Online Lottery Sites and Their Impact on the US Lottery Industry


The US has a variety of lotteries, including state-run and regional ones. While most jurisdictions require players to purchase their tickets in person, a few states have legalized online lottery ticket sales. Some opponents have valid concerns about cannibalizing traditional lottery sales, while others are concerned that the state’s constant search for new sources of revenue could lead to increased risk of problem gambling.

There are 48 jurisdictions that offer lotteries to U.S. players, with 45 of them located in the contiguous U.S., as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Powerball is one of the most widely played lottery games in the country. Other major lottery games include Mega Millions, Cash4Life and Lotto America. Although most jurisdictions offer a mix of instant win scratch tickets, a few have chosen to offer exclusive, multi-state lottery games.

California’s state-run lottery was established in 1984. This lottery is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association and features a versatile package of local games, including Lotto America, Cash4Life, Powerball and the Mega Millions jackpot game.

South Dakota launched its lottery in 1987. Ticket sales go to fund the education and road infrastructure needs of the state. Players must be at least 21 years of age to participate. During its first year, sales reached $53.6 million. Since then, sales have remained consistent. In 2014, the state introduced Mega Millions and Powerball, two of its largest draw games.

Minnesota was the first state to introduce instant-win games on its website. The Michigan Lottery began online sales in January 2016. Sales have set records, exceeding $8 million a week in March 2016. Wyoming introduced its online version of the WyoLotto in 2013.

New York has a state-wide lottery system, but it doesn’t offer online play. Instead, players can use the lottery’s website or apps for iOS and Android devices to check results and prize draws. A map of retailers is also provided. Using the app, players can scan their tickets and pay for their tickets from the app.

Among the most famous online lottery sites are the Pennsylvania online lottery and the Georgia Lottery. Despite skepticism over online lottery services, these sites have made a big impact on the lottery industry. Online lottery ticket sales in these states grew steadily after the PA iLottery launched in 2018. After only a few months of operation, the Pennsylvania lottery reported $4.2 billion in total game sales.

Illinois, another state that offers lottery services, has a “Know Your Customer” age verification process. If a player is under 18, the state will not create an account for them. It also requires the player’s name, address, date of birth and personal information. Upon completion of the age verification process, a player can be added to the lottery’s list of potential customers.

Several other states have been experimenting with online lottery services. Nevada hasn’t implemented a state-wide lottery, and Utah hasn’t offered any lottery services to the public. However, Alaska has proposed a state lottery in 2020.