Depending on where you live in the United States, you might be used to Blue Laws. These are individual state or county laws that ban things like horse racing, car sales, and the purchase of alcohol on Sundays. That’s why you might assume that lottery tickets are the same deal.
Lottery tickets are sold on Sunday. Most lottery retailers are open 24/7, and some lottery games even have drawings 7 days a week. Be aware that some retailers might close as early as 5 PM on Sundays. If all local stores are closed on Sunday, you could go out of state to purchase tickets instead.
The laws in America are a little tricky to understand, espince they seem to vary so much from state to state. So, let’s go over everything you need to know about buying lottery tickets on Sundays.
What’s Limited on Sundays
Quite a few states in America have limitations for what you can do or buy on Sundays, often referred to as a Blue Law. That’s because this day of the week is often seen as a “rest day” and is very important in certain religious communities.
That explains why certain stores are closed every Sunday and why certain employers will pay their employees extra to put in time on Sundays.
But exactly what you’re limited in depends on the state or county in which you live.
For example, states like Texas will limit the operating hours of car dealerships to one day on the weekend. In Illinois, horse racing is banned on Sundays. And states like Mississippi and Utah limit or completely ban the sale of alcohol on Sunday.
The good news is that there aren’t any laws that ban the sale of lottery tickets on Sunday.
You can literally go to any lottery retailer (as long as it’s open) any day of the week and purchase your tickets or scratch-offs. A lot of retailers also offer self-serve lottery machines to make the purchase process even easier.
Considering the Store & State
There are a few reasons you might not be able to get your hands on lottery tickets on Sunday.
First and foremost, you have to consider the fact that a lot of stores have Sunday shopping hours. That means lottery retailers that might normally be open until 8 or 9 PM are now closed as early as 5 PM. A lot of stores also open a few hours later on Sundays as well.
If you’ve waited until Sunday to purchase your lottery tickets, it’s a good idea to get to your local lottery retailer as soon as possible. Most will be open midday on Sunday, though it’s best to check operating hours with a quick Google search first.
But that all depends on the store.
In most American states, there are convenience store chains that are open 24/7. That means there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll find at least one lottery retailer open in your area if you live in the suburbs or the city.
You can also go to these stores at any time of day or night to purchase lottery tickets.
Where You Can’t Buy Lottery Tickets
While no states currently ban the sale of lottery tickets on Sunday, there are states that simply don’t participate in lotteries at all. So, you wouldn’t be able to buy tickets in these states any day of the week.
These states currently include:
If you happen to live in one of these states, that doesn’t mean that playing the lottery is completely off the table. You would just have to travel to a nearby state that does sell tickets to participate in a drawing.
Buying Tickets Out of State
Buying lottery tickets out of state is definitely possible, but you want to be cautious about doing this. Heading just over the state line to buy lottery tickets on Sunday if your local stores are closed can cost you millions if you happen to win the jackpot.
That’s because most states have lottery taxes.
If you win a prize over $5,000, the federal government will take 24% out for the purpose of federal taxes before you even receive your prize. But individual states will also tack on an additional state tax.
This state tax can be close to 9%, such as the lottery tax in New York State.
If your state has a lottery tax of 3% (like Pennsylvania) and you happen to buy a winning ticket in a state with a 9% state lottery tax, you owe the tax to the state where you bought the ticket.
In this case, you would be paying 6% more on your winnings!
That means you’re shelling out a huge portion of your winnings simply because of where you bought your ticket. And this isn’t money you get back at the end of the year when you file your tax returns.
When Most Drawings Are Held
What’s great is that there probably won’t be a need for you to rush out on a Sunday to buy your lottery tickets and avoid missing a drawing. That’s because the bigger name lotteries, like Powerball and Mega Millions, don’t have drawings on Sundays.
Powerball has drawings on Wednesdays and Saturdays
Mega Millions has drawings on Tuesdays and Fridays.
A lot of smaller state lotteries, such as quick picks, have drawings every single day (including Sundays) or even several times per day. So not only can you buy these tickets on Sundays, but you can also win big on Sundays!
Keep in mind that time is of the essence when it comes to lottery drawings.
Most drawings will have a cutoff time set in place. That means you must buy the ticket before this time. Otherwise, your ticket will roll over into the next drawing.
Limited Drawings on Sundays
Unfortunately, there are a few states in America that limit when drawings for lotteries occur. So while you can buy tickets on Sunday, there’s no guarantee that there will be a drawing on Sunday (for quick picks).
For example, the PLAY 3 in Delaware doesn’t have a day drawing on Sunday. The Pick 3 in South Carolina doesn’t have any drawings on Sunday. Ohio and other states don’t air lottery drawings on television on Sundays.
On the other hand, you also have to consider the fact that most lottery drawings do not take place on holidays. Don’t expect to cash in on your lottery ticket if a holiday like Christmas happens to fall on a Sunday.
Limitations to Buying Lottery Tickets
Simply put, you can’t buy lottery tickets on Sunday or any day of the week if you’re not of legal age to purchase tickets in the first place. Each state has its own guidelines when it comes to the legal age for buying tickets.
A majority of states require you to be at least 18.
While anybody above the legal age can buy lottery tickets in the U.S., there are some things that’ll impact how much money you can take home. Non-residents of America can buy tickets, but there will be a hefty 30% federal tax on all winnings.
As of now, there aren’t any locations in the United States where you cannot buy lottery tickets on Sunday. Most lottery retailers are actually open 24/7, so you can reasonably buy tickets at any time of day or night.
The fact that there aren’t many lottery drawings on Sundays also means you don’t have to rush out at the last second on Sunday to buy your tickets. You can easily purchase tickets on the following Monday if your go-to retailer closes early on Sunday.