How to Play the Canada Lottery

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In terms of nationwide lotteries, there are two major ones in Canada in the form of Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49.

Lotto 6/49 was the first nationwide Canadian lottery game that allowed its participants to pick their own numbers rather than simply purchase tickets that had pre-printed numbers on them. Of course, many Canadian gamblers have their own superstitions, and allowing consumers to pick their own numbers is surely the right way to go.

The winning numbers for Lotto 6/49 are drawn out every Wednesday and Saturday by the interprovincial Lottery Corporations and is conducted with a Smartplay Halogen II machine.

In 2009, the former Lotto Super 7 was replaced with Lotto Max. Lotto Max now offers a substantially increased prize pool compared to Lotto 6/49 and is now taking over as the biggest and most popular nationwide Canadian lottery game.

There are also smaller Canadian lotteries conducted on a provincial basis as Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Western regions, and Atlantic regions all conduct their own, smaller-scale lottery game in Canada.

Who Can Play the Canada Lottery?

Unlike the legal drinking and gambling age in Canada, there is one unilateral lottery age and that is the age of 18. This goes for any and all national lotteries in Canada.

When you win a prize on a lottery here, it is tax-free, unlike our neighbours to the south. And this applies whether you’re a resident or nonresident of Canada. Of course, you should be wary of tax rules in your own country if you win a lottery here because the winnings themselves may have to be physically collected within Canada.

How to Play a Canadian Lottery


  • Six numbers are chosen by the player (or the player can simply ask for a random selection of numbers) from a range of 1 to 49. If all six of your numbers are the six numbers pulled from the machine, you win the main jackpot.
  • Apart from the six main numbers, a bonus number is also drawn and if a player matches five numbers and the bonus number, they take home the secondary prize.

Lotto Max

  • Seven numbers are chosen from a range of 1 to 49. Match all seven numbers, and you win the main jackpot.
  • Other than the primary jackpot, Lotto Max also includes “MaxMillions” prizes of $1M each and it is rolled over until it is won.

How to Win a Canadian Lottery

Of course, you win the main jackpots by having the machine pull the numbers matching those on your ticket, but choosing the numbers can come from a variety of sources.

There’s a changing of the guard in this department, however. Traditionally, the public preferred to choose their own numbers, but that trend has been bucked as the public now largely prefers to allow the computer to generate a set of numbers for them, which for Lotto Max is referred to as “quick pick.”

Canada Lottery Payouts

When it was first established and in the absence of Lotto Max, Lotto 6/49 rarely surpassed $10M in jackpot winnings, but that’s no longer the case.

Lotto 6/49 now trends over $10M on a weekly basis, however, Lotto Max has easily taken over as the biggest lottery in Canada by getting well over $30M on a weekly basis.

In fact, there have been several instances over the last few years where the Lotto Max jackpot has reached or exceeded the $60M mark, and while dwarfed by the Power Ball in the US, that is still an extremely large figure considering the smaller population.

While the largest winning ticket in Canadian lottery history was $64M back in 2015, Lotto Max now has a cap of $60M for a single jackpot while the excess money goes into additional “MaxMillion” prizes. The cap was introduced in 2017.

Second-Tier Prizes

While hitting the jackpot is of course the main goal in all of those, there are some attractive secondary prizes when it comes to the lottery in Canada.

  • Matching five numbers and the bonus numbers for Lotto 6/49 nets you 6% of the total pool fund.
  • Matching five numbers wins you 5% of the total pool fund.
  • Matching four numbers nets you 0.5% of the pool fund.
  • Matching three numbers wins your $10 and matching two numbers plus the bonus numbers wins you $5.
  • Matching two numbers wins you a free play

Buying Tickets Online

It was only a matter of time before we were provided the opportunity to buy Canadian lottery tickets online, and we now have that capability for both Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49.

That said, the rules are no different and it’s a simple process.

Like with buying physical tickets, you have to be at least 18 years of age or older to participate. There’s a registration process to ensure you are of legal age, and once registered, you deposit funds into your online account.

From there on out, you purchase your tickets online and a digital copy arrives in your email inbox. This is also a more efficient way of ensuring your ticket is in safekeeping as opposed to potentially misplacing a physical ticket.

At that point, a notification is sent to your email when a draw is conducted and if you have won anything. Again, this saves a trip to a store to see if you have won anything, another efficient manner of playing the Canadian lottery online.

Finally, you can find discounts and bundles when buying Canadian lottery tickets online.

Oliver Hughes

Based out of London, I began freelance writing for the UK section of in October of 2019. Having worked in the gambling industry for over 10 years, I now have the pleasure of adding this site to my list of accomplishments as a casino writer. ...

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