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InstaPlay FAQ

My local lottery retailer doesn't sell InstaPlay, where can I buy it?

Actually, all lottery retailers in Iowa sell InstaPlay tickets. And just like tickets in Powerball® and Mega Millions®, InstaPlay tickets are printed on demand from the lottery terminal.

As a retailer, how do I find the screen on the lottery terminal to sell InstaPlay tickets?

The screen for selling InstaPlay tickets is found under the "Games" tab at the top of the main screen on the lottery terminal. There are three pages available under the Games tab and by touching the tab, you can advance through the pages. The first page features information about several lotto games. Details about the Pick 3 and Pick 4 games are on Page 2, and InstaPlay games are on Page 3.

How do you play it?

InstaPlay is sometimes called a "scratchless scratch ticket" because there's no security coating to scratch off and no drawing to wait for. Players know instantly if they won a prize by looking at their ticket or checking it on a self-checker or at a lottery terminal.

Are all InstaPlay tickets the same?

No. There are several different InstaPlay games, varying price points and two different categories of InstaPlay games: traditional and progressive. Each game has a different play style and different prizes. Progressive games have a progressive jackpot, as their name indicates. That means the game's jackpot increases with each ticket sold statewide until the jackpot is won. You can see full details about all the InstaPlay games on our website.

Where can I claim InstaPlay prizes?

Prizes of more than $600 must be claimed at a lottery office. Any prize less than that amount may be claimed at your local lottery retailer. InstaPlay prizes do not need to be redeemed at the same retailer where the ticket was purchased.

Why does the lottery terminal make a sound when I buy an InstaPlay ticket? Does that sound mean I won a prize?

Because InstaPlay tickets are printed on demand, the lottery terminal makes a "cha-ching" cash register sound when an InstaPlay ticket is printed. It's a security feature to remind you that the ticket you requested is being printed. You want to know that your InstaPlay ticket was printed on the spot when you requested it. (When a winning InstaPlay ticket is checked on a lottery terminal, you'll still hear the "You're a winner!" sound.)

How long do I have to claim an InstaPlay prize?

InstaPlay prizes must be claimed within 90 days of the date the ticket was purchased.

Why isn't the jackpot amount the same on every InstaPlay Progressive ticket?

The progressive jackpot in each progressive game starts at a set amount and increases with each ticket sold statewide until the jackpot is won. As in many of our other games, a portion of the ticket price is allocated to the jackpot. However, each ticket only lists the current jackpot at the time of sale, rounded to the nearest whole dollar. So if you win the jackpot, you may receive slightly more than the listed amount. When you have your winning jackpot ticket scanned on a self-checker machine or a lottery terminal, or you check it with the LotteryPlus app, the whole dollar amount will display.

How do I know what the current progressive jackpot is for a particular game?

The current jackpot amount is printed at the top of each ticket sold in progressive games. Estimated jackpot amounts can be found on the Lottery-In-Motion screen by our lottery terminals, on the LotteryPlus app and on the lottery's website. Jackpot estimates on the website will have a time stamp, indicating the last time the amount was updated.

Can I buy advance tickets in InstaPlay games, like I can for Powerball® and Mega Millions®?

No, lotto games like Powerball and Mega Millions have regular drawings, so advance drawing tickets can be purchased. There are no drawings in InstaPlay. Players get to play InstaPlay games immediately and tickets are not printed in advance of players requesting them.

How do I know if I won?

The play style in InstaPlay games is similar to that of a traditional scratch ticket where players match symbols or numbers to win a prize. There are instructions printed on each ticket and complete game details can be found on our website. You can double-check your work with the LotteryPlus app, a self-checker at a retail location or on a lottery terminal.

I purchased an InstaPlay ticket while visiting Iowa, can I redeem my prize in my state?

No. All prizes won on lottery tickets purchased in Iowa must be redeemed in Iowa or through the mail by sending your ticket to us here at the Iowa Lottery.

What do I do if the bar code on an InstaPlay ticket can't be read by the lottery terminal or is missing?

Just like with tickets in lotto games, each InstaPlay ticket has a unique ticket ID number in the upper left corner. That ID number can be manually entered to check the ticket. As a retailer, touch the "Cash/Cancel" tab at the top of the main screen on the lottery terminal. Once on that screen, touch the "Cash InstaPlay" button along the left side. Use the key pad on the screen to enter the Ticket ID String and check the ticket.

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