By Randy Ray
Cash4Life is a multi-state lottery drawing game available in 10 US states.
Cash4Life is a daily draw game that offers two annuitized top prizes, dollar amounts paid out daily or weekly “for life.”
Cash4Life’s biggest prizes don’t climb into the billions like you sometimes see with other big multi-state games. There are no lines of cars waiting to buy Cash4Life tickets like you sometimes see with the massive Mega Millions or Powerbal prize values. The cash value of Cash4Life’s two top prizes are humble compared to other multi-state lottery games – $7 million and $1 million. Accordingly, the odds of winning those top prizes are much more to the player’s advantage than the bigger jackpot multi-state draw games.
Each Cash4Life ticket costs $2. In New Jersey, players have the option of paying an extra $1 in hopes of earning a doubled prize. Adding $1 to your bet doesn’t change your overall odds of winning, it just doubles your potential prize amounts.
Cash4Life is popular in the 10 states where in-person and online sales are allowed. Some 92 million adults live in Cash4Life’s various jurisdictions, which makes it competitive with Lucky for Life, America’s other big multi-state game offering “for life” prizes. Lucky for Life is available in more than twice the states where you’ll find Cash4Life, but some of those states (for example Connecticut and Delaware) have relatively small populations overall.
This page contains information about the Cash4Life multi-state lottery draw game. It includes a detailed look at the game’s rules, discusses the basics of how to play, shares information about Cash4Life’s prizes, and talks a little about Cash4Life strategy.
Quick Guide to Cash4Life
Available In: 10 states
Cost: $2 (up to $3 in New Jersey)
Cash4Life Drawings: nightly, at 9 PM Eastern time, broadcast via livestream from New Jersey
Ticket Purchase Schedule: cutoff for nightly draw is 8:45 PM Eastern time
Lowest Prize: $2
Lowest Prize Odds: 1:13
Top Prize: $1,000 a day for life (or $7 million cash option)
Top Prize Odds: 1 in 21.8 million
Odds of Winning Any Prize: 1:7.76
States Where Cash4Life is Sold
Currently, you can buy Cash4Life tickets in the following states:
- New Jersey
- New York
New York and New Jersey were the first two states to run Cash4Life – New Jersey still serves as the flagship state lottery program in support of the game. Within three years, nine states joined the player pool. Missouri is the most recent adopter, switching out its membership in the multi-state game Lucky for Life for participation in Cash4Life as of April of 2021.
In states where Cash4 Life isn’t sold, you can still purchase Cash4Life tickets using a lottery courier service like the Jackpocket app. Jackpocket is the most popular lottery courier service right now. It allows out-of-state lottery ticket purchases. Not every state allows Jackpocket sales of Cash4Life tickets, so check with Jackpocket to see if you’re eligible for a courier purchase.
How to Play Cash4Life
To play Cash4Life, find a Cash4Life retailer, then request a payslip.
The payslip will ask you to pick a total of 6 numbers. Your first 5 numbers must come between 1 and 60. The final ball, known as the Cash Ball, must come between 1 and 4. You’re welcome to choose your own numbers, though Quick Pick is available in all Cash4Life-participating states and lottery programs.
The goal is to match all five white balls and the Cash Ball. Doing so wins the top prize, $1,000 a day for life, or the cash option. If you manage to match all five white balls and miss the Cash Ball, you’ll win the second-largest prize, $1,000 a week for life, which also has a cash-out option available.
In New Jersey, you’ll have the option of adding $1 to your $2 wager for a shot at doubled prizes. I’ll discuss this in more detail in the Cash4Life Prizes section below.
Since drawings take place at 9 PM Eastern every night, ticket sales for each day’s drawing are cut off at 8:45 PM Eastern time. Take note that this means a cutoff time of 7:45 PM in Central time, 6:45 PM in Mountain time, and 5:45 PM on the West coast. Any tickets sold after these times will be participating in the following night’s drawing.
Cash4Life players are hoping for any of nine possible prizes.
Below is a quick guide to each prize amount, how to win it, and other details.
$1,000 a Day for Life
Bettors who match all five white balls plus the Cash Ball automatically win the game’s top base prize, advertised as $1,000/day for life. As of the time of this post, the cash-out value of Cash4Life’s top payout is $7 million. That amount represents just over 19 years of $1,000 daily payments. Bettors who choose the daily payments will earn their money annually in an annuitized payment that’s structured to last at least 20 years.
After taxes, that $7 million prize is worth about $4.9 million in a lump sum. It would take about 13 years to earn that $4.9 million at a rate of $1,000 per day. It seems like the logical thing to do is take the lump sum if you aren’t sure that you’ll be around for 14 more years. Alternatively, I suppose a healthy young person would be smart to take the annual payments, since they technically are meant to last until death.
$1,000 a Week for Life
If you match all the white balls but blow it on the Cash Ball, you’ll still be entitled to a prize of $1,000/week for life, with a cash-out value of $1 million. After taxes, that lump sum payout would be worth around $700,000. At $52,000 a year, it would take you about 13 years to earn that cash-out amount at the annuitized payment rate.
Since that annuity is also guaranteed for at least twenty years, the same gruesome math comes into play when you start to think about whether to take the cash-out or the annuity. If you were a 20-year-old healthy person with decades left on my life expectancy, you might consider the annuity as having more value over time. That’d be like adding $52k to your salary every year for no additional work.
If, on the other hand, you’re a middle-aged guy with chronic health problems, that lump sum could probably do better in the short term.
The game’s other prizes are worth $2,500, $500, $100, $25, $10, $4, and $2.
The odds of winning the $2 minimum prize, equal to the cost of the ticket, are 1 in 13. At the other end of the payout scale, your odds of winning $2,500 on Cash4Life are 1 in 79,440.
The Cash Ball is critical to earning those small sustaining wins. Getting lucky with the Cash Ball and a single white ball will pay you back the cost of your bet – and landing two white balls along with the Cash Ball raises your prize from $4 to $10.
New Jersey’s Doubler NJ Cash4Life Option
Doubler is a new rule set that Cash4Life is rolling out one state at a time, starting in their flagship state of New Jersey.
The New Jersey Doubler gives players the option of paying $1 extra for a chance at a doubled prize pool. That means the game’s minimum payout is now worth $4 – since the Doubler ticket costs $3, this moves the game’s lowest prize from an even money scratch to a positive gain.
Remember, though, that doubling your prize doesn’t affect your odds of winning. In fact, adding $1 to your bets gives the house a slightly bigger advantage. At $3 a ticket, your overall odds of winning any prize shift from 1 in 7.76 to 1 in 8, giving the NJ Lottery an extra quarter-point in advantage against the player.
How to Buy Cash4Life Tickets Online
All state lottery programs offering Cash4Life have online sales programs that include sales of Cash4Life payslips. This makes playing Cash4Life more convenient than driving to a lottery retailer. There’s no difference in buying Cash4Life tickets in person and buying them online, besides the fact that you’ll need to get used to your state lottery program’s interface.
Don’t believe anyone who tells you they have a lottery system that will help you win.
For starters, why would they be giving this top-secret gambling information for free?
Another problem – why aren’t they rich beyond all measure, unimaginably wealthy from consistently beating the state lottery systems?
99% of what you read online in terms of lottery strategy or Cash4Life strategy is garbage.
Here’s a common-sense guide to play Cash4Life from as strategic a perspective as you can.
Start by controlling your spending. Even at $2 a ticket, it’s easy to drain your bankroll or spend more money than you wanted to. The easiest way to manage your spending, and approach Cash4Life strategically, is to determine how much you want to spend on the game each year. That will tell you how many tickets you can afford each week.
Here’s an example:
You might like playing Cash4Life as often as possible, but you don’t want to lose more than $400 a year playing. At $2 a ticket, that means you can comfortably play 200 times a year, and even if you lose on every ticket (unlikely), you’ve stuck to your budget. 200 tickets a year is 3-4 tickets a week, which is plenty of play to satisfy your Cash4Life cravings.
Cash4Life drawings are all independent events, meaning that each drawing is a whole new set of odds, and the numbers drawn in the past have absolutely nothing to do with it. Remember that each ball is just as likely to be drawn by the game’s two drawing machines as any other. Studying past lists of winnings numbers and strategizing your picks makes sense if you enjoy doing it, and if it makes your lottery budget more enjoyable. However, you shouldn’t hunt for hot and cold numbers expecting automatic winnings. Math just doesn’t work that way.
Strategize your Cash4Life play by controlling how much you spend, by checking your tickets the day after the drawing is held, and by avoiding wasting your time chasing “can’t-lose” lottery tactics or buying eBooks promising tricks to help me win more Cash4Life prizes.
Comparing Cash4Life to Lucky for Life
Cash4Life and Lucky for Life cost the same amount to play and offer similar prizes, but the games are different enough to warrant a comparison.
While both games offer two annuitized top prizes, they aren’t quite the same. Cash4Life’s top prizes are “$1,000/day for life” and “$1,000/week for life,” while Lucky for Life offers the “$1,000/day for life” prize and a secondary “$25,000 a year for life.”
It’s also true that the odds of winning prizes on the two games are a little different.
Cash4Life’s overall odds of winning (any prize) are 1 in 7.76. Cash4Life’s top prize is a 1 in 21.8 million affair, with its second prize offering odds of 1 in 7.2 million.
Lucky for Life’s overall odds of winning (any prize) are 1 in 7.8. The odds of winning the top prize in Lucky for Life are 1 in 30.8 million. Its second prize, while not as valuable as Cash4Life’s “$1,000/week for life”, comes in at 1 in 1.8 million odds, far better than the 1 7.2 million odds of taking home Cash4Life’s second-tier annuitized prize.
The difference in odds of winning any prize between the two games is minimal – will players notice a big difference in the overall payout of prizes?
One pays out at 1 in 7.76, the other at 1 in 7.8. It doesn’t seem likely that this is a significant enough difference to drive players to one game over another. Then again, since no state offers both games, there’s no real need to compare them in that sense.