The online lottery has come a long way since its early days. Today, more states are offering the game and more are on the verge of allowing their residents to purchase tickets via the internet. However, not all states are equally enthusiastic. Some claim that the legality of offshore lottery providers is hazy. Ultimately, players must be clear on the rules, regulations, and limitations of the game.
One of the earliest US online lotteries was Minnesota, which began selling tickets in 2006. A few years later, Illinois started a pilot program. Soon after, the state website expanded to include “Daily Lottery Games” and “Instant Games.” In December 2012, Illinois introduced the first online Powerball ticket.
The best online lottery games vary by state. Some have daily drawings, while others offer jackpots. Players can opt for a subscription service, which allows them to buy tickets for every drawing. There are also a few third-party lottery apps on the market. These are a little more expensive, but allow the convenience of buying tickets from a variety of sources.
For the uninitiated, an online lottery is a lottery that is played by a computer. A player enters their payment information and selects numbers on a screen. If the numbers match, the box selected wins the prize. Depending on the game, the prizes range from a few thousand to a few million dollars. Online lotteries are a boon to the average American, as they are convenient and cost-effective.
As of the writing of this article, seven states have online lottery programs. Among those are California, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire have also opted to test the waters.
As with any new technology, there are legal considerations. Most lottery websites will not allow you to purchase tickets online if you are out of the state. However, the Department of Justice issued a clarification in 2011 that opened the door for some states to provide an online option.
One of the most popular online lottery games is the Daily Lottery. Players can choose from a variety of multi-state games, with jackpots as small as $175,000 in some states. Unlike a traditional lottery, the draw takes place on a daily basis, which means there is a smaller pool of jackpots to choose from.
Despite the proliferation of lottery sites, only a handful of states have actually legalized the sale of lottery tickets over the Internet. This is due in part to the Wire Act, which was interpreted to deem the sales of lottery tickets to be illegal.
The Department of Justice did provide some clarity on the Wire Act, which has helped to open the doors for online lottery sales to occur in more states. In addition, the state of Connecticut is renegotiating gaming compacts with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes. Although these tribes have not yet officially signed on, there is an excellent chance they will in the future.
Although not the most recent entrant to the online lottery game, the Washington DC iLottery is in the works. It will launch in February of 2021.