Did you know the New York Lotto helps pay for educational needs? Started in 1967, the New York Lottery brings in roughly $42 million and $3 billion being used for education in the state annually. In its first year, however, the New York Lottery grossed $56 million and residents from neighboring states crossed state lines to get their hands of lottery tickets. The New York Lottery has been going strong despite a brief shutdown in the 1970s. An agency in charge of reading the winning numbers for the state used numbers that lottery officials knew had not been sold.

Win Big

How much in a single prize is won playing the lottery? A group of state workers known as the ‘Albany 7’ netted one of the biggest prizes. The winning jackpot, of $319 million, was the fifth largest Mega Millions prize in 2011 and was split among the group members. It is said lottery picker, Mike Barth, generated the winning numbers. Barth was in line to get a Mega Millions ticket, but stepped out of line to get a candy bar. A man stepped in front of Barth and bought a Mega Millions ticket using his generated numbers. There have also been a record number of 110 prizes worth $1,000,000.

Offering good Rewards

While New York’s Mega Millions and Powerball are multi-state games that offer bigger jackpots to New York City residents, there are other games that offer good prizes as well. Did you know New York has a number of lotteries that are only for New York residents, such as Midday Win 4, Win 4, Pick 10, Sweet Million and Take 5? One of the largest lotteries that are only for New York and, perhaps, the best paying is the New York State Lotto. Did you know that millions of New Yorkers living in the City check their tickets weekly to see if they have a winning ticket?

If you win a sizeable prize that is up to $600, it is easy to collect your prize from the local retailers. Retailers have up to a year to pay the prizes listed on their ticket. If your prize is larger than $600, how do you claim and receive your money? You can send a mail-in claim form to the New York Lottery Office. Before you send in your mail-in claims form, include a computer-generated file claim ticket from the retailer where the winning ticket was for bought. If both a mail-in claim form and computer-generated file claim ticket is sent to the New York Lottery Office, there is no question that the winning ticket belongs to and you can avoid any lengthy delays. You can mail the necessary forms to New York Lottery, P.O. Box 7533, Schenectady, NY 12301-7533.

All prizes must be claimed within a year of the lottery drawing on the ticket or for instant tickets; prizes must be claimed a year from the date the game ended.