Besides the fact that purchasing tickets online is extremely efficient, there are websites that offer open access to tickets in lotteries all across the globe. However, many players from the United States and other countries wonder if it is legal to play online lottery on those websites. We get it and consider it a legit concern, and the answer to it depends on where the player lives.
Those specialized websites that we recommend are legally operating with a license, and, except if you are listed in a restricted country, you can play on worldwide lotteries. Nevertheless, before anything else, it is extremely important to analyze the legal age of each country for that type of gambling and to choose the best lottery websites for you.
- Start By Finding a Legit Lottery Website to Play
- Is Online Lottery Legal for People in the United States?
- Steps to Play the Online Lottery from a Foreign Country
- How to Stay Safe Using Legal Online Lottery Websites?
- Which Online Lottery Games are Considered Legal?
- The Best Legal Online Lottery Websites by Country
- Conclusion – Is Online Lottery Legal and Worth It?
Start By Finding a Legit Lottery Website to Play
You are most certainly playing a lottery game to hit the jackpot or at least try to get some prize. Therefore, it is mandatory to be certain about the legitimacy of a chosen website, as you do not want to realize that you have won something and have no way to claim that prize.
Our recommendations, such as theLotter, already take into account all necessary security parameters. Before picking just the first one you see, knowing that you can trust our work, it is better to understand the difference between lottery agents and lottery betting sites.
The Difference Between Lottery Agent and Lottery Betting Sites
Although they may all seem alike, there are important differences between websites that work as lottery agents and the ones that allow you to bet on results. To support our example, take LottoAgent and Multilotto as the respective representatives of each group.
If you decide to gamble on a lottery agent website, it is as if you hired someone to purchase an official ticket for you. For example, you can purchase US PowerBall tickets while being in Mexico through that kind of service. When it comes to winning, however, big prizes are always claimed in person.
On the other hand, lottery betting sites work like sports betting and casinos. You must decide about the possible results and, if you guess it right, it is the website that pays you, and not the official lottery. I personally tried both and, in the end, it is a matter of preferences that should consider the claiming rules and the security of the website – guaranteed in our reviews.
Is Online Lottery Legal for People in the United States?
There are eight US states that allow online lottery gambling. However, they are limited to the local games and definitely not as diverse as the recommended lottery websites. The following states allow online purchases for their local residents only:
Unfortunately, trying to register in one of the recommended lottery agents or betting sites from the United States is also not an option. They restrict people from the US and, if your state does not have an online option, you must purchase tickets at retailers. It is even possible to play that way in other states when you are not a local resident.
What Does the US Law Say About Buying Lottery Tickets Online?
There is a federal law that was construed as a prohibition to the sale of online lotteries for many years, the Interstate Wire Act of 1961:
“Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
The key point here is the part about “placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest“. In December 2011, the Department of Justice of the United States concluded that the Act of 1961 was related to betting on sporting events or contests only, according to this official source. In other words, it opened the doors for each state to consider allowing online lottery gambling, as it ceased to be considered illegal by federal law:
“In a 13-page opinion, dated September 20, 2011, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) concluded that the federal Wire Act’s anti-gambling provisions do not bar states from selling lottery tickets over the Internet because the act’s prohibitions apply only to Internet transmissions that relate to ‘sporting events or contests.”
Although I consider that to be a great improvement, you already saw that not many states allow online gambling. It gets worse: the access to other websites is restricted. For now, all I can say is that if you live in the United States, play by those rules.
Is It Legal to Play US Lotteries From Outside the United States?
On the bright side, players from many countries around the globe can legally play popular multi-state lottery games like PowerBall and Mega Millions. As long as you register on one of the websites that we recommend that do not restrict your age and you respect the local legal gambling age and rules, it is legal to play US Lotteries from abroad.
Therefore, I recommend checking the laws in your country, although existing limitations tend to result in blockage from the websites anyway. Also, consider the possibility of having to travel to the United States to claim big prizes and jackpots.
Restricted Countries in Online Lottery Websites
There are countries where the prohibition of online lotteries is clear, and people are prosecuted when they try to cheat on the local legislation. In most cases, the online lottery websites already eliminate them, adding those regions to their list of restricted countries. Some of the locations where online lottery gambling is not possible are:
- Czech Republic
- India – some states
- Saudi Arabia
- The United States – except locally when available
Steps to Play the Online Lottery from a Foreign Country
- Consider the websites that we reviewed, like LottoSmile, to make sure you are choosing a safe alternative. Identifying one that matches your preferences is the first step.
- Register an account in less than a minute by providing some essential details. If you follow my instructions, your data will be protected by the mandatory SSL certificate the website must-have.
- Proceed to the page of lottery games, regardless of if you chose a lottery agent or betting brand. Choose the game or bundle that calls your attention.
- For each ticket, you want to add to the cart, mark the minimum quantity of numbers using your computer’s mouse or by tapping on your mobile. I personally prefer to play the lottery using my Android or iPhone.
- Do that process for each lottery game until you are satisfied with your cart.
- Proceed to checkout, knowing that the availability of payment methods will always vary depending on your location.
- After you complete the purchase, you will benefit from the greatest advantage of playing the online lottery after not having to go out: your tickets are easy to access.
- Wait for the lottery results of each game and follow the guidelines for claiming prizes that apply to each different brand.
How to Stay Safe Using Legal Online Lottery Websites?
I hope that you are comfortably aware of the conditions in which online lottery is legal, and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of choosing the best websites. Therefore, I’ll try a bit more and explain the pillars of choosing the correct brands, which are used to review them here on LotteryTexts.
Security and Data Protection
From the moment of registration, it will be necessary to provide personal information, plus financial details depending on the chosen payment method. As such, it is extremely important for that data to be duly protected, to turn playing the online lottery a legal and safe process.
All the reviewed websites, like WinTrillions, were verified for an SSL certificate that ensures that any data you insert upon registration, payment, or claiming prizes is encrypted. Furthermore, all the payment methods should be efficient and safe, without doubtful phone purchases, for example.
Licensing and Regulation
Another relevant parameter in terms of security when playing legal online lotteries is the license of each website. That information is often disclosed on the footer of the page, and it should be possible to open the certificate or at least find it through its numbering. Some qualified licensing authorities and licenses behind reputable websites include:
- Curaçao e–Gaming Licensing Authority
- Cyprus Gaming Commission
- Gibraltar Gambling License
- Irish National Excise Licence Office – NELO
- The Malta Gaming Authority – MGA
- The Swedish Gambling Authority – SGA
- United Kingdom Gambling Commission -UKGC
As a particular fan of purchasing tickets with credit cards myself, I always prefer to conclude my purchases with instant payments using that option. There are plenty of them, depending on your region of residence, including e-wallets like Skrill and Neteller, bank transfer, and also options like Paysafecard, Trustly, Sofort, and GiroPay.
Assuming that the website offers SSL protection, counts with other important security parameters, and has good payment methods, you should be fine.
Legal Online Lottery Variety
The possibility of having dozens of lottery games a click away from you is one of the greatest advantages of legal online lottery gambling. There are US, European, and even Asian lotteries, like those in Japan. Therefore, always check if your favorite lottery games are available on a website before making a deposit.
Reputation and Support
Finally, I highly recommend sticking to what is known to be safe. In other words, the reviewed brands that our specialized team brought to you. They all count with excellent live support, a reputation they live up to, and satisfy the necessary security parameters.
Which Online Lottery Games are Considered Legal?
There are more than 60 different lottery games available on the best websites, but some of them are especially famous because of their big prizes or excellent odds. I suggest that players who are without a clue of with which game to start to consider the following list:
- US Powerball – The PowerBall of the United States is responsible for the incredible prize of $1.586 billion, an absolute record.
- Mega Millions – Another popular US lottery game that almost caught PowerBall with its $1.537 billion jackpot in 2018.
- Euromillions – By far the most popular European lottery, with 13 different prize tiers.
- EuroJackpot – EuroJackpot occurs only once a week and has a maximum jackpot of €90 Million, with better odds than those of Euromillions.
- Mega-Sena – The most popular lottery in Brazil is simple to play, and its jackpot often rolls over.
- SuperEnalotto – Although this Italian lottery has really tough odds, it is still a pretty popular lottery game.
- Vikinglotto – There are nine participating countries in Vikinglotto, which is also available on legal online lottery websites.
- Canada Lotto 6/49 – With good odds for millionaire prizes, Lotto 6/49 offers no maximum rollover to its jackpot and a tempting add-on game.
- El Gordo -The Spanish lottery has 9 prize tiers, no limits to its jackpot starting at €5 million, and affordable odds.
- Lotto 6aus49 – Somewhat similar to PowerBall, Lotto 6aus49 has the “Superzahl” number necessary for the jackpot, which is capped at €45 million.
The Best Legal Online Lottery Websites by Country
I considered all the brands that our team has evaluated so far and reached the best options for each country:
- Argentina – theLotter and Lotto247.
- Brazil – theLotter and Multilotto.
- Canada – Multilotto and Jackpot.com.
- Chile – Jackpot.com and WinTrillions.
- Colombia – Lotto247 and Multilotto.
- India – LottoSmile.
- Indonesia – theLotter and Jackpot.com
- Mexico – Multilotto and theLotter.
- Peru – Jackpot.com and LottoAgent.
- South Africa – LottoAgent and theLotter
How to Get Paid Playing Legal Online Lottery Websites?
Claiming prizes will vary according to each website and your country of residence. For example, if you use online lotteries to play games in your own region, it would be a much easier process.
Also, I suggest reading the terms of the brand you choose before playing. Lottery agents often require that values past a certain prize (e.g., $2,500) should be claimed in person in the official headquarters of the lottery game you played. On the other hand, lottery betting sites do not purchase real tickets and, therefore, they have insurance that is paid to you.
In that last case, the most probable outcome is that the payment will be made in full to the player’s account.
Taxes and Claiming Prizes from Abroad
When playing lottery games, you should consider two sources of taxes that might deduct your total win: the lottery’s country and the province where you reside. I selected some lotto tax-free countries with popular lotteries:
Let’s say, for example, that you played the US Powerball being in a tax-free country. Although your local games do not withhold taxes, you will receive a lump-sum payment or annuity option after the US federal and state taxes, even being a foreigner.
For more in-depth conclusions, a tool to calculate taxes, and more information, we recommend accessing the lottery tax calculator page.
Conclusion – Is Online Lottery Legal and Worth It?
I particularly recommend to anyone who wants to play the best possible lotteries to use legal online lottery websites. That way, it is possible to explore the good odds or different game formats without leaving the comfort of your house and expanding your horizons. On the other hand, it is extremely important to make sure you consider all pros and cons.
Moreover, the whole experience can be awesome if you guarantee that you are using a legal online lottery and not a random brand that wants to take your money. That is why I highlight, once again, the importance of following the advice of our specialized team. Use the reviewed websites, and you will know what you will be getting.
If it is not legal to play online lotteries in your country, do not worry. I see changes in legislation occurring every year, and your province might be close to approving a similar adaptation.