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Lotteries US

Publish Date: 30/05/2021
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Captaingambling 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.

There are a lot of ways to make money in the 21st century but the fastest and easiest way to do that is to engage in playing lottery games. Every second, minute, hour, day, week, month and year, millions of billionaires are being made out of playing lottery games. What are you waiting for? Hurry, join the league of winners, make the best out of this opportunity and start counting your money.

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Important Facts about Lottery Games

  • Lottery games provide a huge opportunity for instant winning.
  • Online Lottery is the next big thing in lottery gambling.
  • Your security and privacy is guaranteed with online lotto games

History of Online Lottery Games

People have been playing lottery and lotto games as early as 205BC before the advent of computers. The oldest records of lotto are Keno slips which originated from the Chinese Han Dynasty. The Romans also engaged in a form of lottery where party guests were given tickets and prizes were giving for exact numbers drawn. In the early 20th-century lottery games were not permitted by some countries around the world while some countries embraced them for revenue generation. Lottery games started gaining popularity after World War II. There has been a rapid rise in lottery companies and games since then.

The first winner of the Grand National was named ‘lottery’. The word ‘lottery’ originated from the Dutch word loterij, which itself originates from the Dutch noun ‘lot’ which means ‘fate’.

Playing of the lottery was formerly restricted to a geographical location but with the advent of the internet in early 1990s, many lottery companies took their brands global. These companies are run by both private and state bodies.

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.

Where can you Play Lottery Games Online for Money?

There is a reason it is called online lottery games. It is to grant unlimited access to people all over the world to utilize the opportunity of making quick money. Although, there are some exceptions. It is better to find out if the online lottery game allows entry from your country, and from which region. Also check for age restrictions and limitations. For more relevant information, we invite all players to check our lottery comparison page and find out there they can play lottery online with absolute ease and comfort.

In this article, we have identified lottery games as the fastest and easiest way to make money. The different types of lottery games and how they are played have been dissected. We traced the history of online lottery games, how lottery games work and those who can play lottery games online for money. Hurry, make use of this opportunities, have fun while making money.


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.

New Hampshire

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.

New York

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

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.

North Dakota

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.

How Does Online Lottery Work?

Just open a free lotto account with your favorite online lottery website or a reputable online lottery game website. Choose the offer you are interested in. Buy your ticket. Place your order and wait for the drawn numbers. You pay for your lottery ticket by choosing one of the online payment methods such as credit cards, debit cards, PayPal or one of the e-wallets. Your purchased tickets will be displayed in your user account.

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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.

Lottery Games: Types and Factors

With each new day comes entirely different types of lottery games to choose from. This has opened players to several opportunities. The different types of lottery games include:


Lotto consists of six numbers drawn from a wide range of numbers such as 11, 20, 22, 34, 43 and 49. In some countries for instance, 6 numbers are drawn out of a possible 55 or out of a possible 50. All that needs to be done is for the player to tick boldly his six chosen numbers on a play slip. He submits this slip to a lottery agent. The agent enters the preselected numbers in the on-line terminal, which produces the player’s game ticket. The ticket is the receipt that validates the win of the player when presented. The players must ascertain that the correct date and numbers are entered on the game ticket before taking their leave. Lottery agents can be seen at almost everywhere. Lotto drawings hold at least twice a week, especially on Wednesdays and Saturday nights.

How Lotto Works

Special ball drawing machines are used by lottery officials to randomly shoot six selected balls. These balls are numbered and they show winning numbers for the day’s lottery drawings. Where all the six preselected numbers you have chosen correctly matches the numbers drawn, you are declared the winner. Your preselected number need not be listed in a special order, so far they correctly match the drawn numbers. Where more than one person wins, the prize money is shared among the winners. If there is no winner, the prize money rolls over and becomes larger. If you are able to match three, four or five of the numbers drawn, you will still win a prize.

Prize Money Winnable

The prize money winnable considerably depends on several circumstances such as the total numbers of winners, the sale for the drawings and the population of players in each state.

Little Lottos:

The method of playing little lottos is quite similar to that of lotto, only that they have better odds and are regularly played than lotto.

How To Play

Five numbers must be preselected by you out of a provided field of numbers. These numbers must be clearly marked on your play slip. Present this slip to a lottery agent who will promptly give you your game ticket. The method of choosing the winner is the same as that of lotto. Only that five numbers are drawn this time around instead of six. The drawings of little lotto holds, six to seven days a week. The prize money is also the same as that of lotto but there are better odds of winning with little lottos and smaller prize amounts can be won with three or four numbers that match.

The Dailies:

The dailies can be played once a day, twice a day or six days a week.

How to Play

The dailies consist of two games, the pick 3 and pick 4. For Pick 3, players are allowed to choose three digits from 000 to 999 while for pick 4, they are allowed to choose four digits’ number from 0000 to 9999. They have their own special play slips with different types of plays. The common types of plays are: exact order (straight), any order (box), exact/any (straight/box), or combination.

If you play any number and your three numbers are drawn, you win irrespective of the order in which they are drawn. If you play exact/any and your digits correspond with the exact numbers drawn, you win prizes for both exact and any. If you tick the correct digits, you will still win smaller payoff even if it is not in the correct order. Combination covers all bets; it gives you all possible exact combinations of the three digits you ticked on one ticket. If for a Pick 3 game you picked digits 3-1-2 and the drawn digits are 2-3-1, you win nothing if you ticked exact order.

The payout of most dailies does not depend on the pool of players. Dailies often have fixed prize money. The odds are not as much as that of lotto, so also is the payout. The odds of choosing three numbers in right order is 1,000 to 1 while the odds of choosing four numbers in right order is 10,000 to 1.

Multi-state Games:

States with smaller pool of players come together to create games that have bigger jackpots. An example of this type of game is Mega Millions majorly played in the USA. It is played in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

Mega Millions has two separate drawings, the bonus type ball or the mega ball and the mega jackpots with mega odds. For instance, in 2000, it offered the largest jackpot in North American history for $363 million. There is also the Powerball game by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) which is played in 29 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Powerball has great odds against winning. But its formidable payoff has made it one of the most popular lottery games in America.

How To Play

If a player correctly chooses five digits drawn from a field of 55 (5/55) and also rightly choose the Powerball number, which is drawn from a field of 42 (1/42), he wins. Two separate ball-drawing machines are used for this game and the drawings are held on Wednesday and Saturday nights. You can also win smaller amounts for choosing some numbers correctly.

Instant Games:

Instant games or scratch off games does not allow number selection. All you have to do is to buy tickets and scratch the ticket surface or pull off a tab. The ticket indicates if you win or not and you get your prize instantly.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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.

Can I play lotteries online?

You can play lotteries online but only in some US states, as explained earlier in this article. At the moment, there is about a dozen states where you can play online, either by allowing you to purchase tickets outright or use the subscription model.

It is perfectly legal to buy your tickets online. If you’re living in a state where such services are offered by the state lottery there is absolutely nothing to worry about from the legal stand-point.

How lottery makes money?

In the US, only a certain percentage of all lottery sales goes towards the prize pool (usually between 51 and 65 percent, depending on the state). The rest of the money is distributed between various state funds and, of course, reserved for lotteries’ operational expenses.

Are lotteries worth playing?

From a purely mathematical point of view, lotteries aren’t worth it as your chances of winning are slim. At the same time, they give you a shot at a huge windfall and can be quite exciting. So, as long as you’re playing within your means and do it for fun, lotteries are definitely worth it.

Are lottery winnings subject to tax?

Like all other gambling winnings, winnings from lotto and lotteries are subject to tax as well. You’ll be liable for federal taxes of around 24 percent while state taxes differ from one state to another. In some of the states, you won’t have to pay any additional taxes.

Can I claim my winnings online?

This will depend on the state you’re playing in. Some of them will let you only claim small winnings online while in others you’ll be able to claim wins of up to USD 50,000. In general, though, all wins in excess of this amount can only be claimed in person.

Can lottery winners remain anonymous?

At the moment, there are only six US states that allow for lottery winners to stay anonymous, namely North Dakota, South Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, and Kansas. In the rest of the states, you won’t be able to keep your identity a secret unless you receive your winnings through a trust.

When do lottery tickets expire?

Different states and different lotteries have varying laws on this topic. In general, for most major draws, you’ll need to claim your winnings within six months (180 days).

Which lottery numbers should I pick?

Whatever numbers you pick, you’ll have same chances of winning. There is no way to predict lottery numbers based on past results or any other means, so you can pick any numbers that you feel are “lucky” for whatever reason.

Can I play a lottery on a different site besides my state lottery?

In general, you can’t do this. While there may be an occasional exception, you should only buy tickets on the site for your state lottery to make sure you’ll be able to claim your winnings without any issues.

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