The lottery is very much a shot in the dark gamble – massive odds against but for a $2 outlay you have the dream of picking up that huge win.
Many states have moved toward online lottery ticket purchasing since the Justice Department ruled in 2011 the Wire Act only applied only to Sports Betting.
Several states have established lottery websites that don’t just sell tickets online, they also offer instant win games with prizes up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The attraction is playing the lottery from the comfort of your own home – so long as you live in state offering the service!
While not all states have gone down the online lottery route, interest is growing as each state sees the benefits: more ticket sales, more revenue and reducing the need to raise local taxes.
Illinois was the first state to sell online lottery tickets and, in one week alone, saw more than $425,000 in ticket sales.
Around 20 states have approved online ticket sales, subscriptions and online scratch card-style games. The subscription service is ideal for those that choose the same numbers for every draw. Along with the individual state lotteries you will also be able to play Powerball and Mega Millions from your laptop.
Among the states offering a range of online lottery services are Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire, Georgia, North Carolina and North Dakota.
Minnesota offered online lottery services but withdrew them after state legislature voted it down. States that still prohibit lottery play are Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, Alabama, Mississippi and Utah. Residents must go to a neighbouring state to purchase tickets.
US Lottery Betting
Lotteries in America date back centuries and were originally seen as an ideal way to raise funds to help build the infrastructure of the original United States.
Today they are run in 44 states and the District of Columbia, along with US territories Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Despite there being no official national lottery organization, states can combine to promote games offering bigger jackpots.
There are two lottery games, Powerball and Mega Millions, that are available in nearly all states that run their own lottery – both are unofficial national lotteries.
Lottery History and Biggest Winnings
Lotteries have been around since the original 13 colonies were founded, operating on the east coast of America in the 17th and 18th centuries. They were used as a method of funding the development of the colonies: paying for schools, roads, bridges and other public works.
Evangelical reformers denounced lotteries in the mid-19th century on moral grounds and by 1890 only Delaware and Louisiana still ran them.
The first modern lottery was in Puerto Rico in 1934 and on the mainland, New Hampshire created their own in 1964. It was based around the New Hampshire Sweepstakes Classic run at Rockingham Park in Salem, the ‘winners’ each with a horse in the race.
The entry was $3 with a first prize of $100,000.
The lotteries developed throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s with the first multi-state lottery game formed in 1985 in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.
The largest lottery win was the $1.59bn Powerball jackpot in January 2016. There were three winning tickets and, after federal taxation, each winner collected $328m. The winners were from Florida, California and Tennessee.
For Powerball you select five white numbers from 1 to 69, and a bonus red number from 1 to 26. For Mega Millions it is five numbers from 1 to 70 and bonus number from 1 to 25. Jackpots start at $40m and winners can take a lump sum payment or choose to have it paid out in instalments over a number of years.
The largest single ticket winner was the $1.54bn Mega Millions jackpot in October 2018, the winning ticket holder from South Carolina taking home $877.8m. The winner chose to remain anonymous because South Carolina is one of eight states where that option is open.