Millions in Prizes Go Unclaimed in Illinois

In April alone, millions of dollars in unclaimed winning lottery tickets have been sold in Chicago and nearby suburbs according to the Illinois Lottery.

Most recently, on April 26, a winning Lucky Day Lotto ticket worth $350,000 was sold in Northlake.  In addition, a $500,000 Mega Millions Ticket was sold at a convenience center in West Lawrence on April 14th.

If you play the lottery in Illinois it’s important that you check old tickets for prizes.  If you find old tickets and you want to make absolutely sure they’re worthless before disposing of them, you can search archives of winning numbers on the website for Illinois Lottery.

**FreeLotto Pro Tip: Always check your results to see if you’ve won a prize.  Checking your FreeLotto results is easy!  View your results at any time here!

Illinois Man Wins $1 Million on St. Patrick’s Day Raffle

A lucky Illinois man found his pot of gold on St. Patrick’s Day after playing the $1 Million St. Patrick’s Day Millionaire Raffle.

Christopher Gluck purchased his winning ticket at the 7-eleven on Tow Line Road in Vernon Hills, Illinois.  The 7-Eleven receives a $10,000.00 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

“I always buy a raffle ticket because it offers the best odds of winning,” said Gluck, “but I never imagined I would beat those odds and win.”

There were 2 other winning tickets sold in Illinois, both those winners have yet to come forward.

Congratulations on your win, Christopher.  FreeLotto wishes you all the best!

**FreeLotto Pro Tip: Raffles have the best odds of winning, because they guarantee a certain number of winners per game.  FreeLotto’s TGIF Sweepstakes is a weekly raffle with one guaranteed $1,000.00 winner every week.  To be entered for a chance to win, you must complete all 6 games to gain one entry.  The more you play FreeLotto, the more entries you have into the weekly raffle.  See our TGIF Sweepstakes blog for more information!

Illinois Scratch-Off Games Discontinued

The Northstar Lottery Group, which provided scratch-offs for the Illinois lottery, has stopped running scratch-off games and started pulling them from shelves before selling all the tickets or awarding prizes.

The former Illinois lottery director, Michael Jones, says that the contract details leave Illinois lottery officials with their hands tied.  The Northstar Lottery Group oversaw management of the lottery, and now lottery officials must sit by idly as the games are discontinued.

Northstar counters that Illinois approved of the way games were run and that all games were run fairly.

Independent reports show that the state collected hundreds of millions of dollars in ticket sales, but failed to pay grand prizes.

We hope the state of Illinois sorts through their lottery issues and compensates their winners very soon.  Check back on FreeLotto blogs for more updates on this Illinois lottery story.

A $100,000.00 Winning Lottery Ticket Remains Unclaimed

Someone in Illinois is $100,000.00 richer and doesn’t know it yet.  November 18th is the last day to claim the winning ticket.  Illinois lottery players have exactly 1 year to claim a prize, and if someone doesn’t come forward soon, the ticket will be voided.

The Lucky Day Lotto Quick Pick ticket was sold at a Shell gas station in Lake Hills almost a year ago.  The winning numbers were 03-06-19-21-32.

The Shell station manager has notified all their customers of the winning ticket.  If the winner comes forward, the store will win $1,000.00 retailer bonus.

Check your tickets, Illinoisans!  We hope the lucky winner comes forward soon.

Lucky Illinois Man Named Gambles Has Won the Lottery Twice Using Same Numbers

Larry Gambles, from Mattesson, Illinois, has been playing the lottery every single day for 15 years!  On June 7th, the 65-year-old won more than $1 million dollars playing the Lucky Day Lotto.  Just 9 years before that, he won $50,000 playing the same game with the same numbers!

Every single day for 15 years, Gambles played: 01 – 06 – 12 – 14 – 25.  The numbers came from his favorite football player’s jersey number, his own high school football and basketball jersey numbers, and the number he wore at his university’s fraternity.

Gambles, a retired Chicago school administrator, says the lottery is just about luck, and he definitely has it!

Gambles plans on setting up an annuity for his 34-year-old daughter and 3-year-old granddaughter.  He also intends on sharing his good fortune with friends and family.  He says he feels very fortunate, blessed, and grateful.

Gambles intends on continuing to play the lottery every day.  With a name like Gambles, it seems like he’s destined for many more wins.  Congratulations Larry and good luck!

A New Illinois Lottery Might Solve Homelessness

Lawmakers in Illinois are pushing for a new bill to help take care of homelessness by selling $3 scratch-offs. The $3 ticket would send profits to the Illinois Department of Human Services Homeless Shelter Revenue Fund where the money could then be distributed out to local shelters.

Illinois is entering its tenth month without a budget for Social Services.  Many homeless services are facing the consequences of a diminished budget.  Helping Hands, a day service for the homeless and low-income citizens, will have to shut down its day services during the week.  Although it’s still unclear how the money would be disbursed or how much revenue Illinois can reap from the proposed scratch-offs, they have had significant success from lottery programs for veterans.  Their current $3 lottery has brought in more than $10 Million since 2006.

We hope that state law-makers will find a solution for homelessness.  A new lottery could really save their funding crisis.

Illinois Lottery Best Numbers To Play

Use past Illinois Lottery winning numbers to help you win Illinois-only games.

While the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots get all the attention because of the incredibly large payouts, lost in all the media hysteria are the state lottery games.

In Illinois, for example, you can win millions playing Illinois-only games like Lotto, Lucky Day Lotto, Pick 3 and Pick 4.

Each game offers you the chance to win a range of cash prizes, and you can win decent amounts by matching just a few numbers.

If you play Illinois Lotto, you can win a jackpot that starts at $2 million. And if you play Lotto with Extra Shot, you have 6 more chances to win Lotto non-jackpot prizes. Cash winnings begin at $5 and and go up to $5,000. Lotto drawings are held on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Lucky Day Lotto is another Illinois-only jackpot game, but unlike Lotto, Lucky Day Lotto has two daily draws with a jackpot starting at $100,000. It also offers the best odds of winning among all the Illinois Lottery games.

The key to winning cash for any lottery is of course picking the winning numbers. Many people use special dates, like birthdays and anniversaries, while others select the uniform numbers of their favorite sports figures. And many other lottery players go with their “gut” or numbers that just feel right.

What if you knew which numbers were most commonly drawn for your favorite games? Would that alter the numbers you’d pick?
If you play Powerball, would you change your picks if you knew that 32 and 41 have appeared 193 times, or just over 10% of the time, which makes them the most commonly drawn numbers in Powerball history? Or what about the fact that in order to win the big Powerball jackpot, you must also guess the “powerball” in addition to all five regular numbers, and the most commonly drawn powerball number is 20, which has appeared 63 times (or 3%).

Would knowing that kind of percentages change how you play the Illinois Lottery games? If so, here are the numbers you need:

Illinois Lotto

In the last 1000 draws, lucky 7 is in fact the luckiest number. It’s been drawn 81 times (8.1% of the time). The numbers 38 (7.8%) and 18 (7.4%) are the next two lucky numbers. Cold or unlucky numbers are 10 and 48. Both have been part of the winning combinations less than 5% of the time.

Illinois Lucky Day Lotto

In the last 1000 draws, 7, 17, and 39 are tied for the top spot. Each number has been drawn 140 times (14% of the time). The numbers 27 (13.3%) and 10 (13%) are the next two lucky numbers. The coldest or most unlucky number is 44. It’s chosen only about 5% of the time.

Illinois Pick 4 Midday and Pick 4 Evening

If you play the Pick 4 Midday, you choose between 0 and 9, in any combination, and can win cash prizes a number of different ways, like a straight or a four-way box (match 4 numbers where 3 are the same). In the last 1000 draws, the numbers rank as follows:

7 drawn 4.28%
9 drawn 4.21%
5 drawn 4.19%
1 drawn 4.15%
6 drawn 4.03%
0 drawn 4.02%
4 drawn 3.88%
8 drawn 3.82%
2 drawn 3.78%
3 drawn 3.64%

Pick 4 Evening numbers are:

7 drawn 4.50%
9 drawn 4.25%
1 drawn 4.03%
2 drawn 4.02%
5 drawn 3.98%
4 drawn 3.96%
0 drawn 3.89%
3 drawn 3.86%
8 drawn 3.80%
6 drawn 3.71%

To conduct your own lucky and unlucky number analysis, visit or Illinois Lottery page with all kinds of helpful tools to help you break down Illinois Lottery results and determine how to win the Illinois Lottery.

Play FreeLotto

If you like to play the Illinois Lottery, you’ll also love playing FreeLotto.

FreeLotto is the largest free lottery-style sweepstakes in the world and offers 6 games you can play for free every day from any computer, which means you can play from home starting right now.

It’s just like playing state lottery games, and the odds for winning are similar.

Play today and you could win:

  • The $1 Million Daily Jackpot
  • A New Car
  • Pay Off Your Mortgage
  • Fast Cash ($10,000)
  • $100,000 GiveAway

And once you have played these games you will be eligible to play FreeLotto SuperBucks ($10,000,000.00 Prize).

Registration for these games only requires two things from you: Your name and address (so we know who to pay and where to send your check if you win), and your e-mail address so that we can contact you to confirm your entries.

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Unlike Illinois Lottery, FreeLotto pays winners cash in timely manner

Play the Illinois Lottery Instant games and, well, you might not get paid – at least not any time soon.

The state of Illinois is refusing to pay any jackpot amount of more than $25,000 because of a state budget stalemate. Since payments have stopped being issued on July 1, more than two dozen Illinois lottery players have won more than $25,000. Nice.

Recent winners of the Illinois lottery who are not getting their money have started to join a federal lawsuit demanding all lotto sales be stopped until they are paid.

Or, instead of playing and suing the Illinois Lottery, if you enjoy playing games where you can win instant cash, you should play FreeLotto.

Odds of winning the jackpot are similar to the Illinois Lottery, and the best part is FreeLotto will actually pay if you win money.

The second best part: you can play 6 games for free, right now, without even leaving your home!

There are 5 games you can play and 6 ways to win:

  • The $1 Million Daily Jackpot
  • A New Car
  • Pay Off Your Mortgage
  • Fast Cash ($10,000)
  • $100,000 GiveAway

And once you have played these games you will be eligible to play FreeLotto SuperBucks where you could win the $10,000,000.00 Grand Prize.

Approximately 17,000 new people sign up to play every day. Why not you?

It’s free and it’s fun. And you can win up to $11 million today. It’s a better way to play #betterwaytoplay.

How to Win Illinois Lottery Instant Games

Best strategies and helpful spreadsheet to determine best odds

The Illinois Lottery Daily games, like the Pick 3 and Pick 4, and the Jackpot games, like Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto and Lucky Day Lotto, are purely games of chance.

There are no “special” strategies you can use to pick numbers that will increase your odds – despite what you read online.

Check out Illinois Lottery Results

Find the latest results. See if your numbers won in past drawings. Calculate the odds for any game. View smart picks based on the most frequent ‘hot’ numbers.

Illinois Lottery Results

You can employ certain strategies to improve your share of the jackpot should you win. But you can bank on this: To improve your odds of winning the Illinois Lottery, you need to purchase more tickets. The more you buy, the better your chances.

The IL Lottery Instant Games, however, are much different.

Illinois’ scratch-off tickets are not random.

Let me be perfectly clear. Lottery drawings are a game of chance because the numbers are drawn randomly – without human intervention. Instant Game tickets are not random because a human being must determine how many total tickets to print, how many will be winning tickets and for what amounts, and how the winning tickets are dispersed geographically. All of these decisions are carefully crafted to maximize excitement and to draw players in and keep them playing.

Even the number of winning tickets in a roll is often pre-determined to avoid long losing streaks.

The scratch-off tickets themselves are anything but random.

A conscious effort is made to produce “almost win” tickets where, for example, a card will have three out of four of the matching symbols needed, which will encourage players to purchase another card or come back sooner to play again.

In short, there is a formula to scratch-off games. The challenge is to figure it out.

January-coverA story in Wired Magazine explains how a geological statistician living in Toronto, Mohan Srivastava, discovered a pattern to how the tickets were printed.

“The tickets are clearly mass-produced, which means there must be some computer program that lays down the numbers,” Mr. Srivastava is quoted in Wired. “Of course, it would be really nice if the computer could just spit out random digits. But that’s not possible, since the lottery corporation needs to control the number of winning tickets [otherwise it could go bust]. The game can’t be truly random. Instead, it has to generate the illusion of randomness while actually being carefully determined.”

Mr. Srivastava’s discovery will no longer work on most (probably all) instant game tickets. However, the concept of “illusion of randomness” remains relevant.

IL Lottery Instant Games best strategies

Here are 5 strategies to increase your odds of winning the Illinois Lottery Instant Games:

1. Buy all your instant game tickets from the same roll at the same time.
lottery-tickets-rollYou can assume there are at least a few winners in every roll of tickets. Every time you get a losing ticket, you reduce your chances of losing by one ticket.

Do not buy different games. If you buy a new ticket from a different roll, the pool of losing tickets is much larger and your chances of getting a winning ticket goes down.

2. Don’t play everyday. Rather buy in bulk.
Building on tip #1, the odds are better if instead of buying one ticket every day for a week, you spend the same amount and buy 7 tickets at one time. Better yet, purchase your monthly allotment of scratch offs during on visit. Buying 30 tickets at once is much better than buying one a day.

3. Let others buy the losing tickets.
If you’re able to and have the time, hang around and watch others play. If you see a prolonged losing streak from a specific roll, your chances of getting a winning ticket increase because scratch-off tickets are sold with a guaranteed number of winners and losers in each pack.

You could also make friends with the cashier who could keep track for you.

4. Have the retailer’s computer check your losing tickets.
This isn’t about improving your odds necessarily, except that after scratching off 10, 15, or 20 tickets, it’s easy to miss matching symbols or numbers.

5. Strategically plan your play using math and a spreadsheet

Most scratch-off games publish on their websites the odds for each instant cash game. Many will often post prizes that have already been won for each game.

If you do nothing else, at least be sure to check the appropriate website to see which games still have top prizes available.

freelotto-spreadsheetNow to really improve your odds, let’s do a little math (there’s a spreadsheet at the end to make it easy).

We start with a simple concept: When tickets are sold and prizes won, the odds of winning change.

For example, if a game has sold many tickets, all or nearly all the top prizes could have already been won, so the odds of you winning that $1 million went from very small to virtually zero to perhaps zero if all the top prizes have been claimed.

However, sometimes the odds swing in your favor.

Again, simplifying the math for the example, let’s say 50% of the tickets have been sold but only 25% of the prizes have been claimed. Naturally, your odds of winning have gone up, or swung in your favor, by 50%. This would be a game you should play.

In reality, the odds never swing this much. In fact, most of the time, the odds vary only slightly. But a slight move in your direction can help and a few times, you’ll find significant swings that can make a worthwhile difference.

We’ve created a spreadsheet you can use to do the math for you. All you need to do is check the game’s website and fill in the numbers.

Here’s how the spreadsheet works for a single game:

We used the Illinois Lottery World Class Millions Instant Game as an example.
The World Class Millions scratch-off game is giving out more than $140 million in prizes with the Grand Prize being $15 million. It’s the highest instant game payout in Illinois Lottery history. You have a 34% of winning something every time you play.

You can find the rules for the game here:

And you can find the number of prizes available and remaining prizes here:

In column A, we filled in the available prizes.

In column B, we filled in the odds, which are usually stated as “1 in X.”.

In column C, we filled in total available prizes.

Column D automatically calculates the estimated number of tickets sold. The formula is:

Odds X Available Prizes = Printed Tickets

The estimates may vary per prize based on rounding.

Column E automatically calculates your chances of winning.

In column F, we filled in the claimed prizes as published on the website.

Column G automatically calculates the number of remaining prizes.

Column H is an important column. It estimates how many tickets have been sold. This is a number not provided by the website, but it’s critical in determining how the odds have changed.
To generate a reasonable estimate, the spreadsheet uses the estimated tickets sold of the lowest prize amount because this gives us the largest sample size and will be more accurate than the numbers with fewer prizes.

Column I automatically takes the estimated tickets sold and subtracts from total tickets printed to get the estimated remaining tickets.

Column J automatically adjusts the odds based on the new numbers.

Column K automatically adjusts your chances of winning based on the new numbers.

Column L automatically determines how much your chances of winning have changed. Sometimes in your favor, represented by a green bold number, and sometimes against you, represented by a red number.

In our example, you can see that the odds for most of the higher prize amounts have moved slightly in our favor, especially for the $1,000, $500, and $40 prizes. But the $20 and $25 prizes have swung in the opposite direction. The odds of winning $20 has decreased 0.5%. And our overall chances have gone down 0.1%.

Bottom line, don’t just walk into a store and purchase a few random tickets, unless you really don’t care and just want to have fun. But if you want to improve your odds, these strategies do help.

Download instant lottery scratch-off games spreadsheet


Click to view the spreadsheet:

To download the spreadsheet to your computer, click the menu File, then Download As.

Note, this is a Google Doc so you won’t risk getting viruses or other crap you get if you download strange files or those ending in .exe.

Let me know what you think below.

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State lottery sales plummet 30% in early 2015

Are you suffering from jackpot fatigue?

If you are, you’re not alone.

Ticket sales for Mega Millions and Powerball games were down 30% for the first quarter, 2015.

Imagine what that’s doing to state budgets!?!

States are responding to falling lottery ticket sales by pumping up the jackpot amounts in hopes of luring back the casual player who buys lotto tickets only when the prize becomes enormous.

An interesting catch is that when fewer people play, it becomes hard to reach the ginormous prizes, for example going from $100 million to $300 million

People once impressed with a $100 million payout shrug until it reaches $300 million. Then fewer people play, so it takes longer to get to staggering prizes.

What are people playing? FreeLotto. More and more gamers are flocking to FreeLotto – the world’s largest online lottery style sweepstakes – because they realize it’s free, easy to play, and the odds are similar to state lotteries.

Check it out for yourself. Play right now.

Winning $250K Illinois Lottery ticket remains unclaimed

A $250,000 lottery ticket sold Saturday in the northern Illinois suburban town Skokie has yet to be claimed.

The Quick Pick ticket was sold during a Lucky Day Lotto drawing at a Skokie Marathon gas station, 8001 N. Skokie Blvd., the Illinois Lottery said in a statement.

The winning numbers were: 01-14-16-39-45, the Illinois Lottery said.

The winner is asked to immediately sign the back of their ticket and keep it in a safe place until he or she visits one of the Lottery’s five prize centers in Illinois, the statement said. Winners have one year from the drawing date to claim the money.

If you’re not holding the winning ticket, play FreeLotto. The odds are similar to IL Lottery games and you can play right now.

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Illinois Lottery winner plans to buy house with $250,000 lottery prize

In Illinois, a north suburban woman plans to buy a house with the $250,000 she won playing the Illinois Lottery.

Peronia George won $250,000 on a $250,000 crossword ticket she bought at Montrose BP at 3201 W. Montrose in Chicago, according to a statement from the Illinois Lottery.

“When I scratched my ticket and saw that I won, I was shocked! Even after they double-checked it for me at the store, I still couldn’t believe it,” she said when she presented her winning ticket at the Illinois Lottery Prize Center in Des Plaines.

George and her husband live in Skokie, Illinois, and plan to use their lottery winnings to buy a house.

Looking to win a few million? Play FreeLotto. The odds are similar to IL Lottery games and you can play right now.

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Illinois Lottery winner scratches $50,000 top prize on Gold Rush instant ticket

Patricia Easley, a 10-year resident of Gurnee, Illinois, won a top prize of $50,000 when she scratched a Gold Rush Instant Illinois Lottery ticket.

Ms. Easley was at home when she scratched the winning ticket and discovered her $50,000 windfall.

“My husband bought this ticket for me; he chose it because it was a new game that he had never seen before,” she said when she presented her winning ticket at the Illinois Lottery Prize Center in Des Plaines.

Ms. Easley plans to invest her winnings and save for retirement.

The winning ticket was purchased at Rashmi Quick Mart, 314 S. Lewis Ave. in Waukegan. The retailer received a $500 bonus, 1% of the prize amount, for selling the winning ticket.

Gold Rush is a $3 instant ticket scratch-off game featuring a top prize of $50,000.

Three of the $50,000 prizes have yet to be claimed.

Looking to play instant winning games? There’s a better way to play with FreeLotto. It’s fun, convenient, and the odds are similar. Play right now and you could be a winner.

Friday the 13th is a lucky day to win cash

Turns out Friday the 13th is a lucky day after all. At least for Tom Brown from Rockford, Illinois. Mr. Brown, 71, played the Illinois Lottery’s “Vegas” ticket on the infamous Friday and won $200,000 cash. He said his first order of business with the money is to take his wife, his two children, six grand-kids and two great-grandchildren on a trip to Disney World in Florida.

“Friday the 13th certainly was lucky for me,” said Tom Brown after turning in a winning scratch-off lottery ticket at a claim center.

The winning cash will come in handy, he said, because there are also bills he needs to pay.

Mr. Brown said he plays the lottery about once a week. Last Friday’s winning ticket was purchased at a Schnucks grocery store. The store earned a $2,000 payout for its part in the win.

Did you win any cash on Friday the 13th? Tell us in the comments section below if you were lucky. Test your luck for free when you play FreeLotto. Click below to play.

‘Regular Joe’ Joins Millionaire’s Club

Jesus Davila’s wishes may be modest, but his next check certainly isn’t. As the sole winner of the January 16th Illinois state lottery drawing, Jesus will take home $127 million in a lump sum payment. What is he planning for his first new purchase? “I would like to a buy a big house with a really big lawn … and a riding lawn mower” he said earlier this week. Jesus also plans to share some of the money with his four children and four grandchildren. At an official press conference to announce his winning, Jesus reminded lottery players everywhere, “You can’t win if you don’t play. I’m just a regular Joe, and I played.”