State lotteries are the most popular form of gambling in the US. Tens of millions of people play every week. And now you can play the lottery online, so long as you live in the right state.
You can buy lottery tickets online in the US. Thanks to a ruling on the Wire Act, online lottery sites have been legal in America since 2011. This means anyone age 18+ in states like VA, MI, and PA can play for prizes topping $100 million. Not only that, modern lottery websites offer a variety of tools, tips, and promotions designed to give you more value each time you play.
This guide is your entry point into the US lottery market. As well as showing you the best places to play, we’ll outline how to buy lottery tickets online, the games available, and how one who buys lottery tickets online can get more value. So, if you want to play the best lotteries online, scroll down for more.
Want to know what the best lottery sites in the US are? The official sites below are leading lights in the business and the only way to buy tickets in a safe, secure, and cost-effective way.
Yes, you can buy lottery tickets online. Specifically, there are three types of online lottery operator in the US:
Lottery agents are people that buy tickets on your behalf. Online lottery sites such as Jackpocket connect you to agents in your state. These lottery agents go out, buy tickets on your behalf, and upload them to a secure online database. Lottery agents can’t claim your prize. So, if you win, the ticket is couriered to your door so you can claim it.
The crucial difference between a lottery betting site and an official lottery website is that you’re not actually buying tickets. Instead, you’re betting on the outcome of a draw. You stake the price of a ticket but, again, you’re not buying official lottery tickets. However, if you bet on the right numbers, you will win a prize commensurate with what you would have won if had you bought an official ticket.
Official lottery sites are the only places you can buy tickets online. These sites are typically own and operated by the state and they provide a direct route into local and national draws. These are the lottery sites we recommend. There are benefits to lottery betting sites and agents. However, if you want to buy official lottery tickets directly from a website, you need to use one of these platforms.
Official lottery sites are the best way to go if you want easy access to tickets, promotions, results, and more. Below are three of the top lottery websites in the US.
From lottery subscriptions to bonuses and discounts, the Michigan Lottery website has everything you need. As you’d expect, ticket sales form the backbone of this platform. As well as one-off purchases, you can set up a lottery subscription and the software will buy tickets on your behalf.
There are plenty of lotteries to choose from, including Lotto 47, Powerball, and Mega Millions. Michigan Online Lottery also offers instant win scratchcards, pull tab games, raffles, and keno.
The final reason we believe this is one of the best official lottery sites is the tools it offers. As well as guides on how to buy lottery tickets online, this app allows you to review past results and see which numbers are “hot” and “cold.”
Active since: 1972
Available for: Michigan players aged 18+
Best For: Great for lottery tools such as result checkers and buying guides.
Accepts: Visa Debit, MasterCard Debit, PayPal, Discover
The Pennsylvania Online Lottery is among the best in the US. One of the reasons it’s among the top lottery agents is its promotions. New customers can get up to $500 free when they use our sign up link on this page to create an account and make a deposit.
PA Lottery online also gives you access to a wide variety of games, including lottery draws, scratchcards, and progressive jackpot connect games (similar to slots). Finally, you can get the inside track on all the latest lottery results, use the quick pick tool, and set up lottery subscriptions.
Active since: 1971
Available for: Pennsylvania players aged 18+
Best For: Fantastic promotions, including a welcome bonus worth up to $500.
Accepts: Visa Debit, MasterCard Debit, PayPal, ACH Transfer, PayNearMe, Discover, Play+, WebCash
This lottery has been running for over 30 years and, thanks to the wonders of the internet, it’s evolved significantly since it launched. Today, as well as giving you access to official lotteries via desktop and mobile devices, you can check lottery results online, get free tickets, and play a variety of casino-style games.
We love the community spirit of the Virginia Lottery. Winners get a place in the site’s news and updates section. Beyond this, we think lottery players in the state will love the annual raffle. Instead of lame prizes like a bottle of wine, the Virginia State Lottery raffle offers cash prizes ranging from $500 to $1 million!
Active since: 1987
Available for: Virginia players in the state aged 18+
Best For: Access to all the biggest lotteries, including MegaMillions, and great promotions like eXTRA Chance free ticket giveaways.
Accepts: Visa Debit, MasterCard Debit, PayPal, ACH Transfer
When you strip everything back, official online lotteries share some important traits. We use these traits to find the best online lottery sites and, moreover, determine legit operators from potentially dangerous platforms. With this in mind, here are the qualities you need to look out for:
You should only use licensed lottery sites. These sites will be regulated by a state gaming authority and their licensing details should be visible on the website. Regulated sites are not only legal but extremely secure. As well as reputable payment methods and password protected accounts, you’ll have SSL encryption software keeping your personal details safe.
Scam sites are out to make a quick buck and don’t care about the user experience. Legit online lottery sites do care, which is why they’ll invest in their products and offer a quality service.
The best lottery sites offer plenty of games and promotions. You should be able to play online lottery games available in your state and nationwide. For example, if you’re in Oregon, you should be able access the Oregon Lottery game, Megabucks. You should also have the option to buy lottery tickets for Powerball, MegaMillions, and other national draws. Finally, legit online lottery sites offer scratchcards, keno, raffles, discount ticket, and lottery syndicates.
You should be wary of any lottery site that doesn’t offer secure, reputable payment options. As a general rule, you should be able to make deposits and withdrawals with Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and ACH.
The final way to find popular lottery sites is to read our reviews. As well as profiling legal lottery sites, we’ve got guides, exclusive promotions, and more. We’re one of the biggest online gambling sites and we stake our reputation on the advice we offer. Therefore, you can be confident that our recommendations are always on point.
There are lottery games aplenty in the US. State draws are great and form the backbone of any licensed lottery site. However, if you want to play for jackpots capable of reaching $100 million+, it’s worth trying national draws.
Our recommended lottery sites offer instant access to these games via your desktop or mobile. Some of the lottery games you should look out for are:
Powerball is a multi-state lottery that takes place three times per week. The average Powerball jackpot is over $140 million and tickets for this game cost just $2.
You can buy Powerball tickets online at any official lottery site, including those in Virginia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Mega Millions is the second biggest lottery in the US. The average jackpot is over $50 million, and tickets cost $2 each. The odds of winning a Mega Millions jackpot are slightly longer than Powerball, but the overall odds of winning any prize are 1 in 24.
You can buy Mega Millions tickets from our recommended licensed online lottery sites.
The list of states offering official online lottery sites is growing year on year. There were 12 online state lotteries right now but expect there to be more in the future. These are official vendors and not sites that offer lottery betting online. So, if you’re old enough and located in one of the following states, you can play US draws such as MegaMillions and Powerball:
Multi-state lotteries are available across the US. The two biggest multi-state lotteries are Mega Millions and Powerball. However, there are others, including Tri-State Megabucks (available to gamble on from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont).
Multi-state lotteries are accompanied by local draws at our recommended sites. For example, Pennsylvania Online Lottery offers nine draw games, including Cash 4 Life, Treasure Hunt, and Millionaire Raffle.
You don’t always have to pay full price for a lottery ticket when you play online. Licensed operators might have a monopoly in their state when it comes to lottery games. However, they’re also part of the local community and contribute to local projects and charities.
Therefore, it pays to get more people playing. Multi-million-dollar jackpots are appealing, but everyone loves a freebie. The best lottery operators know this, which is why they offer these promotions and bonuses:
Official US lottery sites don’t charge a premium for their services. In other words, purchasing lottery tickets online won’t cost you any more than if you visited a local store. In fact, thanks to lottery bonuses and promotions, you often get more bang for your buck when you play online.
|Powerball ticket||Mega Millions ticket|
It’s important to be vigilant when you buy instant lottery tickets online. There are sites that claim to offer legit tickets at a discount rate. However, unless it’s an official operator, the ticket may not be legit.
That’s why you should use our recommended sites when you purchase lotto tickets online. These sites do offer bonuses and promotions, such as free tickets and discounts.
We’ve shown you how to purchase lottery tickets online, but we can’t ignore the thorny issue of taxes. If you’re lucky enough to win some money when you play US lottery online, you will have to pay tax.
The good news is that online lotto sites will help. They’ll deal with tax payments on prizes of $600 or less. If you win anything over $600, you’ll be sent a W2-G form to fill out and submit to the IRS.
Finally, if you win anything over $5,000, state online lottery operators will send you a W2-G form and automatically withhold 24% federal tax and whatever the rate is in your state.
The best way to play popular lotteries is to buy your tickets online. Local stores are great, but you have to go out, remember to take some sort of payment method, choose your numbers, and return home. A lottery website brings the games to you.
Also, the site can store your payment details for next time. Moreover, you’ll be able to buy tickets whenever and wherever you like.
Finally, the best online lottery sites offer bonuses and discounts. So, based on these factors alone, it’s almost always better to use a lottery website if you want to play MegaMillions et al.
Can you buy Powerball tickets online? Yes, you can! In fact, it’s easy to play Powerball online. All you have to do is join one of our recommended online lottery betting services and make a deposit. From there, you can follow these steps to buy a Powerball lottery ticket via your desktop or mobile:
OK, so you like Powerball but you also want to know how to play Mega Millions online? Not a problem. The best online lottery sites offer Mega Millions tickets and buying them is easy:
Mega Millions lottery online tickets can be completed in two ways. You can manually select your numbers. Alternatively, the best online lottery sites offer a quick pick feature that selects random numbers. Here are the steps you need to complete, regardless of the method you use:
An official lottery website not only makes it easy to buy tickets but claim prizes. Indeed, you can only collect lottery winnings from a local or national game if you’ve used a recognised vendor. Again, this is another reason to use official platforms rather than lottery agent sites or betting sites.
The operators listed in this guide are the best places to play any major US lottery . As well as being secure, they make everything as smooth and simple as possible. Therefore, if you play lotto online, just follow these steps:
Online lottery players can check lotto numbers via their chosen website/mobile app. For example, Virginia Lottery Online has a “check my numbers” tool. All you have to do is input your numbers, select a draw date and the system will check to see if you’ve won a prize. All the best lottery sites offer similar tools. They also record and publish results so you can check your numbers manually.
Your chosen online lottery agent will publish the latest results as well as information about past draws. In fact, as well as showing you previous draws, online lotteries tell you how much money was won in a particular game and if there were any unclaimed prizes.
Yes, you can. The best lottery site in your state will offer its services via desktop computers and mobile devices. As long as you’re old enough and within the relevant state, you’ll be able to play lotteries via your iPhone, iPad, Android, or any other mobile device.
Yes, in certain situations you can play lotteries for free. There are plenty of discounts, prize draws, and bonuses that give you more for less. There are also free lottery sites offering exclusive promotions where you can get gratis tickets in return for completing certain tasks.
|Lottery||Jackpot Winning Odds|
|USA - Powerball||1 in 292,201,338|
|USA - MegaMillions||1 in 302,575,350|
|Europe - EuroMillions||1 in 139,838,160|
Playing the lottery is great, but it’s important to understand that your odds of winning jackpots can be long. The easiest lottery jackpot to win is Europe’s EuroMillions. However, even that is almost a 1 in 140 million shot.
Of course, the counterargument here is that you’re buying online lottery tickets to win huge sums of money. So, even though the odds are long, the potential returns are more than worth the gamble. Moreover, once you learn how to play the lottery online, you’ll discover your chances of winning any single prize are pretty good.
For example, your odds of winning $2 on Mega Millions are 1 in 37. Moreover, your chance of winning any prize at all is 1 in 24. So, while you will almost certainly play lotteries to try and win massive prizes, it’s important to remember that you’ll also have ways to pick up smaller payouts along the way.
We can’t show you how to play lottery online without discussing the why. Online lotteries are legal in the US and turning point came in 2011. Operators in New York and Illinois challenged the Wire Act with regards to online lottery ticket sales.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) ruled that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting and, therefore, lottery websites weren’t in breach of the law. This historic ruling led to an explosion of online lottery sites in the US. State operators launched desktop and mobile apps offering ticket sales, promotions, and online lottery subscription services.
Things almost changed in 2019 when the DOJ updated its opinion on the Wire Act. The new opinion stated that online lottery sites could only operate within state lines.
In other words, cross-state communications were deemed unlawful and, as such, lottery tickets for national draws were illegal. However, this ruling was quickly challenged and, today, it has been all but overturned. Thus, it’s still legal for US residents to use lottery sites.
Lotteries lead the way when it comes to prize money. Don’t believe us? OK, well here are some of the biggest US lottery jackpots in history:
There was one winner hailing from Michigan.
There was one winner hailing from Wisconsin.
There was one Mega Millions winner hailing from South Carolina.
There was one winner hailing from Massachusetts.
There were three winners hailing from California, Florida, and Tennessee.
In addition to official online vendors and other lottery sites, you can play games inside live bingo halls. These bricks and mortar venues not only sell lottery tickets but, as you’d expect, offer bingo.
There are hundreds of bingo halls in the US, many of which have games where prize can top $100,000. Given that lotteries and bingo have similar dynamics (i.e. random numbers being draw from a drum), it’s easy to see why these venues are a nice counterpart to the best online lottery site in your region.
Some of the leading land-based bingo halls in the US are:
Yes. It's possible to buy tickets on a one-off basis or set up a lottery subscription at officially licensed lotto sites.
The best online lottery site is the one that serves your region. For example, if you're in the Keystone State, you should play Pennsylvania lottery online.
Yes, it is. Lottery websites are not only protected by SSL encryption but regulated and operated by state-backed betting agencies.
Yes, you can. As long as you're 18+ and in a state where it's legal to play the lottery online, you can buy tickets via your computer or mobile.
You can play Powerball by visiting one of our recommended lottery sites, choosing six numbers, and paying $2 for your ticket.
Mega Millions tickets cost $2 each.
Yes. These lottery tickets can be bought using debit cards, PayPal, or ACH at licensed sites.
Mega Millions draws take place on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11pm ET.
Yes, you can. Mega Millions lottery tickets can be bought at official sites if you're 18+ and in a state where online lottos are legal.
Yes. The expiration period will vary between lotteries. However, Powerball and Mega Millions tickets expire 180 days after the winner numbers have been announced.
Mega Millions is available in 45 US states and two regions. The only places you can't play Mega Millions are Nevada, Utah, Alabama, Hawaii, and Alaska.
You can buy as many Powerball lottery tickets as you can afford. To cover every combination, you'd need to spend $585 million.
You need to be 18 or older to buy lotto tickets in the US.
Yes. As well as state tax, you'll need to pay federal tax of 24% on anything you win.
The biggest US lottery prize in history was won by three anonymous players in 2016. They shared a Powerball jackpot of $1.58 billion. The biggest single US lottery winner was also anonymous, and they scooped a $1.53 billion Mega Millions jackpot in 2018.
You can visit their website and look through a list of local retailers if you want to buy lotto tickets in NYC. Follow this page for New York online gambling updates.
"Over the last 10 years Joss has written about all aspects of online gambling for numerous sites. After a career as an Army officer, he spent time in business before taking up online poker. He lives in Peru with his family."
Reviewer since July 2021