchases.

The belief is that not all lottery tickets are created equal and that the location that you choose to purchase your ticket may have some bearing on whether or not your ticket will be a winner. For this reason, some lottery players travel just to buy a lottery ticket in a lucky state.

To make this slightly easier for them—and you—we have compiled a list of the biggest winning states in America. This list will show you which states appear to be the luckiest and which ones you should probably avoid if history is anything to go by.

Our Criteria

Luckiest Lottery States Text on American FlagAs you could imagine, compiling a list of all lottery winners from the massive variety of lotteries available across America is not only unrealistic but also almost impossible. Therefore, we have focused our research on two of America’s (and the world’s) most loved lotteries—US Powerball and Mega Millions.

We have compiled the data on all jackpot US Powerball and Mega Millions wins. This includes ensuring that syndicate wins still only count as one win and that jackpots shared by multiple winners in different states are all accounted for. We have also made sure that the data we have found relates to the state in which the winning ticket was actually purchased rather than the home state of the winner (which could differ).

So, without wasting any more time, let’s take a look at the biggest winning states in America to date.

The Unluckiest States

To start with, let us get the bad news over first. Unbelievably, six states—aside from the ones that don't have lotteries at all—that have yet to have a single winner in either of these two popular lotteries. So, if you live in one of these states, you may want to consider driving across the state border to purchase your next lottery ticket. Or, if you look at the glass half full, continue purchasing your tickets where you are because you may be the first jackpot winner in the state.

States that have yet to have a single jackpot winner include Vermont, Wyoming, Maine, Mississippi, North Dakota, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Indiana Hoosier Lottery LogoThe Luckiest Powerball States

Since its change from Lotto America to the popular Powerball in 1992, this iconic lottery has had a total of 384 jackpot winners in 42 different American states. This is a huge accomplishment and proves that anybody anywhere can win a life-changing amount of money. In fact, the spread of winners is so large, that the only states that have not had a Powerball winner are the six states mentioned above (Vermont, Wyoming, Maine, Mississippi, North Dakota, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

While there have been plenty of winners from plenty of states, there are clear states that seem to produce far more winners than others. The table below shows the states with the most winners as well as what percentage of the total amount of jackpot winners that state represents:

State

Powerball Wins

% of Total Wins

Indiana

39

10.20%

Missouri

31

8.10%

Minnesota

22

5.70%

Pennsylvania

18

4.70%

Kentucky

18

4.70%

Wisconsin

18

4.70%

Louisiana

17

4.40%

Arizona

13

3.40%

Florida

13

3.40%

Kansas

11

2.90%

New Hampshire

11

2.90%

New York

11

2.90%

Washington, D.C.

11

2.90%

Nebraska

10

2.60%

Delaware

10

2.60%

Iowa

9

2.30%

California

9

2.30%

New Jersey

9

2.30%

West Virginia

9

2.30%

Rhode Island

8

2.10%

Connecticut

8

2.10%

Tennessee

7

1.80%

South Carolina

6

1.60%

Georgia

6

1.60%

North Carolina

6

1.60%

Massachusetts

6

1.60%

Michigan

5

1.30%

New Mexico

5

1.30%

Idaho

5

1.30%

Oregon

5

1.30%

Oklahoma

4

1.00%

Montana

4

1.00%

Ohio

3

0.80%

Colorado

3

0.80%

South Dakota

3

0.80%

Texas

2

0.50%

Illinois

2

0.50%

Puerto Rico

2

0.50%

Maryland

2

0.50%

Arkansas

1

0.30%

Virginia

1

0.30%

Washington

1

0.30%

As seen above, Indiana and Missouri seem to be the best places to purchase Powerball tickets. However, those living in places like Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Wisconsin have nothing to lament either. Amazingly, Washington, Arkansas, and Virginia bring up the tail end of winners and have only ever produced a single jackpot winner each.

New York Lottery LogoThe Luckiest Mega Million States

Since its inception in 1996, Mega Millions has produced 206 jackpot winners. In fact, the lottery generated two jackpot winners within the first three draws that it ever held. It is hard to fathom then that (if we use the same list of states as that of the US Powerball above) there have been 27 states that have never had a Mega Millions winner.

This is more believable when you look at the fact that 43% of all the jackpot winners of this great lottery hail from only three different states. The following table shows which states have produced the most winners and what percentage of the total number of jackpot winners that state represents:

State

Mega Millions Wins

% of Total Wins

New York

37

18.00%

California

31

15.00%

New Jersey

21

10.00%

Ohio

20

9.70%

Georgia

17

8.20%

Michigan

17

8.20%

Texas

13

6.30%

Illinois

11

5.30%

Maryland

11

5.40%

Virginia

9

4.50%

Washington

5

2.40%

Massachusetts

3

1.50%

Missouri

2

1.00%

Florida

2

1.00%

Indiana

1

0.50%

Arizona

1

0.50%

Kansas

1

0.50%

New Hampshire

1

0.50%

Rhode Island

1

0.50%

Tennessee

1

0.50%

Arkansas

1

0.50%

As shown by the table below, New York, California, New Jersey, and even Ohio seem to be the best possible places to purchase Mega Million tickets. These four states together account for 52.7% of the total number of jackpot winners across the country and clearly have some luck to give out—unlike the last seven states on the list who have only ever produced one winner each.

Overall Winners

You may have been surprised to realise that the top winning states for Powerball and Mega Millions are vastly different—more so than even we expected. However, due to the high win of a state in one type of lottery, some states are quite high up the list. Below is a list of the total number of wins for each lottery.

State

Powerball Wins

Mega Millions Wins

Total Number of Wins

New York

11

37

48

Indiana

39

1

40

California

9

31

40

Missouri

31

2

33

New Jersey

9

21

30

Georgia

6

17

23

Ohio

3

20

23

Minnesota

22

0

22

Michigan

5

17

22

Pennsylvania

18

0

18

Kentucky

18

0

18

Wisconsin

18

0

18

Louisiana

17

0

17

Florida

13

2

15

Texas

2

13

15

Arizona

13

1

14

Illinois

2

11

13

Maryland

2

11

13

Kansas

11

1

12

New Hampshire

11

1

12

Washington, D.C.

11

0

11

Nebraska

10

0

10

Delaware

10

0

10

Virginia

1

9

10

Iowa

9

0

9

West Virginia

9

0

9

Rhode Island

8

1

9

Massachusetts

6

3

9

Connecticut

8

0

8

Tennessee

7

1

8

South Carolina

6

0

6

North Carolina

6

0

6

Washington

1

5

6

New Mexico

5

0

5

Idaho

5

0

5

Oregon

5

0

5

Oklahoma

4

0

4

Montana

4

0

4

Colorado

3

0

3

South Dakota

3

0

3

Puerto Rico

2

0

2

Arkansas

1

1

2

Conclusion

Though exactly how many people win the lottery each year varies from year to year, the above data makes it very clear what we should all be doing—booking the first flight that we can get to New York. This state is clearly more lucky than others, with Indiana and California trailing not far behind. However, while all this data does make for an interesting read, we do need to be realistic.

We personally do not believe that any single state is any luckier than another, and that is the beauty of the lottery. The lottery does not discriminate based on whether or not you are in a lucky state. If you are about to become a jackpot winner, you probably have just as good of a chance whether you are in New York or standing on the moon. As long as your numbers match those drawn, you will still be a jackpot winner.

Therefore, while we do think that it is rather strange that the number of lottery jackpot winners coming out of one state could be so much higher than those of another state, we still think the best thing to do is just to play using your favourite style of playing and hope that you will be lucky soon—regardless of where you are physically. However, one thing that’s certainly makes a difference is whether or not you are in one of the states that allow winners to stay anonymous.


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