Many states now offer official lottery websites, a convenience to lottery enthusiasts everywhere. While the primary utility of these sites is to provide winning numbers and locations, many are expanding their services to include Instant Games, casino-style games that players can play online and through mobile apps. This allows players to wager real money on a winning ticket and win cash prizes without ever leaving their home. And with so many people playing the lottery online, more people than ever are taking advantage of the convenience of online lotteries.
Although lotteries are similar to gambling in many ways, they have little in common with traditional forms of gambling. Lotteries are typically run by the state, and many countries have taken steps to ensure they remain state-run. Online lottery websites, on the other hand, are considered a form of gambling, and may compete with brick-and-mortar casinos. But online lottery sales have not yet spread to all states. The legal landscape for online lotteries is favorable for additional states to adopt this option. However, online lottery websites may result in a zero-sum game as competition between them rises.
Lotteries have been used for centuries by governments to improve fortifications, to prepare for wars, and to benefit the poor. In the early American Republic, George Washington sponsored multiple lotteries, and his tickets from the 1768 Mountain Road Lottery were so popular that they eventually sold for $15,000! Although modern governments recognize the value of lottery, most governments have monopolized the market. Because of this, private enterprises cannot compete with the government in selling lottery tickets.