Did you know that you can now engage with the world’s biggest lotteries online? This includes both US lotteries and lotteries from overseas. However, not all states in the US have made such offerings legal. The information below will highlight which states have, what their offerings are, and how you can get started. So without further ado, let’s dive right in to understand the US lottery a little better.
Can you buy lottery tickets online?
- 1 Can you buy lottery tickets online?
- 2 US lotteries – which states are online?
- 3 FAQS
The short answer to this question is a resounding yes. It is perfectly legal and pretty easy to buy online lottery tickets in the US. But there is a catch – you have to be based in a state where this activity has been legalized. To clear up any doubts, not all states have chosen to legalize this activity. And there are many states where you must still purchase lottery tickets in person. But for those where you can buy online, you must still open an online account through a verified provider.
Once this is done, you can then purchase tickets as frequently as you like, providing that you meet the conditions outlined for that state. In most cases, you need to be over the age of 18 and based in a state that has legalized online lottery play. As and when you register for your online account, you will need to provide details of this.
Those details need to be verified before you can enjoy unrestricted access to lottery play, and any other online games that your chosen site might provide. In short, can you buy lottery tickets online? Yes, you can, just need to have a verified account.
US lotteries – which states are online?
Now we’d like to get down to brass tacks. Instead of giving you an overview of how lottery gaming works and what the restrictions are, we’d like to highlight the states where online lottery play is currently legal. Of course, we will be discussing what each state has to offer too. All of this is covered below, so read on for full details:
Georgia was just behind Illinois when it came to the launch of online lottery gaming. This launched late in 2012, and tickets for multiple draws were instantly available. In terms of the more popular draws, there were tickets available for Powerball, Mega Millions, Fantasy 5, and others. These days, you’ve got all of the original draw games and more. Players can experiment with second-chance games, keno, and something known as ‘Diggi games’. These are a nice selection of bingo and even crossword-style games – certainly pretty unique!
The site might not have any form of welcome bonus on the cards for new customers, but there is a loyalty scheme in place. So if you plan on playing regularly on the Georgia lottery site, you will be rewarded with a variety of prizes!
Second, on our list of states that have a licensed US lottery online – we have Illinois. This state might be second on our list, but it was also the first state to offer online lottery gaming, period. This occurred back in 2012, and the first lottery that Illinois linked up with was Powerball. As the months rolled by, Illinois started to implement daily draw games and instant games. Within the first two years of Illinois offering online lottery ticket sales, the site took in almost $37 million in revenue.
And since this is a state-funded venture, most of the proceeds have gone to important projects all over the state. To this day, online lottery play is still going strong in Illinois, and you can purchase tickets for a bunch of different lotteries. This includes Mega Millions, Lucky Day Lotto, and various Lotto draws. You can open an account at this site within a matter of minutes too, assuming you are based in Illinois.
Kentucky is an interesting one. The sale of online lottery tickets was actually approved all the way back in 2013. However, the first sales were not completed until 2016, mainly because there were a few legislative speed bumps and disagreements, shall we say? Basically, the people in charge of coming up with the eCommerce site made things immensely complicated, more than it needed to be in all honesty. And that’s why it took more than 3 years to create the site and get it running smoothly.
But today, Kentucky really does have one of the top lottery sites. You can purchase tickets for Mega Millions, Lucky For Life, Powerball, Cash Ball, as well as Pick 3 and Pick 4 lotteries too. The site even has a range of draw games, instant play, and scratch-offs. All of these are available to you once you have opened a new account.
Michigan has had a legal and operational online lottery site since 2014. But when the site first launched, the only games available were scratch-offs and a bunch of instant-play keno games. Fast forward to 2016, the site started to roll out lottery ticket sales for draws such as Lotto, Powerball, and Mega Millions. Today, the site actually hosts several hundred games for members to enjoy. This includes various lottery draws, keno, second chance, fast cash, pull tab, and many others. The site is also one of the few to serve up a number of promotions too.
This range includes bonuses such as 10 free online games for new players, as well as monthly giveaways and daily wheel spins. If you are to open an account at this site, much like the others, you need to be 18+ and a resident of Michigan state.
North Carolina does have an online lottery, although this isn’t as well-publicized as some of the other states. Residents of NC have been able to purchase tickets for various online lottery draws since 2013. And like all other states, you must be a resident of this state and be over the age of 18 to participate. As for the lotteries themselves, you’ve got options such as Carolina Cash 5, Powerball, Mega Millions, and Lucky For Life. This site is also somewhat unique as you will earn loyalty rewards each time you play any of these lotteries.
Build up enough points and you will then be able to exchange them for free play games or cash, in some instances. For new customers, there is a $5 bonus on the table once you’ve deposited a minimum value of $10. You don’t need to worry about any kind of promo codes to secure this bonus either.
New Hampshire joined the number of legal lottery sites back in 2017 when it started letting residents purchase tickets instantly through its platform. Powerball, Mega Millions, and Gimme 5 were immediately available. These tickets can still be picked up for a few dollars on the site, but the platform has expanded in a big way since those early days. Today, you can enjoy a range of scratch-offs, keno, and others. And if you do not yet hold an account with the New Hampshire lottery site, you can grab a $200 bonus through the 100% first deposit match.
Like the other sites, you can view your tickets through the built-in scanning system on the website. Some of the games that are separate from lottery draws have jackpot prizes of up to $100,000 too, which is seriously impressive.
The North Dakota lottery site might not be as extensive as others, but it still provides a one-stop shop for lottery gamers. The site can be accessed through both desktop and mobile devices, and tickets can be purchased instantly. The platform has been live for a number of years now, and most of the revenue has come from draws such as Powerball and Mega Millions. However, other lotteries like 2by2, Lotto America, and Lucky For Life have also become available in recent years.
There is also a ‘players club’ that you can opt-in to. This is effectively a loyalty scheme where you will start to pick up points and prizes the more you play. All of this can be accessed through the North Dakota lottery app too, which is currently available on Android and iOS.
Playing online lotteries in Pennsylvania was legalized in 2017, although the site didn’t go fully live until the following year. These days, the site lets members purchase tickets for draws including Mega Millions, Powerball, Cash4Life, Wild Ball, Pick 2, Pick 3, Pick 4, and many others. But in an attempt to diversify the offerings, the Pennsylvania lottery site also has other games for members to play.
Browse through the site and you’ll discover gaming options for keno, scratch-offs, fast play, and there is even an Xpress sports product – effective virtual sports betting. As a new customer, you can bag a 100% first deposit match of up to $500. This is one of the largest welcome bonuses you will find on any lottery gaming site.
Rhode Island has actually enjoyed an in-state lottery since 1974, making it one of the longest-running state lotteries. But in terms of online lottery sales, these didn’t start to occur until a few years ago. This is in line with the launch of online lotteries in other states too, although Rhode Island didn’t launch a desktop and mobile offering at the same time. The desktop site went live in 2015, whereas the mobile app didn’t launch until 2018. As for the current offerings, you’ve got keno, bingo, scratch-offs, and multiple lottery draws including Mega Millions and Powerball.
There is even a VIP club that you can opt-in for, and several other promotions open to existing players. Of course, once you’ve registered for a new account, all of this is at your fingertips.
Virginia has enjoyed a running in-state lottery since 1987. However, due to various restrictions concerning laws related to any gambling activities, the online lottery experience didn’t arrive until many years later. But these days, after registering with this site you can grab tickets for draws including Cash4Life, Powerball, and Mega Millions. There are also a bunch of keno and scratch-off games on the site, which adds a nice bit of diversity to the offerings overall. As for promotions, the Virginia lottery site isn’t doing too badly.
Brand new customers can make the most of a 50% first deposit match of up to $100 in cash. And beyond this, you can also grab 10 free games for your chosen scratch cards, and pop-up bonuses do tend to be offered at certain times. Of course, you must be a resident in this state and be over the age of 18 before any of this is accessible.
Last but not least, we have the Washington DC lottery site. Amazingly, this site didn’t go live until February 2021, despite the fact that an in-state lottery had been ongoing since 1982. Games such as Hot Lotto, Lucky For Life, Mega Millions, and Powerball are all listed here, but scratch-off and keno games have also started to appear in recent times. In terms of incentives for new customers, there isn’t any exact welcome bonus. However, the site does have bi-weekly competitions and free scratch-offs for those that satisfy certain conditions.
So all in all, we’d say that this is a pretty enticing site! Most of this is available through a dedicated Android and iOS app too. So now, you can take all of this action with you where you go.
Types of Online Lottery Games
You’ve probably noticed a trend from the information given above. While these are technically ‘lottery sites’, they do offer far more than just access to lottery draws. In fact, some of the more advanced lottery sites have hundreds of games for you to browse through and enjoy. We’d like to spend a short while explaining the various games right now:
Draw games are the main form of entertainment on many lottery sites. As indicated by the name, these games are dictated by a ‘draw’ in which numbers are selected from a certain range. Of course, this is how lottery games work, so options such as Powerball and Mega Millions definitely fall under the category of draw games. These games tend to have different prices for entry tickets, as well as different cash rewards depending on how many numbers are drawn in your favor.
If you get every single number correct, you will win the jackpot, which is often pretty considerable for a number of the online lotteries supported.
Again, as the description of this gaming variety suggests, instant win games provide you with an opportunity to win – or at least find out if you have won, instantly. Most of the time, this category relates to scratch-offs. And the reason that they are listed as ‘instant win’ is that you can tap a button that reveals all of the numbers/images that determine whether prizes are won for that particular game. This is different from having to physically scratch off the numbers yourself.
In terms of the variety of these kinds of games, you can be looking at ticket prices between $.05 all the way to $30. And naturally, the cash prizes associated with these games tend to increase as the ticket price rises.
Keno is essentially a bit of a hybrid game between bingo and lottery-style draws. Basically, you pick a series of numbers in keno, and as these numbers are drawn, you will know if you’ve won a cash prize or not. You can choose to pick your own numbers, or you can have them selected for you through the built-in software at lottery sites. This is a quick-fire way to have plenty of fun, and some keno games even let you watch the draw being done. This isn’t quite as common as RNG keno, but if available, we would definitely recommend it!
As for the costs of playing keno, it isn’t very much to be perfectly honest. You can participate in a game for just a few cents at most sites. But by nature, if you spend a little more to cover multiple numbers and lines, your chances of winning are (theoretically) increased. Then again, nothing is guaranteed.
The name of this kind of lottery game is no accident. Since all US lotteries are drawn on different days and times of the week, it can be easy to miss the deadline for purchasing a ticket. However, if you set up a subscription service for these lotteries, you will never miss the deadline. This is essentially a direct debit kind of service where tickets are purchased automatically. You can set up subscription services for most major lotteries including Powerball and Mega Millions. And of course, you can then cancel your subscription service at any time you like.
It is completely up to you. Although on a side note, you must make sure you have enough funds in your account to cover the cost of the tickets!
How does a subscription-based US lottery work?
Subscription-based lotteries work as an automatic purchase, set up by yourself at one of the supported lottery sites. You can enroll and set up these subscription purchases whenever you like, and it ensures that you won’t forget to buy tickets! This happens more frequently than you might imagine. To set up one of these subscription services, you must ensure that adequate funds are in your account.
Once you’ve put the necessary measures in place, tickets will be purchased automatically for your chosen lottery draws. Of course, you can then check whether you have struck lucky in any of the draws by checking your account. And if you decide that you don’t want to participate in these subscription lotteries anymore, you can simply cancel the direct debit. It really is that easy.
What are the odds of winning the lottery?
It goes without saying that your odds of winning the lottery are pretty slim. After all, if this wasn’t the case, you’d see multi-millionaires walking around all over the place! With that said, the specific odds of winning the lottery depend on which lottery you choose to play. For example, the Powerball lottery has odds of winning set at 1 in 292.2 million. If you choose to play Mega Millions, however, the odds change to 1 in 302.6 million. Needless to say, the odds of winning aren’t very high in either scenario.
So why do people play? Well, if there is a chance, however small, somebody has to win them! And as the old saying goes, if you don’t purchase a ticket, you won’t win the raffle.
What should I do if I win the lottery?
The first thing you should do is to keep the news to yourself. This may sound a little extreme, but once you win the lottery, you now hold something incredibly valuable in your possession – a winning ticket. Of course, there are bad people in this world, and sadly, lottery winners can be targeted since they now hold such huge sums of money! So, that’s step number one! Step number two is to seek financial assistance from a professional accountant before you cash in the winnings.
These guys can advise you on whether to take the winnings as a lump sum or as an annuity payment, and they can also help you set up a vehicle to receive the funds in the most tax-efficient manner. Thirdly, don’t spend all of your winnings at once! Think about the future and plan accordingly.
Do I have to pay taxes on my lottery winnings?
If you are fortunate enough to win the lottery in the USA, unfortunately, this goes down as taxable income. This is quite different from other countries such as the UK, where gambling winnings aren’t actually taxed whatsoever. Of course, this then means you have to pay a standard federal tax, as well as a state tax depending on where you are living. This is also why we would advise you to visit a professional accountant or financial adviser to make the most intelligent moves!