Online vs Offline Lottery Tickets
Many people, especially the younger generation, now play the lottery online. It is faster, more convenient and fits nicely with their smartphone lifestyle. No pens, no shops, no opening hours to deal with, it’s all a matter of a device and an internet connection. Many don’t bother watching the televised draw as phone notifications will let them know if they are a winner. But some people stick with buying tickets offline- habit, nostalgia and a reluctance to have every part of their life in the online world come into play here. Let’s look at the features of both approaches.
Online vs Offline Purchasing
One of the key differences between offline and online play is the location where you buy your tickets: in-store versus a website like National-Lottery.co.uk. When you buy offline, it’s a straightforward transaction (although some UK retailers may ask for ID to verify that customers meet the 16-years age limit). By contrast, when playing online, users have to register for an account and provide personal details such as name, address, date of birth, gender and email address – as well as debit card details in order to process payments. But this just needs to be done once, after which, purchasing becomes a very quick process.
Security and Notification
Another significant difference is the level of security available online. For example, if you buy a ticket in a shop and subsequently lose it, it's very difficult to prove the win and claim the prize. Likewise, if a player forgets to check the results of a draw, they may also fail to claim their prize in the event of a win. On the other hand, with an online lottery ticket, there is a record of all tickets purchased and numbers played. Players will typically receive email alerts within 24 hours if they've won a prize, with the funds often being transferred straight to their account. The exception to this is in cases where players scoop a jackpot or other large prize – this will usually require the winner to either collect the prize in-person where they can prove their identity. Online users can also choose to get an email reminder when a really big jackpot is running so they don’t miss out.
Buying lottery tickets online comes with the benefit of several convenient features, such as
- Store and replay tickets. Here you set up a direct debit and this allows you to play your selected numbers every week via an automated payment process. You don’t have to remember to play and you never miss a draw. The UK's National Lottery allows you to do this.
- Select random numbers. Although some in-store lottery machines can offer this function, it is far easier to randomly select numbers online. For example, when playing the UK's National Lottery, all entrants have to do is click 'Lucky Dip' and they are assigned a random number combination.
- Anytime, anywhere play. There is no need to visit a store to purchase tickets and you avoid the hassle of long queues when there is a huge jackpot. Smartphone apps let you pay, play, check your numbers and results anytime you want, from any place with an internet connection.
Types of Games
In the UK, online players have access to the country's four major draws via the National Lottery website – Lotto, EuroMillions, Thunder Ball and Lotto Hotpicks. One key difference from the offline experience, however, is the selection of scratch card options on offer: online players will find a very wide selection of instant win games to choose from (more than you would expect to find in-store) – and, unlike a shop, there's no risk of your favourite scratch card being out of stock.
Another key advantage of playing online is the opportunity to participate in lotteries from around the world, some of which (like the Mega Millions, Italy's SuperEnalotto or Spain's La Primitiva draw) routinely rack up enormous jackpots. Lottery concierge websites like TheLotter and GiantLottos work by either sending out local staff members to purchase tickets in the relevant country on behalf of overseas online players, or by acting as a betting service, whereby players pick their numbers and effectively bet on the outcome of the draw (without actually purchasing a ticket).
These websites also offer the chance to join online syndicates for major overseas draws (in which players buy 'shares' in exchange for a proportion of any winnings) which can boost individuals' chances of winning, thanks to collective purchasing power – without the effort and admin involved in organising an offline syndicate.