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Which US states allow online lottery?

Online lottery has become increasingly popular in recent years, allowing players to purchase lottery tickets and participate in lottery games over the internet. However, not all states allow online lottery play. Let’s take a look at which states currently permit online lottery and which states prohibit it.

States that Allow Online Lottery

Currently, there are only a handful of states that allow their state lottery to be played online. These states are:

  • Michigan
  • Kentucky
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Delaware

In these states, players can purchase tickets for games like Powerball and Mega Millions online through the official state lottery website or sanctioned third-party lottery ticket courier services. The tickets are still purchased within the state and players must be physically located within the state at the time of purchase. Winnings are still subject to state and federal tax withholdings.


Michigan was one of the first states to launch online lottery sales in 2014. Players in Michigan can purchase tickets online for games like Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto 47, Fantasy 5, Keno, and Daily games. All ticket sales must be initiated from computers/devices located within the state borders. Players must also be 18 years or older. In 2019, online lottery sales in Michigan generated over $104 million in revenue for the state.


Kentucky launched online lottery ticket sales in 2016 through its official lottery website. Players can purchase tickets online for multi-state games like Powerball and Mega Millions as well as in-state games like Kentucky Cash Ball and 5 Card Cash. Players must be at least 18 years old and initiating the ticket purchase when physically located within Kentucky state borders.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire became the third state to allow online lottery sales when it launched in 2017. Players can purchase tickets online for Powerball, Mega Millions, Tri-State Megabucks Plus, Gimme 5, Fast Play games, and more. Players must be located within New Hampshire state borders at time of ticket purchase and be at least 18 years old.

North Carolina

North Carolina launched online lottery in 2019 through the state lottery’s official website. Players located within North Carolina can purchase tickets online for multi-state games like Powerball and Mega Millions as well as in-state games like Pick 3, Pick 4, Cash 5, and more. Players must be 18 or older.


The Pennsylvania lottery also began offering online lottery ticket sales in 2018. PA residents 18 years or older can purchase tickets for Powerball, Mega Millions, Cash4Life, Treasure Hunt, Match 6, PICK games, and more. Players must be located within Pennsylvania at time of purchase through a computer or mobile device.


Virginia allows state lottery players to purchase tickets online as of 2020. Games like Powerball, Mega Millions, Cash4Life, Pick 3, Pick 4, Cash 5, and Bank a Million are available online to VA residents 18+ who initiate the purchase from within Virginia state borders.


Delaware launched online lottery ticket sales in 2021. DE residents 18 years or older can purchase tickets online for multi-state games like Powerball and MegaMillions. Delaware also offers a range of in-state draw games and instant win games online.

States that Prohibit Online Lottery

The majority of states still prohibit online lottery ticket sales entirely. These states require players to purchase lottery tickets in person from authorized retailers. States that currently prohibit online lottery include:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

There are a variety of reasons states may be resistant to implementing online lottery sales. These include concerns over fraud, underage gambling, loss of tax revenue from in-person sales, and fears it may increase problem gambling rates. Some states are considering legislation to allow online lottery, but most appear to be taking a cautious approach for now.

The Legal Status of Online Lottery in the U.S.

The online sale of state lottery tickets across state lines is prohibited under the Interstate Wire Act of 1961. This federal law bans the transmission of betting information across state lines via wire communications like the internet. The law was primarily aimed at cracking down on illegal bookmaking operations at the time.

However, a 2011 Department of Justice (DOJ) opinion stated that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting and not other forms of gambling. This opened the door for states to allow online lottery ticket sales in-state only. The DOJ reversed this opinion in 2018, stating the Wire Act applies to all forms of gambling crossing state lines. However, the legality of intrastate online lotteries has not been challenged.

So while the online or mobile purchase of lottery tickets across state lines remains illegal, states can launch online lottery operations that only sell tickets to adults physically located within that state at the time of purchase.

Arguments For and Against Online Lottery

There are arguments on both sides of the online lottery debate:

Arguments For Online Lottery

  • Increased revenue – Online lottery sales generate significantly more revenue for states than retail sales alone.
  • Improved convenience – Players can purchase tickets any time without visiting a retailer.
  • Broadened access – Reaches potential players who live far from lottery retailers or have limited mobility.
  • Enhanced player experience – Players can check numbers, collect winnings, and manage accounts online.
  • Reduced fraud – Tickets purchased directly from the state with player accounts helps reduce fraud.
  • Modernizes lotteries – Brings lotteries into the digital age with more secure purchasing.

Arguments Against Online Lottery

  • May promote excessive gambling – Easier access may lead to more impulsive lottery play.
  • Underage gambling risks – Harder for states to enforce age restrictions online.
  • Reduced in-person sales – Could impact revenues for in-person lottery retailers.
  • Technical issues – Website crashes or hacking could prevent ticket purchases and disrupt games.
  • Winner verification concerns – Ensuring real individuals claim prizes is harder online.
  • Loss of tax revenue – States may lose out on sales tax applied to in-person purchases.

The Future of Online Lottery in the U.S.

While online lottery is currently limited to just a handful of states, more states will likely pursue it as a new source of revenue in the coming years. With nearly half of Americans purchasing lottery tickets and millennials showing the highest participation rates, demand for the option to purchase lottery tickets online will likely continue growing.

Some key advantages like increased revenues, enhanced customer convenience, and modernization of state lotteries will appeal to many states struggling with tight budgets. However, lawmakers will have to enact careful regulations around age verification, fraud prevention, and problem gambling to alleviate concerns from critics.

It is unlikely online lottery sales will be permitted across state lines anytime soon due to restrictions in federal law. States will continue pushing for legislation to allow regulated intrastate online lottery sales and multiplayer lotteries between compacted states could emerge. But the technology does not yet exist to reliably verify the location of players for nationwide online lottery play.

While adding online lottery sales does come with risks, carefully regulated programs could be a prudent way for lotteries to grow revenues while enhancing responsible play. The handful of states now offering online lottery provide models for other states to follow in creating safe, restricted online lottery programs if they ultimately choose to pursue this new avenue of gambling within their borders.

Frequently Asked Questions

What states allow you to buy lottery tickets online?

Currently only 7 states offer online lottery ticket sales: Michigan, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Delaware. Players must be physically located within the state borders at the time of purchase.

Can I play the Powerball online?

Powerball can be purchased online in some states including Michigan, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia which offer online lottery sales. Players must be located within the state at the time of purchase. Sales across state lines online remain prohibited.

Is buying lottery tickets online legal?

Yes, it is legal to purchase state lottery tickets online in states that offer it. However, the purchase must be initiated from within the state borders and players cannot purchase tickets in other states online due to federal law.

Can you buy lottery tickets online in California?

No, California does not currently allow online lottery ticket sales. Lottery tickets in California can only be purchased in-person from authorized retailers throughout the state.

What states let you play lottery online?

Michigan, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Delaware are the only states that currently allow their state lottery games to be played online. Players need to be physically located within the state at time of purchase.

State Online Lottery Launch Year
Michigan 2014
Kentucky 2016
New Hampshire 2017
North Carolina 2019
Pennsylvania 2018
Virginia 2020
Delaware 2021

Can you win real money on online lottery?

Yes, players can win real cash prizes when playing official state online lottery games in states where it is legal and regulated. Winnings are still subject to federal and state tax withholding and reporting requirements.

What states are close to legalizing online lottery?

States like Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Illinois have considered bills or conducted studies on regulating online lottery sales in recent years. However, legislative efforts have stalled to date. States taking a wait-and-see approach as more data comes in from early adopters.

What states have online gambling?

In addition to the states that allow regulated online lotteries, a handful of states also allow other forms of online gambling like online sports betting, casinos, poker, and more. These include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, Delaware, Nevada, and West Virginia.


Online lottery play remains limited but growing slowly across the U.S. A small number of states now operate regulated online lottery programs open to adults within their borders. However, the vast majority of states still do not allow lottery ticket sales over the internet due to a mix of legal and public policy concerns. While online lottery offers both benefits and drawbacks, consumer demand and state desires for increased revenues may compel more states to pursue regulated online lottery programs down the road.