Whether you’re just beginning to learn about the US lottery system or you’ve played for years, you may be wondering whether you can buy lottery tickets online. If you do, you need to understand the legalities and restrictions that apply to the games. For example, larger prizes may require a claim form or an IRS form, and you may have to have an identification document.
Most lotteries operate as state-run organizations, though some jurisdictions defer to third-party applications or portals. These organizations often offer a variety of draw games, scratchers, and instant win games. The list below outlines what’s available in each state.
The first state to offer a lottery was New Hampshire in 1964. The New Hampshire Lottery also offers Mega Millions, Powerball, and several draw games. Profits from the lottery go toward state employee pensions, education, and debt services.
Currently, forty-four states operate state-wide lottery systems, with Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. scheduled to join the league in 2021. There are also lotteries in the United States’ Virgin Islands and Alaska.
Until recently, there were only a few legal options for playing lottery games online. Some jurisdictions had authorized online casinos, but most didn’t offer online lottery games. Several states have introduced e-games, or instant games, which are similar to online scratch cards.
Most of the profits from the lottery go toward public schools, while others go to state causes and parks. For example, the North Carolina Education Lottery has contributed more than $5 billion to educational programs in the state. The proceeds also go to open space conservation, wildlife habitats, gambling treatment and prevention programs, and other state causes.
There are several online lotteries, but only seven jurisdictions are currently authorized to offer them. These include Iowa, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. There are also several states that have in-house games, such as the Idaho and Wyoming lottery.
The Michigan Lottery began offering online sales tickets in January of 2016, and sales broke all records in March of that year. During the first five months of that year, online sales hit more than $8 million a week.
The Iowa Lottery is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association, which means that the proceeds from ticket sales go to state causes. It’s also a member of the Multi-State Game Association, which allows for a variety of multi-state draw games. Other games available in the state include Cash4Life and Powerball.
Rhode Island’s lottery was first launched in 1974. It’s the oldest lottery system in the US, and its profits go to public education, public safety, and other public services. There are three in-house games, and the state offers three multi-state lottery games. It’s also part of the Multi-State Lottery Alliance, which means that a portion of its profits goes to the Multi-State Lottery Association.
Oregon’s lottery is another member of the Multi-State Lottery System, and it also offers a variety of in-house games. The Montana Lottery, on the other hand, is a member of the Multi-State lottery Association and offers a number of in-house games, as well as a variety of multi-state draw games.