Lotteries are the oldest form of legal gambling in the US. The first lotteries were introduced in the 1700s. Today, lottery games are offered in 45 states. A variety of online lotteries are available as well. However, some are not accessible to U.S. players.
One of the most popular games is the Mega Millions. Players can buy tickets online or in person in the state they are registered in. There are two versions of the game, one with a top prize of $100,000 and another with a starting prize of $20 million. Most jurisdictions offer Powerball as well. Other multi-state lotteries are Treasure Hunt, Tri-State Megabucks, and Millionaire Raffle. In addition, the Virgin Islands operates a state-wide lottery.
Although not widely available, a growing number of US states have authorized the sale of lottery tickets online. As of the writing of this article, the states that allow online sales are California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Texas. Several more states are working on implementing online lottery legislation.
Online lotteries have several advantages. One is convenience. Many online lotteries can be accessed through a mobile application, allowing users to check their numbers and results without having to leave their home. Another advantage is the availability of e-Instant games, which can be played on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
Many online lottery sites use geolocation to ensure that players are in the right place at the right time. They also automatically withhold 24% of the federal tax from the prize if the winner is over $500. When a winner receives a prize over $600, the online site will send them a W2-G form. If the prize is less than $600, a check is sent by the state. Those who win more than $50,000 will have to visit the official lottery headquarters to claim their prize.
Some online lottery sites are not regulated by the federal government. However, the US Department of Justice has issued an opinion that the Wire Act does not prohibit the sale of tickets over the Internet. Moreover, in January 2021, the District of Columbia will begin offering online lottery games.
The first state to implement an online lottery was Georgia. Since then, the state has sold a large volume of lottery tickets electronically. Despite opposition from anti-gambling groups in the state, Georgia has reaffirmed its position to allow electronic lottery games. This was followed by Michigan. Now, the state is leading the way with a wide variety of instant win games.
Other popular lotteries include the Powerball and the MegaMillions. These jackpots can range from $1 billion to $200,000,000. For prizes under $50, they can be claimed online.
While it is still not as popular as sports betting, the number of lotteries is growing. With the increased popularity of online gaming, more states are likely to authorize the sale of tickets online in the future.
As of the writing of this article, the legality of offshore lottery providers is a matter of debate. Jackpocket is the most prominent, but it only operates in states that have approved online lotteries.