Lottery vs Raffle

lottery vs raffle logo

You might be scratching your head and thinking: lottery vs. raffle, what’s the difference? They both sound like you’re winning something, right? This is completely true. So how can we distinguish a lottery from a raffle draw? Read on to learn more.

In short, the main differences between a lottery and a raffle are that winners are only guaranteed for a raffle draw but not for a lottery draw, as players may leave empty-handed, and another is the freedom to choose numbers is granted for lotteries but not raffles.


The Lottery vs Raffle – How do they differ?

Though they may seem similar in the way that winners are chosen randomly, there are key factors that make them stand out from the others. Here are some of these main factors you should take note of:

Ticket Numbers

All of the possible winning numbers are picked at random before the drawing in a raffle ticket. Half of the winning numbers are chosen at random in a lottery, and the other half are given out based on past performance.

Unlike a lottery, a raffle ticket doesn’t come with the luxury of choosing numbers, as these numbers are already pre-printed or selected for you, essentially. Lottery players have all the freedom to choose their digits as they please.


There will always be something to win for every raffle ticket you purchase, as all the winners will be announced until every participant gets their beloved prize.

On the other hand, lotto games don’t always give out prizes to their players, as some may leave with a jackpot, a lower prize-tier amount, or nothing at all.

However, every winner of both lotteries and raffles is randomly selected, so everyone has an equal shot at winning to begin with.

Certain Prize Date

el gordo de la primitiva raffleAs some of you may already know, lottery draw dates occur over regular intervals, whether it be twice a week at a specified time (E.g., On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 pm) or on special occasions such as New Year’s Day (January 1st) or Christmas day, like El Gordo de Navidad (December 23th).

For lotteries, it is possible for the winning ticket number not to be won by any players who have bought tickets. So, this amount will be carried over to the next draw date until a winner claims their glorious prize.

Raffles are a little different than that. A raffle draw typically occurs during fundraising events or any other special occasion that deems appropriate. An official of the raffle will announce all raffle winners until all the prizes have been distributed to the participants of the event.

Tax Regulations

As the law-abiding citizen, you are, you must know taxing requirements and laws in both raffles and lotteries. But of course, this depends on where you live.

For example, winnings from lotteries don’t get taxed in Canada as they are considered windfalls, but not for the US Lotteies.

The withholding and filing requirements for both lottos and raffles apply if :

  • The amount you earn surpasses $5000
  • The winning amount is more than $600
  • The prize amount is 300 times more than the ticket price (minus the ticket cost)

Otherwise, you can take a breather from not having to file any taxes from your hard-earned prize. Read more detailed info about lottery taxes here.

Methods to Play Lotteries and Raffles

Playing Raffles

Like the lottery, players can partake in the game by purchasing a ticket with pre-printed digits. Every ticket purchased corresponds to certain prizes that have been pre-set, such as cash prizes, as the common reward.

This is pretty popular for fundraising events in non-profit organizations to incentivize donors to participate in the event itself. All prize draws are done by an official in charge until every winning ticket gets their assigned rewards.

Playing Lotteries

lottery vs raffleIf you’ve heard the names Powerball or German Lotto 6/49, then there’s a good chance those are lotteries. To play, participants get to choose their numbers, and how many digits they should choose will vary based on the specific game they’re playing.

However, if players decide to let computers choose the numbers for them, then that’s also possible with an option to select a digit combination at random, similar to raffles, in this case.

To know whether you’ve won or not, you can either watch the live broadcast or check the results online on the lottery game’s official website.

In order to win big, players have to get the digit combinations just as the results draw; otherwise, they either get a lower prize tier or nothing at all.

Differentiating a Lottery from a Raffle

Really though, to keep it simple: a lottery involves a chance, a raffle involves a ticket. That’s about all there is to it.

A slight rule for the raffle is that you can purchase as many tickets, but with a lottery, you will only buy the amount stated on the entry form. Some taxes apply to lotteries and raffles, but this may vary from one country to another, so doing your due diligence is necessary.

Ami Gill
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    I was born and raised in India. I have a BA in Journalism and know how to write and edit like a pro! My work has been published in magazines, news outlets, and nonprofits. I love lotteries and write researched and high-expert articles.