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GamblingHero is a site dedicated to providing you with the best possible information about various lottery and lotto draws available in the US. We aim to provide fair, honest, and unbiased reviews for all available options and also provide you with the information and advice on how to play lottery online, what games offer the best odds and the biggest jackpots, and much more. We compare all lotteries based on their various characteristics, from jackpots, over odds, availability, etc., to come up with a site that truly gives you the kind of knowledge you need to put your money to best use when making your choices.
Lottery: Legal Situation in the States
The legal situation with the US lottery is somewhat complex, just like everything else related to gambling, online or otherwise. Every state has the right to put forth their own laws regulating different games of chance, which resulted in not all states having a national lottery. Some of them prohibit them all together.
Of those states that do offer lotteries, some have actually made progress in terms of their online offering. We only deal with those state lotteries that are available for play online, at least through a subscription service. So far, several states have made some progress in this regard. Others are still lagging behind, waiting to see how things play out before they make their move.
Georgia has made a lot of progress in terms of the online lottery. It is one of a few states where players are actually allowed to create their accounts, transfer funds, and buy tickets for all major draws as well as scratch cards online, in real time. This is much better than the subscription model, which is often quite limiting. Available lottery draws in Georgia include Powerball, Mega Millions, Fantasy 5, and Keno.
In Illinois, players can buy individual tickets for some of the major draws like Powerball and Mega Millions online. Other smaller games, such as Lucky Day Lotto, Pick 3, and Pick 4 are still only available in the subscription mode, meaning you’ll have to buy tickets for several draws ahead of time. This solution represents a mix of both approaches although we expect Illinois will lean more and more towards the option to allow all players to buy all of their Illinois lottery tickets outright.
Kentucky has really come a long way in terms of its Kentucky lottery offerings, making it super-easy for players to participate in a variety of lottery drawing options straight from the site. Rather than using the subscription options, KY players can buy individual tickets for games like Mega Millions, Powerball, Lucky for Life, and Cash Ball 225. There is also a variety of instant-play games, ranging from just USD 1 to USD 30 apiece, offering big potential wins.
While Maine is a pretty good state as far as lotteries available here are concerned, their lottery website isn’t as advanced. There is no option to buy Maine lottery tickets or purchase lottery scratchers on the site outright. However, you can still create subscriptions for major draws ahead of time, including Powerball, Lucky for Life, and Mega Millions.
Maryland currently operates on a subscription model similar to the one available in other states. This means that players can purchase subscriptions for big, multi-state draws, but can’t buy individual Maryland lottery tickets and can’t participate in smaller, state-based offerings through the site. While somewhat limiting, this model has still managed to increase the lottery sales in the state.
Players in Michigan have it pretty good, as the site was redesigned in 2014 and new options were added, including the possibility to actually purchase Michigan lottery tickets for several major drawings like Mega Millions, Lotto 47, Powerball, and Fantasy 5. Players can also look forward to various bonuses to boost their online accounts with some extra cash. All in all, Michigan is one of the better states when all things are considered, offering a nice range of options for the players, in terms of both online and real-life play.
Although New Hampshire offers a great range of lottery drawings, including Mega Millions, Megabucks, Powerball, and Lucky for Life, only Powerball and Mega Million tickets can actually be purchased from the iLottery site. Other tickets are still only available in physical stores while online players have access to a solid range of instant-play games. It is hard to say when and if other tickets will be available online as well as the New Hampshire lottery.
When it comes to the New York lottery, it is also based on the subscription model, offering players an opportunity to buy tickets for games like Mega Millions, Powerball, and Lotto in advance. Other popular games, such as Take 5 and Quick Draw, are still only available if you go to a retail store and purchase tickets there. Subscription payments can be made using debit cards and e-checks.
North Carolina also employs the subscription model for their online North Carolina lottery ticket sales. You can use the online services to pay in advance for tickets for draws like Cash for Life, Mega Millions, and Powerball using debit cards and bank transfers. Interestingly enough, using the site, you’ll only be able to subscribe for up to three tickets for any particular draw, while most other states offer up to ten.
Despite the fact North Dakota was somewhat late to the party and was one of the last states to establish the official lottery, their website is very good. North Dakota doesn’t allow any in-state games and offers multi-state draws only but players can purchase tickets for these straight from the site without any complications. You can buy individual or multiple tickets and there are no limitations that come with the subscription model. Available games at the North Dakota lottery include Mega Millions, Lotto America, Powerball, Lucky for Life, and 2by2.
Pennsylvania offers one of the strangest and most different setups around. With their site being pretty young, having been only launched in 2018, it is possible the state has decided to take things slowly. Namely, while you can play a variety of draws in PA, including Mega Millions, Powerball, Cash4Life, Match 6, and more, you can’t buy tickets for any of these online or even subscribe for them. The internet site will only let you purchase special electronic games. It is highly likely Pennsylvania lottery will change things around and make lottery tickets available for sales online as well in due time.
In Virginia, you’ll be able to play lottery and lotto online through the subscription model. The site is fully equipped to let players subscribe to several major draws on the spot. The fresh mobile app is there as well, making everything even easier for those who enjoy playing on the go. Available Virginia lottery online drawings include Cas4Life, Mega Millions, and Poweball and you can fund your account using debit cards and PayPal.
As for the rest of the US states, some of them don’t offer lotteries at all and don’t have plans of doing so at any point in the near future. Some others do have their state lotteries and participate in multi-state drawings but currently don’t have online sites. When it comes to the online portion, a lot of it is still work in progress and we can expect some important developments in the near future for the American lottery in general.
For many states, launching a lottery website is the matter of legal complications as the Wire Act interpretations seem somewhat shaky. Although there doesn’t seem to be any real obstacles to offering online services of this type, some states are still reluctant to take the plunge are biding their time to see how the situation will develop.
When it comes to online lottery sites, there is also the issue with physical retailers. In many states, there is a very strong opposition from land-based stores, who believe this move would have a bad effect on their sales, cutting their margin profits. State governments and politicians have to be very careful with these things as they need to preserve the balance and keep everyone as happy as possible while still growing the lotteries.
US Lottery Games: Play Online
In the current climate, only residents from some US states can actually use the lottery online sites to purchase tickets for major draws like Powerball and Mega Millions. Some other states where there are online lottery sites only give players a chance to buy scratch cards and play in instant lotteries.
Scratch cards are usually the same ones offered at retail stores but provided in their digitalized versions. Players need to virtually scratch off a particular part on the card/ticket to reveal if they have the winner or not. Scratch card prices range from USD 1 to USD 30, while prizes can sometime go into seven figures.
Instant lotteries are quite similar to scratch cards as they provide instant results without forcing players to wait for the draw results. In their online versions, players will be able to see their numbers or other symbols in a matter of seconds and immediately know if and how much they won.
Lottery Subscriptions: Manage Online
We’ve mentioned the subscription model for several state lotteries already but you might be wondering what it is exactly and how it works. If that happens to be the case, everything will be explained right now. There isn’t all that much to explain, in fact, so you should have no problems understanding what a subscription is and how you can take advantage of it to participate in your favorite United States lottery drawings.
The main difference between a subscription and the ability to buy single tickets is in the fact that with the subscription you’ll have to buy tickets for several draws in the future, usually at least four. You’ll need to pick all your lottery numbers at the moment of placing the subscription, so if you change your mind at a later date, you won’t be able to just buy a new ticket. When you subscribe, your tickets remain in play and if you want to add different ones, you’ll have to subscribe again.
Lotto & Lotteries to Offer: Multi-State Draws
Like the name suggests, multi-state draws are those that allow players from different states to buy tickets and participate in the drawings. Because they have more players, these multi-state lotteries also offer better jackpots. Some of the most popular draws from this category are:
- Powerball is a multi-state lottery offered in 46 states and the District of Columbia. The jackpot starts at USD 40,000,000 and grows over time. Draws take place two times a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. To win the jackpot, players need to guess five numbers and the Power Ball number correctly.
- Mega Millions is offered in 44 states and the District of Columbia. The game is quite similar to Powerball, with the jackpot also seeding at USD 40,000,000 but with some minor differences. Draws are also held two times a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
- Lucky for Life lottery is available in 25 states and offers the main prize of USD 1,000 every day for the rest of the winner’s life. Drawings are held on Mondays and Thursdays and tickets are sold at USD 2 apiece, which is the same as Powerball and Mega Millions tickets.
While these are multi-state lotteries, when it comes to online play, players must always buy tickets in their respective states. Lucky winners can take their prizes in the full amount as a lottery annuity over a number of years or take a cash option to get less money but in one lump sum.
Criteria for a Good Lottery
What is it that makes lottery games good and worth chasing after? While all major lotteries are down to luck and all of them can provide life-changing winnings, there are certain aspects one should look at when making the decisions whether to play or not. These are the most important factors.
- The Jackpot: The amount you stand to win is usually the first thing to look at. In this regard, both of the main lotteries in the US, Mega Millions and Powerball hold their own, offering huge wins.
- Winning Odds: What are your mathematical chances of winning the jackpot? For example, chances of winning Powerball are 1 in 292,000,000. For Mega Millions, they are 1 in 302,000.000. Somewhat smaller draws like Cash for Life offers much better odds than this.
- Ticket Prices: The price of a lottery ticket is an important factor. Most big, multi-state lotteries cost USD 2 a play, with some additional options for USD 1 per play. However, if odds of winning are better, then some tickets are scratch-offs can be more expensive as well.
- Availability: Where can you buy lottery tickets? Are they only available in convenience stores or can you buy them online as well? It is important for you as a player to have a simple and easy access to your favorite drawings.
- Tax Considerations: While it doesn’t have so much to do with the drawing itself, you should always consider state taxes and the amount of lottery after taxes. Some states are simply better for the players because of smaller or non-existent state taxes.
Why You Can Trust GamblingHero
Here at GamblingHero, we go well beyond what would be expected from a comparison site of this type. We truly strive to provide all of our members and chance visitors with the most up-to-date and relevant information about lottery and lotto USA drawings. We want you to know what draws offer biggest jackpots, what your true odds of winning are, and how easy (or hard) it is for you to get purchase tickets and get involved with various draws.
The biggest reason why you can trust this site is the fact that GamblingHero was licensed by the state of New Jersey to provide comparisons and reviews for online gambling sites. Thus, just like the operators themselves, we’re held to a higher standard when doing our reviews. We must provide the accurate, unbiased information for everyone, based on thorough personal reviews conducted by our experienced team members.
Preview of the Online Lottery Market
As you can see from this article, at this moment in time, there are only few states that have really implemented online lotto lottery systems. Some others are working with the subscription model but this one isn’t the best solution for various reasons we’ve already discussed. So, there is definitely work to be done.
Moving forward, we’re likely to see things change for the better across the board. Those state lotteries that already have their own websites will likely work to improve them and more and more players will get an opportunity to buy their tickets outright online, without having to go through unnecessary complications.
The rest of the states are likely to follow suit. Seeing how there is nothing in the law preventing states from offering lottery and lotto online tickets, it is just the matter of politics and technical implementation.
Online and mobile gambling are becoming more and more prominent in general and lotteries will need to adjust to cater for new expectations. Setting up good and easy to use sites is bound to have a hugely positive impact on sales, leading to more money for state budgets as well. So, in a few years’ time, we’re likely to see almost every state out there offer the online lottery.
Important Questions and Answers About American Lottery (FAQ)
To wrap things up, we’re bringing ten of the most frequent questions about lotteries in the US and answers to these questions. If there is anything you wanted to know but couldn’t find in the text, you’ll likely find it in this section. So, make sure to read through these Frequently Asked Questions.