US Lottery Online Guide

Online lottery (or iLottery) is a form of gambling but has very little in common with the counterparts in both legal status and the user experience. The main difference between iLottery and casino sites/sportsbooks/poker rooms lies in the ownership. The former is run by the state, while the latter businesses are owned by commercial companies under a license issued by the states.

The distinction brings both positive and negative sides along. Safety is the number one factor leaning towards online lottery as a state-run gambling form is 100% legal and safe. We don’t say the strong casino sites are unreliable (especially the most popular ones), but the fact is you can find no safer gambling environment than the one offered by a state-run iLottery. On the other side, the lack of competition means the players are in for a way less generous and attractive bonuses. As you know, online casino sites, sportsbooks, and poker rooms, all use a strong promotional section to attract customers. Since iLottery has no competition being the only legal lottery in a specific state, you will rarely find it offering a whopping first deposit bonus or an attractive set of on-going promos.

We take a look at the online lottery in general. This review will answer the most common questions about iLottery, including:

  • Where is online lottery legal?
  • Who can play lottery online?
  • How to play lottery online?
  • Why should you play lottery online?
  • What iLottery games can you play?

Where is online lottery legal?

Online lottery is legal across a dozen American states. The number is constantly growing as more and more states tend to follow the footsteps of their neighbors. At the moment, you can legally play lottery online on the following states lottery sites:

StateOnline Since
Illinois Lottery2012
Georgia Lottery2012
Michigan Lottery2014
Kentucky Lottery2016
Pennsylvania iLottery2018
New Hampshire LotteryExpected in 2020

Additionally, North Dakota, North Carolina, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, and New York offer iLottery subscription services. Illinois became the first US state to have launched an online lottery site in March 2012. It was followed by Georgia in November that same year, two years before Michigan launched their online platform. Kentucky and Pennsylvania followed the suit in 2016 and 2018 respectively. New Hampshire is currently the last American state to have launched a legal online lottery in September 2018.

Although each of the aforementioned states has imposed its own rules, the majority of them comply with identical laws. Keep reading to learn more about these. For now, we would only like to emphasize Kentucky Lottery Online for topping the charts in players per capita.

Who can play lottery online?

Each state has imposed its own legal restrictions. These strictly forbid any type of online lottery game to persons under the age of 18. This is the case in all states that have already adopted iLottery and this will be the case with all states who are about to embrace this form of gambling.

Now, the vast majority of state lotteries utilize geolocation technology to determine the player’s location at the moment of an online purchase. This is because most states allow the users to register an account and play lottery online only within the state borders. You may bump into rare exceptions, but this is the common practice.

Finally, the ultimate restriction is in regards to the familiar connections. Most states won’t allow you to play lottery online if your close relative works for the state lottery. Other than these three, you will not encounter any significant obstacles in an attempt to register an account at online lottery.

How to play lottery online?

Time needed: 2 minutes.

Step by step guide on how to get started with your online lottery adventure.

  1. Find the Lottery you want to play with

    The first step is to create an online account at the official website or the app of the state lottery you want to play. This is, of course, if you meet the aforementioned requirements in terms of age and your location.

  2. Complete the registration form

     The registration form is very simple and straightforward. You should run through simply by following the instructions and entering your personal information. The whole process should not take more than a couple of minutes. You will usually be asked to type in your full name, date of birth, gender, e-mail, address, and the last four digits of your social security number (SSN). Also, if you have a special bonus code, make sure to use it in a dedicated box to earn your welcome bonus.

  3. Make your first deposit

    Once you have found your way through the registration process, you are ready to make your initial deposit and play lottery online. This is where we begin to find the main differences between state lotteries. For example, in Georgia you are required to deposit before you get to pick your numbers for a Powerball or Mega Millions drawing. On the other hand, the players are permitted to select their numbers and add the tickets to their online carts before topping their accounts up. The state lotteries differ from one another in so many other parameters, but these are all minor distinctions not worth mentioning on a larger scale.

If you did not have a chance to play lottery online in the past, there is no reason for any worries. The principle is identical to the one commonly used in land-based retailers. The rules obviously depend on the game. With common draw lotteries, you simply get to choose your winning numbers or let the computer do the job for you, and hope for the best when the drawing occurs. Instant-win games are pretty much a synonym for land-based scratch-off cards. You buy a ticket and scratch it in hope of winning the top prize which is usually set accordingly to the original stake. The online lottery scratch-offs come in a massive array of themes, price costs, and payouts. Most legal US lotteries offer everyone an opportunity to have fun times, regardless of their budget. After all, this is why we all love online lottery so much. A single $2 ticket for Powerball or Mega Millions may change your life forever with whopping jackpots always exceeding $40 million.

The aforementioned games are the most popular online lottery options you can find nowadays. Certain states offer a richer gaming library, but the basic gameplay principles remain unchanged. 

Why should you play lottery online?

Besides the comfort of playing your favorite lottery games online, iLottery offers a broad range of other benefits we are about to discuss in this paragraph.

First of all, it is the diversity of gaming options. When you play lottery online, you get access to an extensive gaming catalog featuring the variants with different rules, themes, bonus rounds, gameplays, costs, and jackpots. Land-based lotteries normally limit you to scratch cards and weekly/monthly draws. With online lottery, instant-win games make you feel like you’re spinning the slot reels on an online casino or playing an arcade-style game.

The second significant advantage is hidden behind promotions. When you enter a land-based lottery retailer, you will just purchase your draw tickets or scratch-offs and leave the place without enjoying any additional benefit. Online lottery brings much more to this as most states will welcome you with some sort of bonus. It can by no means be compared to the lucrative welcome packages offered by online casinos, poker rooms, or sportsbooks, but hey it’s still better than nothing. The possibility of winning real cash without investing your own is always popular among the crowd. Moving forward, some lotteries have established their own VIP programs that bring extra perks to loyal patrons. If you play lottery online on a regular basis, why wouldn’t you take advantage of everything that’s offered?

Finally, there is again a concern regarding safety. A state-run online lottery is a 100% secure place where nothing can go wrong. You can’t lose the winning ticket since this way it is stored in digital form. You can’t lose money which is always in your online lottery account. Can we say the same for land-based lotteries? Not quite because there is always a chance you won’t be able to find a lottery ticket that was in your pocket.

To sum this paragraph up, online lottery has so many significant advantages. We listed only three here. Just compare the comfort you have while making a purchase from your sofa and a visit to a crowded retailer where you lose precious time waiting in lines.

What iLottery games can you play?

The diversity of its gaming portfolio is what makes iLottery so popular. Those who decide to play lottery online are truly spoilt for choice between bountiful challenging and interactive games on the menu. Draw and instant games are available across all US legal lotteries, while the differences can be noted in the array of other gaming options present in the library. Either way, here is the list of the most common online lottery variants you can find nowadays:

  • Draw games
  • Instant games
  • Keno games
  • Pull-tab games
  • Fast cash

Draw Games

With all due respect to the other types, draw games have always taken the primary spot in the hearts of lottery aficionados. A chance of winning a life-changing fortune for a price of just $2 is unbeatable and this is why this specific game form will always be No 1 in the United States. With draw games, the players need to settle for the passive experience. They choose five or six numbers (or even let the computer randomly do it for them) and hope they are drawn. The attractive jackpots are what make this game type so popular. Mega Millions and Powerball have the minimum jackpot set at $40 million. The biggest jackpot in history was claimed in the Powerball and went to an incredible $1,586 billion. The two most popular draw lotteries are available in as many as 44 US states at the moment. Moreover, some states offer its residents their own in-state draws. The jackpots for these are way lower and hardly ever get close to a $1 million mark.

Instant Games

Unlike draws that are scheduled, instant-win games offer prizes right on the spot and that’s their biggest advantage and selling point. You can find them in distinct iterations, including the slot, number-matching, form-a-line, crosswords, and bingo styles. The basic pattern is usually very similar, though. Nevertheless, the instant-win games bring a whole new experience for those who play lottery online because of the amazing array of options, themes, and gameplay. The lowest stake possible is as low as 1 cent, while the maximum normally goes up to $30.

Keno Games

Keno is a draw game, but what is the difference between it and Powerball? It is in the frequency of draws. Keno games are drawn much frequently, i.e. every four minutes on the Kentucky Lottery Online. The players can pick up to ten numbers per one draw (from 1 to 80). ILottery keno games let you easily control your stakes and the number of draws you play for.

Pull-Tab Games

Pull-tab games are a perfect match for those searching for fast action. You won’t find this game type in abundance across the United States, as far as iLottery is concerned. Those who do find it can usually hope for payouts in the range of $1,000 to $10,000.

Fast Cash Games

Finally, fast cash are instant-win games that feature progressive jackpots. These are rarely offered by iLottery. If you are particularly looking for this game form, we’d advise you to visit a local retailer.  

FAQ

How can I collect winnings by playing iLottery?

Normally, iLottery cash-outs for the prizes up to $600 are processed instantly. For greater amounts, from $600 to 10,000, you are required to fill an online claim form, while to withdraw winnings larger than $10,000, you have to visit the lottery headquarters.

Which states legally offer online lottery?

The number of states that have embraced online lottery keeps growing regularly. For now, the list includes Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Georgia, Kentucky, and New Hampshire.

What are the biggest US lotteries?

Powerball and Mega Millions are the biggest US lotteries. The price per ticket is $2, while the guaranteed jackpot never goes below $40 million. These two mega lotteries are now available in 44 US states.

Who can play lottery online?

Only those who are at least 18 years old and physically within the borders of the state whose lottery they want to play are eligible to play lottery online.