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FAQ's & Tips

Below are answers to Frequently Asked Questions about selling Iowa Lottery products. We've also added in some other tips designed to ensure a smooth operation when it comes to selling Iowa Lottery tickets at your location.

Players must sign their tickets

Players presenting Iowa Lottery tickets to retailers must sign the backs of their tickets before they can be checked or cashed by clerks.

This requirement is part of a retailer's signed agreement with the lottery to sell our products. Any failure to follow the lottery's terms and conditions may result in revocation, suspension or termination of a retailer license or limitations on that location's ability to sell Iowa Lottery tickets.

Iowa Lottery terminals print paper receipts for every ticket that is checked or cashed. Two receipts are printed - one for the retailer and one for the customer - if the ticket is a winner. Only one receipt - for the customer - is printed if the ticket is a non-winner, and the customer should be given the receipt.

We appreciate retailers' help and cooperation in implementing this and all lottery regulations.

Credit card vs. debit card

If a lottery player hands you a card, it's important to determine which kind of card it is before you make the transaction. Lottery players can use debit cards to purchase lottery products. However, state law prohibits the use of a credit card to make a lottery purchase.

A debit transaction is always tied to available funds, so as long as the card says DEBIT on the front, it is OK to use it for a lottery transaction. If it is a CREDIT card, it is illegal to use it for the purchase of lottery tickets.

Track lottery sales to avoid product shrinkage at your location

Inventory shrinkage, meaning the loss of product due to shoplifting, damage or employee theft, is one of the biggest issues facing businesses today. Tracking lottery sales at your location and comparing those records back to the supply of tickets delivered to your business can help avoid loss of product from your inventory.

Periodically inspect your ticket inventory. Unusual markings or missing tickets could indicate that someone is attempting to steal from your store.

The layers of security associated with lottery tickets allow them to be tracked and the records from lottery tickets have proven invaluable in situations where it appears something could be amiss. Talk with your lottery sales representative for more information if you have questions about tracking lottery ticket sales at your business.

Restock your terminal's paper supply

Check your paper stock often to prevent running out. All supplies for your lotto terminal are provided by Scientific Games. You may order paper and other supplies through the terminal using the "Special Functions." Or, you may dial 1-800-858-4744 to reach the Scientific Games hotline.

Cancelling Lotto Games

Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto America and Lucky for Life tickets cannot be cancelled.

Pick 3 and Pick 4 games can be cancelled. However, the ticket must be cancelled the same day in the same store where it was sold and before the sales cutoff for the game.

Close out customer after each sale

After each sale on the Extrema terminal, close out the customer by touching "Close Out Customer" at the bottom of the Customer Settlement screen.

When you close out the customer, the total is erased from the Customer Display Unit and the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpot messages are displayed for your customers to see.

800 number is for retailers only

The Iowa Lottery's 800 number is for retailer use only. It should not be given out to the public because the extra volume of calls can prevent us from responding as quickly to retail issues.

Watch lotto and InstaPlay ticket expiration dates

Scratch and Pull-tab prizes must be claimed within 90 days of the official game end date of the specific game. See our Scratch Games Ending and Pull-tab Games Ending pages for more information.

InstaPlay prizes must be claimed within 90 days of the date of purchase.

Prizes won in Iowa's Lotto America, Lucky for Life, Mega Millions and Powerball games must be claimed within 180 days of the drawing in which they were won.

Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto America and Lucky for Life prizes must be claimed within 180 days of the drawing for which they were eligible.

Amber Alert

Iowa's Amber Alert system is activated when the State Patrol reports that a child has been abducted and is in danger of being harmed. When an Amber Alert is issued, the Iowa Lottery will provide information to the public through two main sources: The flat panel screens at lottery retailers will show information about the case, and messages about the case will be sent to lottery terminals statewide. For more information about Iowa's Amber Alert System, visit

Contact lottery with questions

If it appears that something is amiss with lottery inventory at your location, please contact Lottery Security immediately at 515-725-7900. If you have a general question about Iowa Lottery products or operations, please call us at that same number or e-mail us at

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