In December 2011, the US Department of Justice released a legal opinion on the Federal Wire Act. The opinion stipulated the act only applies to sports betting.
This ultimately paved the way for individual states to allow lottery sales online. Since that time, five states have started online lottery sales programs. A handful of others are considering the idea.
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- Online lotteries are currently only legal in 10 states. These lucky states are New Hampshire, Michigan, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Delaware, New York, Virginia, Maine, and of course Georgia.
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- Green states have passed online lottery bills.
- Red states had online lottery, but suspended sales.
- Blue states had an online lottery bill in 2017.
Pennsylvania passed an expansive gambling law in October 2017. As part of the sweeping measure, the state authorized online casinos, online poker, and online lotteries. The first batch of online lottery games went live on May 29, 2018.
Pennsylvania currently participates in both Powerball and the MegaMillions lotto. These games are not available online yet. Instead, the only online offerings are instant win games. These online games are very similar to a real-life scratch-off game.
As part of the expansion, the Lottery also offers Keno, which also launched in May. It offers virtual sports as well.
Lawmakers hope over the course of the next five years, the lottery will bring the state roughly $250 million in revenue to primarily benefit the state’s seniors. However, legal troubles could sideline the project. Seven PA casinos banded together to sue the state over the iLottery, claiming the instant games are too similar to online slot machines.
Read more about the Pennsylvania Online Lottery.
After a successful pilot program in the summer, the Michigan Lottery launched online lottery sales in the fall of 2014. At first, the online games available online were only Instant Keno and electronic online scratch-offs.
In January 2016, the Michigan Lottery began offering online sales tickets for its most popular draw games, including Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto 47, and Fantasy 5.
Lottery Consultant Digital Gaming Group released a report in December 2016 calling Michigan’s online lottery sales program a success. The report showed online lottery sales moved past $8 million a week as of March 2016. Meanwhile, brick and mortar retail lottery operations set all-time records.
Read more about the Michigan Online Lottery.
After approval in the summer of 2012, and a bit of a false start, Georgia became the second state to offer online lottery ticket sales. Its lottery went online in November 2012. The Georgia Lottery Corporation offers online ticket sales for draw games, including Fantasy 5, Mega Millions, and Powerball.
Plus, there are also Keno games and a selection of games exclusive to Georgia Lottery website called Diggi Games. These interactive games constitute a hybrid of social games and electronic scratch-offs. Diggi Games include crosswords and bingo games.
Georgia is among the top states in the country in terms of per capita lottery sales. The state maintained that status through the introduction of online ticket sales.
Read more about the Georgia Online Lottery.
Illinois launched a pilot program offering online sales of Lotto and Mega Millions tickets in March 2012. At that point, Illinois became the first state to offer online lottery ticket sales.
Illinois then added online tickets to the popular multi-state Powerball lottery in December 2012. The Illinois Lottery website later expanded to include Daily Lottery Games and Instant Games as well.
On March 31, 2014, the Internet Lottery announced online lottery sales totaled $36.9million in the first two years of the program.
Then, in March 2016, the pilot program was actually set to end if lawmakers failed to pass new legislation authorizing continued internet lottery sales. However, Illinois Lottery Communications Director Steve Rossi decided the Illinois Lottery would continue to operate online. After a detailed policy and law review, Rossi determined continued internet ticket sales were permissible under current law.
Read more about the Illinois Online Lottery.
The Virginia Lottery has operated in Old Dominion since 1987, resulting in over $12.4 billion in payouts since that time. Now, Virginia has seen online expansion with its lottery.
While also tasked with overseeing recently legalized online casinos and sports betting, the Virginia Lottery introduced online instant games in July 2020, allowing players to purchase and even play online lottery games through the Virginia Lottery website. Access to these game via the lottery’s app should become available soon.
The Virginia Lottery boasts an array of online instant games, with themes ranging from simple reveal to crosswords to symbol-matching, not to mention blackjack, keno and lottery draw.
As the first online gambling site in the state, the Virginia Lottery has set the trend. And it is at the forefront of an online gambling revolution in Old Dominion.
Read more about the Virginia Online Lottery.
New Hampshire joined the group of US states with online lottery after its governor signed a bill authorizing online lottery sales in July 2017. On Sept. 18, the New Hampshire online lottery went live. Operated by NeoPollard Interactive, it features several online instant win and draw games.
Mega Millions and Powerball tickets can be purchased online or through apps like Jackpocket, with either custom or quick number selection.
Kentucky became the next state to offer its lottery online in April 2016. The Commonwealth offers online sales of jackpot and daily draw games as well as instant play games.
Online ticket sales were actually approved by lawmakers in 2013. However, it took the state three years to develop a complex online ticketing system.
Kentucky also employs strict security regulations preventing players from withdrawing money deposited in a lottery account in accordance with money-laundering laws.
At the time of the launch, Kentucky Lottery President and CEO Arch Gleason claimed online lottery sales were a way to attract a younger demographic accustomed to conducting retail purchases online. He also maintained online sales were expected to help, rather than hurt, sales at 3,200 lottery retailers across Kentucky.
Read more about the Kentucky Online Lottery.
Minnesota was actually the first state lottery to offer instant-win games online. The Minnesota Lottery launched online sales on the first quarter of 2014 without any kind of legislative approval. In addition to electronic scratch-offs, the lottery offered Mega Millions, Hot Lotto, Gopher 5, and Powerball tickets online.
However, in May 2015, Minnesota lawmakers voted to make online lottery sales illegal, and the games were ultimately pulled.
Nobody can the deny the fact the online lottery is rather popular all around the world. The majority of people have access to the online lottery, but there are players located in certain territories that cannot play the lottery. These players can’t play the lottery locally, nor they can play it online, because their national authorities have banned it.
Before I give you the ultimate list of countries where online lottery is restricted, I’m going to talk about why governments decide to ban lottery in general, and why the online lottery gets banned in specific. Note, do not worry, the countries where the lottery is banned by default are only a handful. On a side note, I’m also going to provide you with information, what countries do not have access to the most popular US and EU lotteries.
I’m sure you’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time.
No Two Countries Are the Same – Tailor Made Legislation
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I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this, but the basis for official guidelines, legislation are usually the needs of the citizens. Coolcat casino bonus codes august 2016 printable. Lottery in general is perceived as gambling, that’s why many governments like to protect their citizens by imposing restrictions. However, this is wrong on so many levels. There’s something called self control, there are agencies who help people with gambling issues, and most importantly, there will always be players who get away with it. So, in my opinion, it’s better to legalize it and tax the player.
So, we can consider the ban on lottery as a measure to protect people who lack self-control. Now, to get back on the heading, no two nations are the same. Some have a tendency to be responsible, others like to go to the extremes. Don’t get me wrong, but there’s some truth in this. As a rule of thumb, I repeat, in my experience, countries where online lottery and lottery in general are legal, are doing pretty good. Just saying.
Religion, Local Culture and Tradition Play a Major Role
Other factors that greatly influence how the legislation is shaped are the population’s religion, the local culture and any customs, traditions that stand out. Almost by default, note “almost”, countries where Islam is the predominant religion, all forms of gambling are restricted. Now, since lottery is considered gambling in these regions, the lottery is straight out banned.
Many individuals from these regions are eager to play the lottery online, compete for the much desired US lottery jackpots, but they cannot. If, say, they’re caught playing the lottery, they’re severely punished, charged being gamblers. You don’t want to be located there, don’t you? No lottery player does.
Lastly, considering the current situation, it seems like the laws will never change. There are no signs, no indicators that point to the other direction. A legalization of the lottery at the very least will mean an influx of millions of new lottery players.
The Political System Keeps Online Players at Bay
This the opposite of what I just mentioned. Instead of the government restricting its players to play the online lottery, or any lottery in general, this time around, the lottery operator is not in a position to pay out any winnings to the lottery winners in these countries. If the operator does so, it will become a subject of criminal charges. A good example is a dictatorship, the likes of North Korea for instance.
As you can see, it’s not always your government’s fault, it can be somebody else’s government’s fault. It’s safe to say, the government is always the bad guy. It’s highly unlikely that you’re located in a country of this kind, mainly due to the fact that even the internet is not easily available.
Nonetheless, countries of this nature deserve to be put in their very own category. I want to be clear on this kind of things.
Last Point of the Day – If There’s a National Lottery, Be Cautious
Because many of the laws are old, outdated, even the government is not willing to enforce them, unless there’s a party that has an interest in it. For example, if there’s a national lottery, and it has had major success in the past, you should be careful. The national lottery operator is the party who has an interest in this matter, and it can, and it will lobby to have all online lottery players penalized for playing foreign lotteries. Now, this is very rare, because it costs a lot of money to track down a handful of lottery players.
Nonetheless, if you are forced to keep playing the lottery online in this gray area, at least don’t get caught. I cannot provide you with any advice on this matter, because that will make me an accomplice in a criminal activity. I’m deeply sorry.
List of Countries Where Online Lottery Is Illegal
These are the countries where gambling activities are closely monitored, alongside lottery. This list goes across all of the aforementioned types. Here it is:
- Belarus (prosecuted)
- Cyprus (prosecuted)
- Czech Republic (other forms, the lottery is legal)
- Turkey (other forms, prosecuted, the lottery is legal)
- South Africa
- Saudi Arabia (all forms)
- Qatar (all forms)
- Iran (all forms)
- Iraq (all forms)
- Syria (all forms)
- India (some states)
- Indonesia (all forms)
List of Countries that Require an Operator License
This is a list of countries where the operator must obtain a local license in order to sell lottery tickets to the local population. In my opinion, this list is rather long, but I highly suspect that all online lottery operators have obtained the necessary licenses. For what it’s worth, the online lottery community acts as an isolated system, and so far, I’ve seen only a few examples where lottery winners were unable to claim their winnings due to legislation.
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- Channel Islands
- Czech Republic
- Isle of Man
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
- US Virgin Islands
Most Activities in the Online Lottery World are in the Gray Area
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When all is considered, most of the official activities are put in the gray area. Due to the complexity of the matter, nobody wants to unfold the file of problems. The USA’s rigid framework seems to do a good job, in spite of the arguments that I have against it.
Europeans on the other hand, with their principle based approach to legislation have left lottery out in the open. This applies to both the lottery and the online lottery. I cannot stress the importance of having a clear framework. Both the lottery players and the lottery players will benefit from it. Winners and players won’t be prosecuted, whereas lottery operators will be able to freely market their services and products. Maybe, I say maybe, this will all be true in the foreseeable future. For the time being, we can enjoy the lottery as it is, stay quiet and claim any prizes in any way possible.