Though some states differ on the dollar amounts, lottery winnings in excess of $600 must be claimed from an official, state-operated lottery office by presenting the appropriate forms and the original winning ticket. Smaller winnings can be claimed anywhere lottery tickets are sold.
Certain games may also have different rules applied to them when it comes to how much can be claimed at a retail location versus what can be claimed at a lottery office. Further, some states allow winners to claim their prize by mailing in the claim form and the original ticket. Of course, few large jackpot winners even consider leaving such a thing up to the post office to complete. In a few areas, it is possible to claim winnings electronically, though this is widely eschewed due to the potential for fraud. It's important to remember that, other than those games exclusive to a single state, many lottery programs are offered in every state that maintains a lottery program. This has the potential to cause potential jackpot amounts to skyrocket quite quickly, and often drives an increase in ticket sales, causing a snowball effect which has been known to produce remarkable jackpot totals in relatively short periods of time.