Lightning Lotto – How It Works

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Are you Ontarian and want to play a lottery game that is a bit different than your regular lotto? Try Lightning Lotto! This game works in a unique way – you don't have to pick numbers to play, nor do you need to wait for a drawing. Everything happens in real-time, making it a fast and exciting way to win.

Additionally, a progressive jackpot is available that grows with each passing day until it's won! Want to learn more? Let's take a closer look at how Lightning Lotto works.


  • Play a lottery game without waiting for a draw or a selection slip
  • The lottery is available only in Ontario
  • Odds of making any profit: 1 in 67
  • Odds of reaching breakeven: 1 in 4.5
lightning lotto logo

How Does Lightning Lotto Work?

Lightning Lotto works in a uniquely opposite manner to the traditional lottery. Instead of filling out strips or picking numbers and waiting for a drawing, you can purchase tickets at any participating store that sells lotto tickets and instantly know if you've won.

Once purchased, you'll be given three sets of five numbers from 1 to 49; these are your Lightning Lotto numbers.

The unique aspect of this game is that it's played in real-time; you can instantly compare your numbers with the ones that were automatically generated as part of a draw earlier that day. If you match at least two numbers, you win!

How To Play Lightning Lotto? Step By Step Guide

We have prepared a little guide for you to learn how to play Lightning Lotto. Take a look!

  1. Find a lottery retailer that sells Lightning Lotto tickets. If you have no idea where to look, you can visit the official website for a list of participating stores.
  2. Buy your Lightning Lotto ticket for $2. (The maximum is five plays on the same ticket.)
  3. Receive three sets of five numbers (1 to 49) for every $2 you have spent.
  4. Compare your numbers to the winning numbers and the Bonus number that can be found on the same lottery ticket. Keep in mind that each line of numbers is treated separately.
  5. If you match two numbers, you will break even. But we will talk more about the winning combinations later on.

You Need To Pay Before You Play

Retailers can't cancel or change a ticket once it's been printed. Also, keep in mind that lottery tickets cannot be purchased online – they must be purchased at a retail location. So, you'll need to pay for your ticket prior to the draw – tickets are non-refundable.

Winning Lightning Lotto

As mentioned, you need to match at least two of the five numbers in your set to win! In general, there are five ways you can win with these numbers and each has a different prize and odds of winning.

  • Match two numbers = 1 in 4.5
  • Match three numbers = 1 in 67
  • Match four numbers = 1 in 2,956
  • Match four numbers + bonus number = 1 in 127,125
  • Match five numbers = 1 in 635,628 (jackpot)

Lightning Lotto Payouts: How Much You Can Win

In Lightning Lotto, the payouts vary depending on the number of matches. As you can see in the table below, if you match five numbers and the bonus number, you can win at least $125,000.

Numbers you matchPayout
4 + bonus number$5,000
5 (jackpot)(starting at $125,000 and growing until won)

How Are The Numbers Drawn?

The winning numbers for the Lightning Lotto game are automatically generated by a random number generator. The OLG uses the same random number generator for all lottery games, which ensures that each draw is 100% fair and completely random.

The Lightning Lotto draw starts before the tickets are sold, and the results are printed on each ticket. Ticket sales start at 3:30 a.m. from Wednesdays to Mondays and at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and the draw closes at 11:59 p.m. every day.

How Big Can The Jackpot Get?

The Lightning Lotto jackpot starts at $125,000 and grows every day until it's won. There is no cap on how large the jackpot can get, potentially reaching into the millions. However, jackpots are between $125,000 and $500,000 most of the time.

How Often The Jackpot Is Won?

The jackpot is typically won once a month, with the average payout being $400,000. However, this can vary depending on sales and the number of tickets sold. For example, in February 2023, the jackpot was won only once, while in January 2023, there was no winner at all.

prize payout breakdown
Prize Payout Breakdown 13.02.2023

How To Claim Your Prize?

If you are lucky enough to win the Lightning Lotto jackpot, you have to visit the OLG prize center in Toronto. You will need to bring your winning ticket, valid photo identification, and a signed Prize Claim Form.

On the other hand, if you hit four numbers with a bonus and won $5000, you need to contact them by e-mail, phone, or mail and ask for the prize claim form.

If you have won any other prizes, simply bring your winning ticket to any OLG retailer. Just keep in mind that all prizes must be claimed within one year of the draw date.

Final Thoughts

Lightning Lotto is a growing progressive jackpot game from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission and is one of the most popular lotteries in Ontario. It is a bit different from other lotteries, as draws are held before tickets are sold, and there is no cap on how big the jackpot can get.

Keep in mind that the lottery is available only in Ontario, and you'll need to pay for your ticket before the draw. Want to read about the easiest lotteries to win in Canada? Take a look at our guide here.


Is Lightning Lotto Only In Ontario?

Yes, Lightning Lotto is available in Ontario only. Canadians from other provinces are not eligible to play.

Can I Buy Tickets Online?

No, tickets cannot be purchased online – they are available only in retail stores.

Do I Have To Match All Five Numbers To Win?

No, with Lightning Lotto you can win a prize by matching at least two of the five numbers. The more matches you make, the bigger your prize will be.

When Is Lightning Lotto Drawn?

Lightning Lotto draws occur every night at 11:59 pm. Ticket sales start at 3:30 am from Wednesdays to Mondays and 5:30 pm on Tuesdays.

Last Updated on October 23, 2023 by Dan (Danny) James

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