VA Lotto Online Winnings Have Topped $1 Billion, And Look, I Get It

Written By Dann Stupp on October 26, 2021 - Last Updated on June 7, 2024
VA online lottery wins

In less than 16 months, VA Lotto online winnings have topped $1 billion since digital sales began on July 1, 2020.

The VA Lotto, the official lottery of Virginia, recently announced the 10-figure milestone.

In all, more than 213,000 VA Lotto online players have had more than 196 million unique wins. Many prizes have been on the smaller side. However, one player won the largest online prize – a cool $2 million via Powerball – during that timespan.

Why so much success with online sales?

As both the head of the VA Lotto, as well as yours truly, can attest: A little convenience can go a long way.

In fact, among that $1 billion in winnings was a pretty impressive win of my own.

VA Lotto online big winners

After hearing news of the $1 billion winnings milestone, PlayVirginia hit up the VA Lotto for some details.

Are sales still growing? Are they cutting into retail sales? What games are VA Lotto online customers playing? And, perhaps most importantly, what games are players winning?

Thankfully, VA Lotto officials had the answers for us.

Currently, VA Lotto online sales represent approximately 30% of all lottery sales. Additionally, though digital sales continue to grow month-over-month (September and October are the two best months to date), they haven’t cut into sales at the VA Lotto’s 5,000+ retail outlets, which also continue to steadily increase their own sales figures.

You could say it’s a win-win; after all, VA Lotto online sales and retail sales are both benefiting from a bigger overall lotto market. But really, it’s a win-win-win because these VA Lotto online players are also big winners. Among them:

  • 1 woman from Maclean won $2 million playing Powerball online
  • 3 players won while playing Cash4Life online and now earn $1,000 per week for life
  • 1 player from Aldie won the biggest-ever online instant win prize, $209,149, playing VIP Ultra

VA Lotto online players are especially fond of Virginia Cash Expander, Big Money Jackpots linked progressive games, and linked Crown Jewel Jackpot games, according to officials.

Online players dig convenience (and privacy)

It doesn’t take much effort to understand the success of VA Lotto online sales.

As Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall stated:

“Virginians have really taken to the convenience of playing the Lottery from their smartphones, tablets, or computers. The Lottery is constantly looking for innovative and convenient ways to meet customer expectations while also providing lots of opportunities for our players to imagine the possibilities of a winning moment.”

It’s a very official statement, but it’s also pretty accurate. Sure, some players will always enjoy the ritual of going to their local convenience store and filling out a lotto slip or buying some scratchers in-person. Others, though, simply want an easy and efficient process for purchasing tickets and playing.

As long as you’re at least 18 years of age, located within Virginia borders, and have a way to fund your account (PayPal, debit card, ACH bank transfer, or online cash voucher), you’re good to go.

However, it’s not always just about ease and efficiency. For players like me, there’s a lot to be said for privacy.

Confessions of a VA Lotto online player

For better or worse, I rarely hide my propensity for gambling.

Friends and family know I bet on sports, especially MMA and baseball. They know I’ve entered and even cashed in some decent-sized poker tournaments. They know I’m a regular in March Madness and Super Bowl pools, that I’ve wagered on the ponies, and – after my first pilgrimage to the deserts of Las Vegas – I even became a competent-enough card counter to basically make blackjack a break-even game before the arrival of 6:5 blackjack.

I don’t hide these pursuits because I don’t really consider them pure gambling. Theoretically, they could all be beaten with skill and strategy. So that’s why, I’d explain to those loved ones, that this isn’t like rolling the dice.

I’m not gambling, you see. I’m just exploring alternative volatile investment strategies.

But when it comes to VA Lotto online games, there’s little to no strategy to speak of.

Playing Mega Millions or Powerball? Cash4Life? Perhaps Pick 4 and Pick 3? Or maybe any of those dozens of instant-win games that the VA Lotto offers? Well, it’s gambling. Pure and simple.

And only true suckers gamble, right?

My contribution to $1B in online winnings

I won’t admit it to those loved ones, but my gambling isn’t always skill-based. Having an edge (or thinking I do) is usually the only reason I’ll make a wager.

Usually, being the key word.

A few times per week, I secretly plunk down a few bucks knowing damn well it’s going to be a losing proposition in the long run. But for $2 per ticket, I just can’t give up playing Mega Millions and Power Ball when the jackpots swell past $100 million.

I know I’ll never win the lottery (or…), but I like knowing there’s at least the possibility of it – however remote. But to gain that little bit of comfort, I need to actually buy a ticket. And, well, going to a store or truck stop or marina to wait in line and throw away $2 on a lotto ticket? Where everyone can see me? Where surely everyone is going to point and laugh at the idiot who thinks he’s actually going to win the lotto?

Thankfully, I can hide my shame and buy my lotto tickets online. Where no one can see me. And where, every so often, I get an automated email congratulating me and confirming my prize for winning.

I got one such email on Aug. 20, 2020, soon after VA Lotto online sales begin. I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up with this so ever-so-tantalizing subject line:

Your Virginia Lottery Prize has been processed!

As it turns out, it wasn’t life-changing money. Not even close. But without my $4 victory for matching the Powerball and no other numbers for that drawing, the other VA Lotto online players would’ve won just $999,999,996.

Another perk of buying VA Lotto tickets online

My wife is a wonderful woman with a good head on her shoulders. She doesn’t waste money. Even if she really, really wants something, she always waits for a sale or discount or some sort.

Unfortunately for my wife, she, too, likes to dream about winning the big one. But even when it comes to the potential for a $1.6 billion jackpot, she doesn’t want to pay sticker price.

For that reason, we do enjoy VA Lotto online sales. Not only do we get the privacy of buying tickets online, but we also deposit into our account only when we get a deal.

Usually at least once per week, the VA Lotto offers online players some type of promotion. Occasionally, they’ll reward a deposit with a certain number of free plays of instant-win games. But I hold out for the straight-up match deposits.

In the past few months, I’ve had offers to match my deposit by 25%, 30%, and even 50%. In other words, if I’d deposit $50 into my account, I’d get anywhere from $12.50 to $25 as a match for free.

Sure, it could take countless lifetimes to overcome the monumental odds to win Powerball (1 in 292.2 million) or Mega Millions (1 in 302.6 million). The occasional match deposit and extra buying power is barely going to make a dent in those long odds.

But if you want a little something for nothing, and if you want to at least have a little solace in knowing you can buy your tickets right from home, VA Lotto online sales may be for you.

Photo by Via VA Lotto email
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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN, and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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