Online Lottery is a growing trend in lottery play, allowing players to access all the same games as they would at a traditional lottery outlet. This allows players to take part in multiple lottery draws at once and compare jackpots, odds and more without ever leaving their homes or offices. Some online lotteries are government-run while others are private businesses that act as middlemen for the actual games. The best online lottery sites are well-regulated by gambling commissions.
Most online lotteries offer a variety of payment methods including Visa and MasterCard. These allow players from around the world to participate. Some also offer USSD – a menu-based system that lets players use their mobile phone keypads to place bets, particularly in rural areas with limited Wi-Fi infrastructure. Some sites also offer additional services like bonuses and promotions and a single customer wallet.
While some online lotteries charge extra fees to cover overhead, the majority of them make their money by selling tickets to players. Some do so by taking a small percentage of the total winnings or charging a flat fee per ticket. Others rely on ad revenue or a combination of the two to generate profits.
Legal online lotteries began in Illinois in 2012, and have since expanded to a handful of states, with more on the way. Despite concerns that online lottery products would cannibalize retail ticket sales, most states have reported stable or even increasing online sales. Some states also direct a portion of their lottery proceeds to support local programs, schools and charities.