Illinois became the first state to offer legal online lottery ticket sales when it started a pilot program selling Lotto and Mega Millions tickets online in March 2012. The program has since expanded to include daily lottery games and extended indefinitely beyond its original four-year mandate.
Learn more about Illinois’ legal online lottery, the games you can play, and answers to commonly asked questions about playing the lottery online.
What is an Illinois Lottery online account?
In order to purchase online lottery products in Illinois, you must first register for an Illinois Lottery online account.
Illinois Lottery online account holders can purchase subscriptions to certain lottery games. The subscriptions are for anywhere from 1 to 25 games. With an Illinois Lottery online account, players can also view their history of purchases and wins.
Plus, winnings of up to $600 will be deposited into their account for immediate access. Account holders will also get email notification of wins and be able to manage personal spending limits.
What games can I play online in the Illinois Lottery?
There are two types of lottery games available online in Illinois. These include:
- Jackpot games
- Daily games
The Illinois Lottery officially started online sales of jackpot games in March 2012. It started with two games but quickly expanded to four. The jackpot games available online in Illinois now include:
- Mega Millions
- Lucky Day Lotto
Powerball is among the most popular multi-state lottery games available in the US. The multi-state draw game is available in 44 states, Washington, D.C., US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
Jackpots start at $40 million. Tickets are $2 each. Draws are held on Wednesday and Saturday. Powerball is known for its massive jackpots. The largest ever recorded was $1.6 billion in 2016.
The Mega Millions multi-state lottery began as “The Big Game” in 1996. It was renamed The Big Game Mega Millions six years later. It has been known as Mega Millions since 2002.
Mega Millions is now offered in 44 states, Washington, D.C., and the US Virgin Islands. Tickets are $1. Jackpots start at $40 million. Draws are held Tuesdays and Fridays.
Lotto is an Illinois-only multimillion dollar jackpot game. Players pick six numbers from 1 to 52. Jackpots start at $2 million, and tickets are $1. Draws are held Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. A $1 Extra Shot is available for a chance to win additional prizes.
Lucky Day Lotto is an Illinois-only jackpot game with two daily drawings. Players pick five numbers from 1 through 45. Tickets are $1. Jackpots start at $100,000. A $1 EZmatch option is available for the chance to win up to $5,000 instantly. Lucky Day Lotto reportedly offers the best odds of any jackpot game. Draws are held daily at 12:40 p.m. and 9:22 p.m. local time.
The Illinois Lottery now features online sales of daily games. The daily games available online in Illinois now include:
- Pick 3 Plus Fireball
- Pick 4 Plus Fireball
The Pick 3 Plus Fireball daily lottery game is an Illinois-only lottery game with two draws daily. Players pick three numbers from one to nine. Tickets start at 50 cents and can win up to $250.
Numbers can be played straight, boxed, or played in combinations. The Plus Fireball option allows players to double the wager and provides an extra number drawn, increasing the chances of winning. Drawings are held daily at 12:35 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. local time.
The Pick 4 Plus Fireball daily lottery game is an Illinois-only lottery game with two draws daily. Players pick four numbers from one to nine. Tickets start at 50 cents and can win up to $250.
Numbers can be played straight, boxed, or played in combinations. The Plus Fireball option allows players to double the wager and provides an extra number drawn increasing the chances of winning. Drawings are held daily at 12:40 p.m. and 9:22 p.m. local time.
How to sign up for the Illinois Lottery online
Signing up for an account on the Illinois online lottery website is a safe and secure process. In order to purchase online lottery products, players must register for an Illinois Lottery online account.
Players must be Illinois residents and 18 years of age or older. The Illinois online lottery verifies this information electronically. Sign-up requires the release of some personal information.
Players can also download the Illinois Lottery Mobile App. The Illinois Lottery app is currently available for iOS and Android users on the following mobile carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. Account sign up and all online lottery products are available through the app.
How to make a deposit online
Once you register for an Illinois Lottery online account and your information is verified, you can deposit funds in your account to purchase online lottery products. The following two deposit methods are available:
- Credit card
- Debit card
This includes Visa, Mastercard, or Discover credit or debit cards. Players can also store your credit and debit card information for later deposits. Players cannot fund online lottery accounts in Illinois directly from a bank account. Only credit or debit cards are accepted.
Chase Visa cards may not be accepted for Illinois Lottery purchases. Cardholders are advised to contact Chase for more information.
What happens when I win?
Once you’ve signed up for an Illinois Lottery online account and started playing online lottery games, you might want to know how to collect your winnings.
Prizes up to and including $600 are automatically paid out to the winning player’s account. Winnings of more than $600 will be processed by the Illinois Lottery Claims Department. Winning players will receive an email to notify them how to complete the claim process.
If there are funds in your Illinois Lottery online account you wish to withdraw, you can have them directly deposited into your checking or savings account. Players can also request a check.
Illinois Lottery online and the law
The US Department of Justice released a legal opinion on the federal Wire Act in December 2011. It concluded anything outside of sporting events falls outside the act’s reach. This allowed states the right to begin online lottery ticket sales.
Lawmakers in Illinois approved the launch of an online lottery sales pilot program in 2011. Illinois became the first state to offer legal online lottery ticket sales when it started the program with sales of Lotto and Mega Millions tickets in March 2012. The program has since expanded to include more games.
The pilot program was set to wrap up in 2016. The state’s General Assembly took no action to continue the program. However, Illinois Lottery Communications Director Steve Rossi issued a statement in March 2016 saying the Illinois Lottery will continue to operate online.
Rossi claimed a detailed review of relevant policies, rules, and laws was conducted and determined that continued internet ticket sales are permissible under current law.
Who oversees the Illinois online lottery?
Illinois began state lottery sales in 1974. Lottery profits initially went to the state’s General Revenue Fund. Legislation was passed in 1985 earmarking profits for the Common School Fund. This remains the Illinois Lottery’s largest benefactor.
In 2010, the Lottery also began contributing to the Capitol Projects Fund, helping build and renovate state roads and bridges.
The Illinois Lottery is an independent, cabinet-level department. However, it did operate under the Department of Revenue on two separate occasions. It last separated from the Department of Revenue in October 2011.
Illinois Lottery strictly adheres to the laws and policies set forth by the Lottery Control Board and the state.
It is currently managed by private manager Northstar Lottery Group under a private management agreement with the state. It also operates with assistance and oversight from the state’s Lottery Control Board.
Are the games fair?
The Illinois Lottery Control Board provides oversight for all lottery games. Northstar Lottery Group is responsible for the overall management and operation of the lottery under a private management agreement with the state. This includes assuring the accountability and integrity of the lottery.
Oversight and assistance is provided by the Illinois Lottery Control Board.
How can I protect my online lottery account?
All Illinois Lottery online accounts are password protected. Users should protect the password the same way they do with all online accounts.
The Illinois Lottery also has a number of safeguards in place for the protection of players and their private information.
Benefits of the online lottery for Illinois
Much of the proceeds from Illinois Lottery sales help fund K-12 public school education.
More than $19 billion has gone from the lottery to public school education, roads, bike trails, school construction, and jobs programs since the Illinois Lottery’s inception.
In 2016, $695 million went from the lottery to the Common School Fund and Capital Projects Fund. That represented 24 percent of lottery ticket sales throughout the fiscal year.
Do online lottery sales take away from regular lottery sales?
No. In fact, ticket sales at the more than 8,500 lottery retailers across Illinois have increased since the state started online sales. Online ticket sales have really only helped increase lottery ticket sales across the state.