Buying a Basic Lottery Ticket: Buying Online
1. Visit a reputable online lottery vendor. If you don't live somewhere where the lottery is legal but you still want to play, consider buying tickets online. Many online lottery vendors offer a service where you pay the site to buy a ticket for you. If you win, the site sends you your winnings. Using this system, it's relatively simple to play in lotteries in places you don't live. However, before exchanging any money, you'll want to ensure that the site you're using is reputable and professionally-run. Online lottery sites aren't well-regulated, so it's smart to use a website review repository like Sitejabber to find good sites or try one of the reputable sites below:
Lottogopher.com (California only but with plans to expand)
2. Review your state or country's legal situation. The legal situation surrounding the process of buying and selling lottery tickets online is a murky, nebulous one, especially in the United States. Technically, state lotteries only have the legal right to sell their tickets within the state's borders. Online lottery vendors get around this hurdle by acting only as "service agencies" — you give them your money, they buy the ticket for you legally, then send you your money if you win. It's not hard to guess that this practice is the subject of some legal controversy, so double-check the local laws where you live before spending any money on online lotto tickets.
At the very least, you'll want to ensure that you're old enough to legally play the lottery. Minimum lottery-playing ages in the U.S. are available here.
Note that some U.S. states, like Illinois, have recently allowed online lotto ticket sales. However, at presents, these states can only sell to residents online.
3. If necessary, pay a subscription fee. Because most online lottery ticket services allow you to buy tickets at face value, they sometimes try to make money by requiring their users to register an account with the site and pay a subscription fee. This fee is usually fairly cheap — often on the order of $10 per month — and is often reduced if the user pays for an extended membership. Some sites offer the ability to buy tickets for free but offer extra features to paying members.
For instance, Lottogopher.com offers a free service, but also offers an enhanced service with extra features to customers who opt to pay either $12 per month or $99 per year.
4. Select your numbers and options as normal. All online lottery ticket vendors should give you the ability to pick precisely the numbers and options you want on your ticket as you normally would. First, pick your numbers, then choose the number of draws you'd like, then choose any additional options and proceed to the checkout phase.
5. Pay for your ticket. Like almost all online retailers, online lottery vendors allow you to review your order on a "checkout" screen before confirming your payment information. Make sure everything is in order, then proceed to input your payment information, address, and personal information as required.
Most online lottery vendors will require a valid email address so that they can notify you when you win prizes. Additionally, in the U.S., state lotteries will require you to provide an in-state address.
6. Wait for confirmation. After you make your order, your payment account will be debited the cost of your purchase and you'll be sent a confirmation of your order via email. At this point, all that's left to do is wait. If your ticket wins a prize, you will be notified and you'll have the option to cash out your winnings.