Back in late 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice had to decide whether US online lottery sites contravened the Federal Wire Act. They concluded that the act only applied to sports betting. This meant that individual states could operate lotteries online.
The growth of US online lotteries has not been as rapid as the proliferation of online sports betting in the wake of the PASPA reversal. However, several states now legally offer a variety of lottery games online.
Current US Online Lottery Offers
Michigan and Pennsylvania are just two states that offer US online lottery games. Pennsylvania Lottery made its first lottery games available online on May 29, 2018. The site offers a variety of US online lottery games including Keno, virtual sports, and instant-win games. Pennsylvanians can also participate in major lotteries such as Powerball and Mega Millions.
The Michigan Lottery launched its online platform back in 2014. This US online lottery site features a variety of games like Keno and instant win games too. Other major lotteries offered on their site include Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto 47, and Fantasy 5.
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For those who are wondering if taking lottery games online has been successful, we can turn to the state of Virginia for some insight. Within a year of launching their platform, Virginia iLottery topped $807 million in sales. That accounts for roughly 25% of all lottery sales in the state. This resulted in more than $90 million being pumped into public education.Jump to
How Does the Lottery Work?
Lotteries have been around for over 2,000 years. Governments have traditionally operated lotteries to help fund various projects including education and infrastructure. Many historians believe that the Chinese used the lottery to help finance the construction of the Great Wall of China.
When we think about the lottery, we tend to think about selecting a few numbers and hoping that they are picked in a random draw. While that’s a fairly accurate assessment, there are other US online lottery games available to play. Here are the three main types of US online lottery games.
Keno is one of the oldest lottery games on the planet. With this game, players select between one and 20 numbers ranging between one and 80. Then there is a draw in which 20 numbered balls are randomly selected.
While payouts may vary depending on the operator, the amount you stand to win depends on how many numbers you wagered on and how many of those numbers were drawn. As a point of interest, the odds of nailing all 20 numbers correctly are 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,174,320. One of the biggest differences between Keno and other draw games like 6/49 is that most US online lottery sites hold Keno draws every few minutes.
Draw games are what most people think of when they discuss the lottery. Draw games typically have a variety of prize levels as well as progressive jackpots which continue to grow until they are won.
To play a draw game, you can either pick your own numbers or have them randomly generated. The lottery operator will then hold a draw. The more numbers you match, the bigger the prize. While the odds certainly are not in the player’s favor, winning a jackpot will almost always result in a multi-million dollar cash prize. That’s what gives US online lottery draw games such massive appeal.
Scratch Off Games
Scratch off games are perhaps the most popular instant win games at US online lottery sites. With these games, you get a ticket that usually has a latex-like substance covering the playing surface. You scratch off the playing area to find out if you’ve won a prize. Well, online scratchers are exactly the same, but they don’t create such a mess because you’re scratching them on a screen.
Scratchers generally have several levels of prizes often ranging from a free ticket to a cash prize worth thousands of dollars or more.
Online Lottery in the United States – State-by-State
As it stands, online lotteries are offered in several US states. Here are US state lotteries, which are or were offering any online options.
Online Lottery Availability
- Pennsylvania Lottery: Lottery operated by Pennsylvania Lottery. The site offers a variety of games including scratch cards and draw games such as Powerball Mega Millions, and Cash4Life.
- Michigan Lottery: Lottery operated by Michigan lottery. Features a wide range of games, raffles, and major lotteries like Powerball and Lotto47.
- Virginia Lottery: Play your favorite lottery games online at the Virginia Lottery website. They have a variety of instant wins, Keno, and other draw games in addition to Powerball and Mega Millions.
- Georgia Lottery: Operated by the Georgia Lottery Corporation, Georgia Lottery has a good selection of instant wins and daily draw games.
- Minnesota Lottery: Minnesota once offered lottery ticket sales online, but they stopped in 2015.
- Illinois Lottery: Illinois Lottery has been operated by Camelot Illinois since 2018. The online platform has scratch cards and several lotteries including Mega Millions and Powerball.
- Kentucky Lottery: Operated by the Kentucky Lottery Corporation, Kentucky Lottery’s online venue offers a full spectrum of games ranging from Keno and multi-jurisdictional lotteries to scratchers and other instant-win games.
- Washington Lottery: The Washington Lottery is overseen by Washington’s Lottery. You can play a variety of instant-win games and draw games including Powerball and Mega Millions.
- New Hampshire Lottery: New Hampshire’s online lottery platform is operated by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission and features a vast selection of instant-win games, draw games and even sports betting.
- North Dakota: North Dakota Lottery runs an online platform that offers an array of instant-win games as well as Lucky for Life, Mega Millions, and Lotto America.
- Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Lottery site is one of the more interesting ones. You’ll find scratch cards, major lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions, Keno draws every 4 minutes, and Bingo games starting every 8 minutes.
- North Carolina: The North Carolina Lottery website covers major multi-jurisdictional lotteries, state lotteries, and an array of scratchers, Bingo, and Keno.
- Washington, DC: DC Lottery’s website serves up a nice selection of instant-win games, Keno, and several lotteries including Powerball, Mega Millions, and Lucky for Life.
- Texas: Texas has state lotteries, but you must purchase your tickets at retail outlets. However, there are a couple of high-profile apps that Texans may use to purchase tickets and play lottery games.
Online Lotteries Coming Soon!
All State Lotteries Comparison
Let’s see an all state lotteries comparison between Online Lottery, Instant Win, Keno, and Draw games.
|State||Online Lottery||Instant Win||Keno||Draw Games|
Michigan Lottery officially launched its online product in 2014. You can go to their website, open an account, and start playing a wide range of lottery games. You can even claim a welcome bonus. If you win $600 or less, the winnings are automatically credited to your account. You must submit an online claim for anything over $600.
The Michigan Lottery is governed by the Michigan Bureau of State Lottery. It’s estimated that about 97 cents of each dollar people spend on Michigan Lottery games is returned to the state in the form of prizes and contributions to such entities as the School Aid Fund.
Pennsylvania’s gambling laws were amended in 2017 to coincide with the launch of online casinos and sports betting sites. Pennsylvania Lottery launched the online platform in 2018. Lawmakers anticipate that the lottery will put about $250 million into the state’s coffers to help seniors.
Those who are over the age of 18 can sign up with Pennsylvania Lottery, claim a welcome bonus, and start having fun. Pennsylvania Lottery supports a variety of convenient and secure payment options.
Georgia is one of the few states to allow online lottery games. In addition to lotteries, Keno, and a variety of instant-win games, the Georgia Lottery Corporation also offers a few games exclusively on the internet and mobile devices.
To play at Georgia Lottery online, players must be at least 18 and physically located in Georgia. Cash prizes of $5,000 or lower will have their accounts automatically credited with their winnings. For anything bigger than $5,000, winners must present themselves to a Georgia Lottery office to claim their prize.
Illinois became the first state to offer an online lottery platform when it started selling lottery tickets online in 2012. They now offer a full complement of major lotteries, instant-win games, and much more. The launch of the Illinois Lottery online was a success as it sold nearly $37 million worth of tickets in its first two years of operation.
It is estimated that 25% of the Illinois Lottery’s total revenues are used for funding the state’s infrastructure, education, healthcare, and other projects. Illinois Lottery is operated by UK-based Camelot Group.
The New Hampshire Lottery Commission launched its online platform in 2017. The site, which is operated by NeoPollard Interactive, covers a wide range of state and inter-jurisdictional lottery games such as Powerball and Mega Millions.
The New Hampshire Lottery generated approximately $332 million through 2018. This includes retail sales as well as online. Much of that money went into public education. Winnings of $9,999 or less will automatically be credited to your account. Anything in excess of $10,000 must be claimed at New Hampshire Lottery headquarters or through the mail.
Kentucky Lottery’s online platform launched in 2016. The site now features an assortment of jackpots, daily draws, instant-wins, and major lotteries. The Kentucky Lottery had a spectacular 2016-17 fiscal year. Ticket sales reportedly eclipsed the $1 billion mark. That added up to about $250 million for college scholarships, grants, educational programs, and other important projects.
Any winnings up to $600 are automatically credited to your Kentucky Lottery account. Just be aware that accounts are limited to having $5,000 in them. Winnings that exceed that amount must be claimed at a Kentucky Lottery Corporation office.
Minnesota does not currently offer online lottery sales, but it used to. In fact, the Minnesota Lottery was the first site to offer instant-win games. Unfortunately, Minnesota lawmakers decided to prohibit online lottery games in 2015. However, those in Minnesota can still play US online lottery games using the Jackpocket app. Jackpocket is a third-party lottery app that is approved by the federal government.
Any winnings up to $600 go directly into your Jackpocket account. Anything over that amount can be cashed out using an electronic bank transfer.
Since it was established in 2005, the North Carolina Educational Lottery has raised over $5.5 billion for the state’s educational system which now receives around 30% of the revenues. In addition to in-state lotteries, Bingo, Keno, and instant-win games, the NCEL also features Powerball, Mega Millions, and Lucky for Life.
The Virginia Lottery has paid out over $12.4 billion since it was established in 1987. Virginia Lottery hopes that the launch of its online lottery platform in 2020 will increase sales. The site features loads of instant-win games, lotteries, Keno, and even blackjack.
You can sign up, deposit, and claim a welcome bonus. Note that you must be at least 18 and within Virginia’s state lines to play US online lottery games on the site.
The North Dakota Lottery has only been around since 2004. The state is one of the few that offers lottery games online. While the site offers a variety of draw games and multi-state lotteries like Lucky for Life, Powerball, and Mega Millions, you won’t find scratchers, Keno, or any other in-house games there.
Launched in February 2021, the DC Lottery online platform is one of the most recent to go live. The site boasts a deep selection of in-house games, scratchers, Tap-n-Play, and several lotteries including Powerball and Mega Millions. You must be at least 18 and within D.C’s borders to play DC Lottery games.
Rhode Island Lottery, also known as The Lot, has been around since 1974. However, while you can play instant win games, Keno, and even Bingo online, you cannot purchase lottery tickets online. You can still buy Powerball, Mega Millions, and other lottery tickets in the state, but you can only get them at retail outlets.
Maine is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association which means they offer tickets for lotteries such as Powerball and Megabucks Plus. While Maine Lottery does not yet have an online platform, you can still play a range of draw games and instant win games at retail outlets.
You’d think that the New York Lottery would have an online platform, but you’d be wrong. While they do offer a range of instant-win games and draw games, you can only purchase tickets at retail outlets.
Texas has lotteries and lottery games, but players must purchase tickets at retail outlets. However, there are a couple of apps that Texans can get that allow them to participate in online lotteries. Some of these include the official Texas Lottery App, the new app called Jackpocket, and others.
Most US online lottery providers offer mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. This makes it possible to play lottery games and cash out your winnings while you’re on the go. These apps are generally available right on the lottery corporation’s website. Below are the states that offer the lottery online along with information about where to get their apps.
- Pennsylvania: Android and iOS apps available for download at Pennsylvania Lottery’s website.
- Michigan: Android and iOS apps available for download at Michigan Lottery’s website.
- Georgia: Android and iOS apps available for download at Georgia Lottery’s website.
- Illinois: Android and iOS apps available for download at Illinois Lottery’s website.
- Kentucky: Android and iOS apps available for download at Kentucky Lottery’s website.
- Washington: Android and iOS apps available for download at the Washington State Lottery website.
- New Hampshire: The Android app is available through Google Play while the iOS is available for download at a variety of third-party sites including Jackpocket.
- North Dakota: Android and iOS apps available for download at the North Dakota Lottery website.
- Rhode Island: Android and iOS apps available for download at the Rhode Island Lottery website.
- Virginia: Android and iOS apps available for download at the Virginia Lottery website.
- Washington, D.C.: The Android app is available through Google Play while the iOS is available for download at the App Store.
- North Carolina: Android users can get the app at the North Carolina Lottery site. You can find the iOS app at the App Store.
How Can I Play Lottery Games?
Playing US online lottery games is simple. For draw games, it’s usually just a matter of picking your lucky numbers and hoping that those numbers are drawn. Instant win games typically require you to scratch the playing surface to reveal your potential prize. You’ll find that most sites have tutorials and instructions for each game on offer.
How Do I Collect My Winnings?
In most cases, winnings go directly into your US online lottery account. However, those who win larger amounts may have to claim their prize at the lottery operator’s headquarters.
Of course, some lottery winners would like to stay anonymous. However, that is not always an option as various jurisdictions have different policies when it comes to this matter. Check the official state lottery website for more information on specifics related to collecting winnings, as they may differ from one state to another.
More Facts about US Online Lotteries
In the beginning, when the online lottery platforms were first launched, they featured only a few types of games. Now that number is much bigger, and it continues to grow constantly because the principal aim of the online lottery operators is to keep their clients satisfied.
Many online lottery platforms offer enticing bonuses for new customers. The bonuses can also be an important factor while you are choosing your favorite site. Make sure to check all the current offers on the market and then choose the one that suits your gaming style best.
Not always. Most states with online lotteries have mobile platforms that merely require a mobile browser.
Winners are usually given a choice of taking a single lump-sum payment or collecting their winnings in installments.
It depends on where you live. While most states tax lottery winnings, a few don’t. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the tax laws in your state.
The largest Powerball jackpot reached a whopping $1.586 billion in 2016. In 2018, a Mega Millions jackpot was worth $1.537 billion.
No. Some of the states that do not have lotteries are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, and Nevada.