The New Hampshire Lottery was the first in the US, with only Puerto Rico having a lottery earlier. It went live in 1964, originally known as the New Hampshire Sweepstakes.
In the early days, numbers were generated via thoroughbred horse race results.
There is a significant selection of draws held weekly and daily in New Hampshire. Most are multi-state draws. Big brand (and big jackpot) games include the Powerball and Mega Millions.
There are smaller draws in conjunction with Maine and Vermont, part of the Tri-State Lottery group.
New Hampshire also offers online lottery games; keno draws at retail outlets and physical scratch-off tickets.
This page takes you through all of these games, covers the history of the NH Lottery, and shows you the good causes benefitting from its revenue.
As a founding member of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), the biggest jackpot games in New Hampshire are the infamous multi-state draws.
With jackpots of $50 million or more becoming common, these draws attract colossal publicity. When the prize is not won for several weeks, there is often a media frenzy, along with long lines at lottery outlets.
Here are the most prominent games:
New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont share four regular draws. These cover big draws that take place twice per week, along with smaller daily draws. The biggest of them is Megabucks, which has a jackpot that starts at $1 million.
Here are the regular Tri-State Lottery drawings:
The only NH drawing games not part of the MUSL or Tri-State Lottery are keno games, aka Keno 603. The draws take place every five minutes. You can choose up to 12 spots, with prizes paid depending on how many matches you get.
If you play the 12-spot game and match all 12 of your numbers, the prize is $1 million. There are plenty of smaller prizes, with the overall odds of hitting a win between 16:1 and 4:1.
Scratch-it cards change with the seasons, with lotteries all over the country coming up with weird and wonderful themes all the time.
In NH, many scratch-it cards have the 603 area code theme. These range from $1 through to $25, with prizes going sky-high as you climb the denominations.
Here is a selection of the evergreen themes:
New Hampshire launched its iLottery in 2018, which includes two parts.
First, you can buy tickets for some of the draw games via the lottery website. The second part involves online games. These are scratch-it ticket titles, which work in your browser window.
If you’d like to find out how they work before playing for real money, you can try them in demo mode. You’ll need to enable Flash Player for some of the games to work.
The gameplay is simple. You choose a game, pick your stake and press play. You then see a virtual coin, which you use to reveal the symbols (these vary by game). Wins incorporate entertaining animations and sound effects.
Some iLottery games are seasonal, for example, to tie in with the December holidays or Halloween, while others are year-round.
Titles include King of Clubs, Instant Football Payout, Treasure Bay, VIP Gold and Queen of Diamonds.
It took a decade of attempts before the legislation passed, allowing the lottery in New Hampshire.
In 1963, the NH Sweepstakes committee launched, which was only the start of a process that allowed towns and city wards to vote. Twelve towns and a single city ward voted against the lottery, with 211 others approving it. On March 12, 1964, New Hampshire became the first lottery in the mainland US, with only Puerto Rico already running a lottery.
In those early years, numbers were determined based on winners of horse races.
In 1985, New Hampshire joined with Maine and Vermont. Together they formed the Tri-State Lottery.
New Hampshire hosts all the draws for this. NH would later become an early member of the Multi-state Lottery Association (MUSL). This association gave residents access to big prize draws, including the Mega Millions and Powerball.
Things have evolved recently. In 2018, the New Hampshire Lottery started to offer online tickets and games. In 2019, legislation was passed allowing sports betting. Licensing and oversight of this were put under the jurisdiction of the Lottery Commission.
In many states, lotteries cover a range of good causes.
In New Hampshire, the focus is on education. Right under the logo on the main NH Lottery website, you will see a message proudly pronouncing that “over $2 billion” has been raised for schools.
Approximately 25% of revenues from ticket sales go directly to education. Each year, a detailed financial report is made publicly available. This statement includes a breakdown of the revenues generated by each type of game and the net contributions to good causes.
Few states can boast the years of experience that the Granite State has with lottery games. The pioneering lottery games, originally known as the New Hampshire Sweepstakes, have raised more than $2 billion for good causes since starting in 1964.
As a founding member of the Multi-State Lottery Association and Tri-State Lottery (along with Vermont and Maine), NH has consistently sought opportunities for a bigger and better lottery.
In 2018, residents were able to enjoy online lottery games. These are similar to the scratch cards available at retail outlets. You can choose a stake and win real money online on both desktops and mobile devices.
With the expansion of sports betting under the jurisdiction of the NH lottery commission, New Hampshire is expanding once again.
Whether you prefer the big nationwide draws like Powerball, local draws such as Megabucks or a simple game of keno or scratch-card ticket, the New Hampshire Lottery has you covered.