Player Security

Security Tips at Retail Level

We all need to remember to protect ourselves and double-check the information we receive. That applies to lottery tickets as well. Here are some tips to help keep your lottery play fun and safe:

  • Always sign the back of your ticket. That identifies the ticket - and any prize you may win - as belonging to you. It also can help prevent someone else from trying to cash the ticket if it is misplaced. And if your ticket is lost or stolen, report the matter to Lottery Security and your local law enforcement agency.
  • Double-check your tickets when you buy them. Just as you'd look over an item of clothing for damage or a piece of fruit for bruising, double-check the lottery tickets you're buying. If a ticket appears to have been tampered with, contact Lottery Security immediately.
    • If it's a lotto ticket, be sure it is for the game you want and that it contains the numbers and plays for the drawing(s) you selected.
    • If it's an instant-scratch ticket, be sure that the latex has not been scratched and that it covers the entire play area on the ticket, including the "Scratch 2 Cash" area.
    • If it's a pull-tab ticket, be sure that the perforations along the paper tabs have not been broken.
  • Use a self-checker. Self-check devices are installed in nearly all retail locations in Iowa where lottery tickets are sold. You can use a self-checker to scan your ticket on your own so you never have to give it to someone else. It's a convenience factor and a security control. (The results of a lottery ticket are imbedded on the ticket itself, so any lottery device will give the same result for that ticket.)
  • Determine on your own whether your ticket has won a prize before you present it to be checked or cashed. There is no substitute for player responsibility and diligence, despite all the safeguards that the lottery provides. And if you ever question what you're told about a particular ticket when you're trying to have it validated, you can always ask for the ticket back and send it to us here at the lottery so we can check it.
  • Ask for your receipt. Whenever a ticket is checked or cashed at a lottery terminal in Iowa, receipts are automatically printed. Be sure you receive the customer receipt that shows the results of your ticket. (Pull-tab tickets are the only lottery product in Iowa for which receipts aren't printed. Any prize won on a pull-tab is already printed underneath the tabs on the ticket so the amount involved is very clear.)
  • Review the transaction details displayed on the screen at the lottery terminal. Video screens showing lottery information are installed by the lottery terminals in nearly all locations that sell lottery tickets. The screen shows the results of a particular transaction, and players can review the information on the screen.
  • Listen for the "You're a winner!" sound from the terminal when a winning ticket is cashed. That audio plays from the terminal each time a winning ticket is cashed. The volume is set by the lottery and retail locations cannot adjust the level.
  • Never pay a fee for cashing a ticket. It is illegal for Iowa Lottery retailers to charge a commission or fee for cashing a winning ticket. If this occurs, contact Lottery Security immediately at 515-725-7900.
  • Only buy lottery tickets from licensed Iowa Lottery retailers. If you are approached by someone offering a "winning ticket" for cash, refuse the offer and contact Lottery Security immediately.

In addition, there are lots of ways that you as a lottery player can check the results of your tickets. We encourage you to use multiple sources of information for verification:

  • Check the information here on the lottery website.
  • Watch the drawings in lotto games on television or online.
  • Call the lottery's Winning Numbers Hotline at 515-323-4633.
  • Ask a retailer to print out a winning numbers report from the lottery terminal.
  • Call one of the lottery's five regional offices around the state for information.
  • Listen to lottery results on local radio stations or check them in your local newspaper

If you ever have a concern about Iowa Lottery products or operations, please call us at 515-725-7900 or e-mail us at