- States in green have passed online lottery bills.
- States in red had online lottery, but suspended sales.
- States in blue had an online lottery bill in 2017.
Breakdown of online lottery in the United States
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 are a social game and electronic scratch-off hybrid. 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.
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 $36.9 million in the first two years of the program.
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.
New Hampshire joined the group of U.S. states with online lottery after the governor signed a bill authorizing online lottery sales in July of 2017.
Kentucky became the next state to offer its lottery online. It began internet ticket sales 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.
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 Instant Keno and electronic 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.
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.