Can You Play the Lottery Online in the USA?
The short answer is yes! You can play online lottery games in the united states. However, there are plenty of state laws which limit the practice. Online lottery is not legal in every US state.
This all started back in 2011. In that year, the US Department of Justice released a legal opinion on the Federal Wire Act. This act heavily restricted online gambling. However, the DOJ’s opinion stated that the act only applied to sports betting. This opened the door for legal lottery sales online in the USA.
Since that time, five US states have legalized lottery sales online. Additionally, a few more states are now considering it.
Pennsylvania Online Lottery
Pennsylvania passed a major online gambling law in the fall of 2017. This law legalized online casinos, online poker, and online lottery in PA. The state officially launched lottery sales online in May 2018.
Pennsylvania does participate in the cross-state Powerball and Mega Millions games. However, neither of these games are available online in PA. Presently, players can only buy instant win games in PA. Instant win games are basically the online version of scratch-offs. Additionally, the PA lottery does offer keno games and virtual sports online.
When PA online lottery was legalized, lawmakers predicted that it would generate $250 in yearly revenue. Most of this would go to support senior citizens in the state. However, the state might see some legal action against its online sales of lottery tickets. Seven of the largest PA casinos have joined forces to sue the state over it. The casinos claim that the PA iLottery takes some of their revenue. The casinos say it’s too similar to online slot machines.
Michigan Online Lottery
Michigan launched its online lottery in late 2014. This was done after a successful pilot program. Initially, the state only allowed online sales of Instant Keno and scratch-off style games.
However, by 2016, the state had legalized more lottery games. Players can now buy Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto 47, and Fantasy 5 online.
Presently, the Michigan lottery online program is seen as a success. A recent report from the Lottery Consultant Digital Gaming Group shows that it grew very quickly. Michigan was already making $8 million a week from its lottery sales online by March 2016.
Georgia Online Lottery
Georgia was one of the earliest states to launch lottery ticket sales online. It launched in the fall of 2012. This is now controlled by the state-run Georgia Lottery Corporation.
Presently, players in Georgia can buy Fantasy 5, Mega Millions, and Powerball tickets online. Additionally, Keno games are available too. The Georgia Lottery also offers exclusive games known as Diggi Games. These games are unique to the Georgia Lottery. They are highly interactive and combine social games with online lottery scratch-offs.
Today, Georgia’s online lottery is one of the most profitable in the entire USA.
Illinois Online Lottery
Illinois was actually the first US state to launch legal online lottery games. It began with a pilot program in the spring of 2012. During that time, only Lotto and Mega Millions tickets were sold online.
Shortly after that, Illinois added Powerball to its online sales. Additionally, Illinois added Daily Lottery Games and Instant Games over the following months.
The Illinois Lottery reported $36.9 million in total online ticket sales in March 2016. That’s after just two years of operation.
However, there was a risk that this successful program might die. The initial legislation stated that the program would end if lawmakers did not pass additional laws. The bill passed in 2012 was only supposed to be temporary.
Ultimately, the Illinois lottery online sales program stayed operational. That’s despite the fact that lawmakers didn’t pass new legislation. Illinois Lottery Communications Director Steve Rossi took charge. He stated that lottery ticket sales online would remain legal under the current law.
New Hampshire Online Lottery
New Hampshire legalized its online lottery in the summer of 2017. The governor fully authorized it after signing a bill in July of that year. It was officially launched by September 2017.
New Hampshire’s online lottery is run by NeoPollard Interactive. Today, players can buy instant win games, draw games, Mega Millions, and Powerball tickets online in NH.
Kentucky had a long road to legalizing lottery sales online. The state actually legalized it back in 2013. However, it took more than three years for Kentucky to fully launch lottery sales online.
Kentucky has some of the strictest online lottery laws in the entire USA. These laws are in place to prevent money laundering and fraud. Consequently, players in Kentucky cannot withdraw any money they deposit into their online lottery account. Prize money can still be withdrawn.
Kentucky hoped that lottery sales online would attract more young players to the game. The state also believed that selling lottery tickets online would help increase overall sales. Presently, it seems like both predictions have come true.
Kentucky currently sells jackpot, daily draw, and instant play tickets online.
Minnesota was not the first US state to launch online lottery games. However, it was the first state to offer online sales of instant win (scratch-off) tickets. The state also offers Mega Millions, Hot Lotto, Gopher 5, and Powerball games.
Minnesota’s online lottery program first launched in early 2014. Surprisingly, it was launched without any legislative approval. No bills were passed to explicitly legalize it. Consequently, it soon came under intense scrutiny. Ultimately, Minnesota lawmakers made lottery sales online illegal in May 2015.
Presently, selling lottery tickets online is still illegal in Minnesota.