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Everything You Need to Know About Playing Online Lotteries

Unless you have been living under a rock your entire life, the chances are good that you have played or at least heard about lotteries. A true crowd-pleaser, online lotteries are played not only in the US but also across the globe, with millions of gamblers buying tickets for lotto draws. They provide players with a chance to participate in the national and global draws from the comfort of their own homes.

As with regular paper-based lotteries, online lotteries are virtual luck of draw games with huge prizes for winning tickets. The principles of playing these games are quite simple and straightforward – simply pick a set of numbers and wait for the draw which is scheduled for a later date. It can be a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly draw lottery.

After every draw, the winning tickets are paid out.  If no winning tickets were bought, the grand prize increases with every purchased ticket.  The process is that simple; you no longer have to leave your home to purchase a ticket at the gas station, convenience store, or other retail shops.

What’s more, a growing number of states and jurisdictions have legalized online lotteries. That means you can log into your favorite online casino and legally play all of the major lotto games, including classics like Pick 6 Lotto, Mega Millions, Powerball, Cash4Life, El Gordo Navidad, Euro Millions, and much more.

Some gambling sites also lump other luck of draw games like Keno, Scratch Cards, and mini lotto into this category. No matter the type, playing online lotteries can be incredibly fun, entertaining, and you can do so anytime, anywhere, and from any device — whether be that a desktop computer, tablet, or a mobile device.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about playing online lotteries.

Lotteries: A Brief History

Although the exact origins of lotteries are lost in time, early records show some signs of a keno-like lottery called the ‘white pigeon game’ from the imperial Chinese Western Han Dynasty (circa 202 BC to 220 AD). Most history and gambling scholars believe that these keno slips and other ancient Han-era lotteries were used primarily to fund key government projects, such as large ships, suspension bridges, and even the Great Wall of China. In fact, some historical documents, including the Chinese Book of Songs written in 2000 BC, refers to a certain game of luck that involves drawing wooden blocks.  When you consider the context, this may have been a rudimentary lottery game.

Ancient Romans are thought to have organized the first known form of lottery in Europe. At the time, these lotteries were held by the elite at dinner parties to entertain guests.  Each invitee was given a ticket and the prizes were lavish items like jewelry, fancy clothes, dinnerware, and so on. The lottery tickets were drawn at the end of the party and every party-goer was guaranteed of winning a prize.

A while later during the Roman Empire, Emperor Augustus Caesar introduced a kingdom-wide commercial lottery in which every citizen was required to purchase a ticket. After the draw, winners were given a collection of treasures and other articles that the army brought from their most recent conquest.  The money from the tickets was used to finance repairs in the capital city and maintenance of public streets.

In the Medieval Times, the so-called Low Countries of Belgica, Burgundy, Flanders, and the Netherlands introduced lotteries in the 15th century where the public was allowed to purchase tickets for a chance to win all sorts of prizes. The proceeds were used to fortify towns and build walls, as well as help the poor. At this time, the lotteries were considered a less painful form of taxation.

Ventura, which operated from 1476 in Modena (then an Italian city-state), was perhaps the first known public lottery in Europe to give money prizes to winners.  However, the Genoa Lottery was a game-changer and is often cited as the model for today’s lotteries. Despite facing massive resistance from the Roman Catholic Church, the Genoa lottery was so successful that this type of lottery quickly spread to other cities in Italy and beyond.

The Italian National Lottery (popularly known as Lotto) was launched in 1863 as the first national lottery.  It is still regarded as the foundation of popular gambling games such as bingo, keno, policy, and the numbers game.

The Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth I, commissioned the first British lottery in 1566 to help raise funds for harbor repairs and other public projects. The Virginia Company received permission to create the first lottery in colonial America in 1612 to fund the Jamestown settlement.

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, several lotteries were organized to finance public projects in England and the American colonies.  In fact, proceeds from lotteries were used to fund the American Revolution, build bridges, and establish elite colleges such as Yale, Columbia University, Dartmouth, and even Harvard University.  The same is more-or-less true of other western nations such as Germany, Spain, France, Belgium, and Finland.

In the modern way of talking, lotteries were first endorsed by the state. These lotteries proved to be so popular that they have organized state and national lotteries.  Legalized casinos were allowed to sell tickets for network lotteries or hold their own, along with scratch-offs. Private lotteries were instituted to run alongside state and national lotteries.  For instance, the Powerball lottery which is well-known for holding one of the biggest jackpots in the US, held its first draw in 1988 followed by Mega Millions in 1996.

The spread of the internet and the legalization of lottery gambling by some states have made it possible for gamblers to play online lotteries from wherever they may be.

How to Play Online Lotteries: Understanding the Rules

Great online lottery platforms make it effortless to access and play several different lotteries.  Everything you need is on a central platform.  You can safely & securely buy tickets in a jiffy. There is no queuing at the till, waiting for the printout of your ticket, or fixating on the TV for the results of a draw.

Online lotteries are a game of luck and they work in almost the same way.  Many variations of the games exist, depending on the type of game you prefer, but the stand lottery is a simple ‘luck-of-the-draw’ game. It uses a single pool of consecutive numbers, from which the player has to pick a pre-fixed set of numbers to win.

For instance, a 5/39 online lottery game calls for the player to pick five numbers from a pool of 39 options, e.g. 19, 39, 5, 1, and 10. To win the grand prize (aka the jackpot), you must precisely predict the 5 numbers. The same goes for 6/49, 7/49, 4/19, and other lottery variations.

Some of the biggest online lotteries have an extra pool of numbers, from which you must predict one or two. To win the jackpot, all your selections from both pools must match the drawn numbers.

Technically, the objective of the game is to select a set of numbers that is as close to the winning combination as possible. Depending on the lottery, you can still get a prize for missing one, two, or even three numbers in your selection. But when several players hit the winning combo (although this is rare), you will be required to split the jackpot equally.

Online lottery is a game that is usually played at a more leisurely level than, say, table games like blackjack, roulette, or baccarat. And you don’t need any special skill to take a swing. The prize money is pooled from ticket sales.  Jackpots are usually progressive, meaning that they increase in size after every draw in which the grand prize is not won.

When the jackpot is scooped by a lucky winner, the grand amount is reset to the pre-determined value and the cycle begins. The smaller prizes, however, do have fixed values.

Most online lotteries offer various betting options that may include:

  • Straight bet: In this case, you bet on a single number to appear on the draw. Some sites allow you to bet on two, three, or more numbers.
  • Combination bet: With this betting option, you choose however many numbers from 1-14 and include them in your other multi-bets.
  • Bonus ball number bet: If a lottery has a bonus ball, you can bet on the number, color, or both.
  • First-number bet: You bet on which number will be drawn first.
  • First-number odd/even: Similar to the betting option above, but you’re wagering on whether the first drawn ball will be an even or odd number. This is an even bet because you have a theoretical 50:50 chance of winning.
  • Total value bet: This one is a tough nut to crack, but if you can predict the total value of the drawn numbers, you’re in for big money!
  • Highest/lowest bet: As it sounds, you bet on the lowest or highest ball drawn. Not a small feat for even the luckiest punters!

What Are Some of the Advantages of Online Lotteries?

More and more people prefer to play online lotteries over traditional ones, for the simple reason that they are simpler, faster, and safer to play. But that isn’t all – here are the top advantages of playing online lotteries vs. buying physical lottery tickets.

- The internet is what makes the biggest difference

Thanks to online lotteries, playing your next lucky ticket could be a smooth, hassle-free, and cost-effective experience. You don’t have to drive to your local convenience store, wait in a long line, or deal with stares and judging eyes.

You can pick your lucky numbers at any time – on your commute to work, at the airport, in your cozy bed, from your comfy sofa, at the park, in your office, your name it. Talk about lottery made easy!

- You can take advantage of system betting

With system betting (also called combo betting) you select more than the standard set of numbers you would select on a traditional lottery game. For instance, you can pick a total of 10 numbers in a typical 6/49, meaning you have picked 4 extra numbers.

All of the ten numbers will be used in all possible combinations, giving you the opportunity to match more drawn balls for every round. This is one of the beautiful sides of playing online lotteries.  Note, however, that the more additional numbers you include the pricier it becomes.

- There is no chance of losing the ticket

If you have ever watched any movie that involves a lottery, you know the ticket is almost always missing when the player’s numbers are drawn.  Call us dramatic, but that’s something to take to heart if millions, if not billions of dollars are at stake.

With online lotteries, lost tickets are a thing of the past. In addition to being able to pick your lucky numbers without leaving your home, you will receive proof of your bet in an email. This not only helps you save the planet (yay for trees!) but also takes the hassle out of guarding your paper-based ticket from potential losses or damage.  Can you imagine hitting the jackpot, only to lose your ticket?  That would never be the case with online lotteries!

- Bet on some of the largest lotteries in one place

Can you imagine playing the Powerball, Mega Millions, Cash4Life, PALottery, and Euro Millions on the same platform? With the leading online lottery sites, that’s very possible! On top of that, you can also access online-exclusive prizes that will dramatically boost your win.

- Improve your winning chances with syndicate bets

One other bonus advantage of betting on online lotteries is the use of syndicate betting.  This method enhances your odds of winning without having to pay more.  When you join a syndicate bet, you will be wagering with multiple game lines, generating combo bets, and boosting your chances of winning.

- Get automatic results

The days of rushing to check the results on the TV are long gone. With online lotteries, you are able to get results automatically delivered right to your email inbox.

- You can bet well in advance

Betting on online lotteries has never been faster, easier, or more convenient!  Most online lottery sites have special features that enable you to buy your tickets or place your bets well ahead of the draw. That means you can bet even two months ahead, making sure that you never miss out on a big jackpot draw.

- You can reap from promotions and freebies

Some online lottery sites offer a wide selection of bonuses, cashbacks, and other promotions that gives you a chance to play on the house. You can also join VIP schemes and other reward programs to take advantage of even more lucrative perks.

Are There Any Tips and Strategies for Online Lotteries?

Sure, online lotteries are all about the luck-of-the-draw, but you can also use the following strategies and tips to bring your payday closer.

- Leverage syndicate bets

With syndicate betting, the general idea is to join a group of like-minded gamblers who want to scoop that fortune-changing lotto jackpot. It can be a group of coworkers, family, friends, or gamblers you met online.  You can pool your money and bet on many game lines.

It’s noteworthy that syndicate betting is based on the principle that the cost of all tickets is shared across the group and that everyone will also share in all the winnings. This method has gained tremendous traction in recent years.  Besides, it fosters a sense of community and belonging among lottery bettors.

- Choose a reputable online lottery site

Signing up with an online lottery site should be pretty easy and simple, taking only a couple of minutes. You will be requested to complete a standard form with your personal details, so you can get started. However, the real investigative work should start well before signing up.

To make sure you’re not dealing with a fraud, make sure the site is reputable and highly-rated by players. Constant complaints and low player rating is a telltale sign of a fly-by-night out to dupe you of your hard-earned dollars.

Good casinos are typically licensed and regulated by trustworthy authorities, most often respective state gaming boards.  Their lotteries should be routinely tested and audited for fairness and safety by an independent 3rd-party testing agency.

- Manage your bankroll wisely

It’s easy to get carried away by the prospect of winning a million-dollar jackpot. That’s why you should only bet what you can afford to lose. More importantly, set your lottery budget, whether it is part of a weekly or monthly budget — and stick to it. If you keep losing, know when to call it quits!

- Bonuses are your BFF

To start playing online lotteries on the right foot, hunt down online casinos and sites that offer large bonuses.  This will ensure that you start with a decent bankroll and get great value for your deposits.  Take advantage of no-deposit bonuses, deposit bonuses, and other lotto promos.

- Consider deposit and withdrawal options

A good variety of banking options for moving funds to and from your wagering wallet is vital for a smooth, hassle-free online lottery experience.  The casinos and lottery sites you consider should provide you with a wide range of options, including credit/debit cards, PayPal, wire transfer, prepaid cards, and other e-wallets.

- Customer support

Being able to chat with a human being when you have an issue can be reassuring, so scope out sites offering great customer support. They should be able to help you via live chat, email, or phone 24/7.

- Purchase more tickets

The most no-brainer strategy to enhance your odds of winning is to buy more tickets.  But this can easily reach a breaking point in which you will feel that you’re coughing up more money and still not winning big. This is where syndicate bets can come in handy.

- Keep an eye out for large jackpots

The probability of winning each draw is the same, so why not wait out for bigger prizes?  As the grand prize gets rolled over with each week that isn’t won, the jackpot will quickly balloon, giving you higher returns if you win.

- Check odds

Although the odds of striking a multi-state or network lottery are tremendous, they do differ from lottery to lottery. For instance, Mega Millions offers odds of 1: 302.6 million, while Powerball is at 1: 292.2 million.  Obviously, it’s better to buy a Powerball ticket than one for Mega Millions.

Are Online Lotteries Legal?

The short answer is yes – the vast majority of online lotteries are perfectly legal in states that run their own lotteries or those that have legalized internet gambling. The best news is that some of the biggest and best lotto draws across the globe, including those offered in the US, are actually state or government-run.

As we’ve mentioned, lotteries have long been used by governments, states, cities, towns, and local authorities to raise money for their projects. In most US states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Massachusetts, proceeds from the lotteries contribute directly to their educational, correctional, and development programs. As part of their close ties with governing authorities, lotteries are almost universally regulated and legal.

When it comes to online lotteries, the law can be a little hazy.  What’s generally accepted is that they are legal, but you must purchase the ticket within the state where you win the lottery. For instance, you must purchase an Illinois State Lottery ticket within the Land of Lincoln in order to win legally.

However, multi-state lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions can be won in any participating state.  As of writing, at least a dozen states allow the purchase of online lottery tickets – namely, Delaware (through state-licensed online casinos), Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Online purchases of lottery tickets were terminated in Minnesota in 2015.

As with traditional lotteries, all online lottery wins exceeding $600 are subject to both state and federal taxes. For American citizens, the state can take up to 8.95 percent in income taxes, while the federal government will shave 24 percent off your jackpot prize.  Federal income tax on your winnings can go up to 37 percent.

Conclusion

Online lotteries are all the rage.  You can sign into your favorite gambling site to buy tickets for the best state-run and big-jackpot lotteries like Powerball, Mega Millions, or Cash4Life. Now that you know the history of online lotteries, their rules, and strategies, we bet you’ll try your luck today.