Can You Buy Lottery Tickets Online?

One of the pitfalls of buying lottery tickets at a physical vendor is standing in a long queue. Thanks to the internet, avid lottery players can now buy their lottery tickets from reputable online vendors. However, before you buy your lottery ticket online there are factors to consider.

In this post, we’ve provided information on the legality of buying your lottery tickets online and the different ways to go about doing it. Additionally, we’ve explained the risks involved and how to protect your safety when buying digital lottery tickets. Read on to find out more!

Laws That Govern The Purchase and Sales of Online Lottery Tickets

The laws that govern the purchase and sale of online lottery tickets will depend on which country you reside in. Every country will have its own rules and regulations that govern its lotteries. For example, in the US there are two laws that govern the purchase of online lottery tickets: State and federal.

US Online Lottery Ticket Purchase Laws

United States Federal laws prohibit the purchase of tickets through postal mail. Any player who buys lottery tickets through the mail can face jail time or fines. However, buying tickets online isn’t covered by US postal law. There is the Federal Wire Act but this only applies to sports betting.

Additionally, most states in the US are reluctant to sell lottery tickets online because of the following:

  • Higher risk of fraud
  • Minors can easily buy lottery tickets without being monitored
  • The state doesn’t earn from tax if tickets aren’t bought at stores

Minnesota was the first state in the US to allow the sale and purchase of online lottery tickets back in 2014. However, after only a year the state shut the sale of online lottery tickets down. There are only 8 states in the US that allow you to buy lottery tickets online:

  • Michigan
  • Kentucky
  • Illinois
  • Georgia
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • North Carolina
  • New Hampshire

You may experience certain restrictions when buying lottery tickets in a specific state. Some states only allow locals to buy tickets online. Others will allow players to buy tickets even if they don’t reside in that specific area.

Then there are states that allow you to buy online tickets through an app but you’ll have to pick up the ticket at a brick-and-mortar store.

African Online Lottery Ticket Purchase Laws

Africa is a large continent and lottery laws are different for each country. For example, it’s legal to purchase online lottery tickets in South Africa as long as you’re using a licensed service provider. In this country, you can also buy lottery numbers through a banking app such as FNB, ABSA or Standard Bank. 

In other parts of Africa, such as Namibia, it’s legal to buy online lottery tickets in the country but it’s illegal to purchase tickets from a foreign country. Zimbabwe has the same rules and regulations that locals must adhere to.

Other countries in Africa may allow you to play lottery games in foreign countries if you play through a reputable site such as LottoLand.

Indian Online Lottery Ticket Purchase Laws

Similar to the US, India also has states that may allow you to buy lottery tickets online and then there are others that have made it illegal. Each state that has made playing the lottery legal in India has its own games with specific laws. There may be some states that don’t allow you to buy lottery tickets online.

On the other hand, there are Indian states that allow players to purchase tickets in foreign countries through reputable vendors such as LottoSmile India.

Countries That Allow Online Lottery Sales and Purchases

There are hundreds of countries that allow the sale and purchase of online lottery tickets including:

  • South Africa
  • Namibia
  • France
  • Ireland
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Angola
  • Denmark
  • Finland

These countries may have specific rules and regulations when playing. You may only be allowed to play the lottery online in specific countries if you reside there. Additionally, most countries only allow those that are 18 years and older to play.

How to Purchase Lottery Tickets Online?

If you want the convenience of purchasing lottery tickets online there are many ways to go about doing it. In this section, we’ve provided tips on the different ways you can buy tickets online for your favorite games.

Through Online Lottery Sites

There are hundreds of online lottery sites that people can play foreign lottery games through such as US Powerball or UK National Lottery. Here’s how to buy tickets from online lottery sites.

Choose a Licensed Lottery Site

To protect your banking details and privacy, we strongly recommend buying lottery tickets through a licensed lottery site. Sites that are licensed guarantee the protection of your passwords, name, and banking details you use to sign up.

You can find out if a lottery site is licensed by scrolling to the bottom of the company’s website where you’ll find their licensing information. If you’re still wary of a site you can look up online reviews to find out if an online lottery is legitimate. To assist you, here are a list of reputable online lottery sites you can buy tickets through:

These lottery sites have hundreds of games from all over the world for you to enjoy. And, the benefit is you don’t have to stand in long queues to buy your lottery tickets.

Sign Up

Each lottery site will have a different signup process. There are some sites that will require proof of identity to ensure you’re not a minor. Other online lottery sites will allow you to sign in using your Google or Facebook credentials.

Overall, signing up for a lottery site is quick and easy. Check if the site has a two-factor authentication to increase your security. Make sure you remember your password and username. Most online lottery sites will have a way for you to safely recover your details if you’ve forgotten them.

Add Money to Your E-Wallet

To purchase online lottery tickets from an online site, you may need to add money to a virtual e-wallet on the site. This allows you to protect your banking details and you can choose how much money to place into the e-wallet.

Lottery sites have various payment methods such as transferring money into your account via:

  • Bank transfer
  • Skrill
  • Paysafecard
  • Neteller
  • Trustly
  • Maestro
  • Visa
  • Mastercard

Ensure you’re aware of the available payment methods before signing up to an online lottery site. You may incur transfer fees if you’re playing on a site with a foreign currency.

Once you’ve added money to your e-wallet you can start buying lottery tickets for the games available on the site.

Choose a Lottery To Play

Lottery sites have foreign games that you can play. What’s great about these online lottery websites is that they’re easy to navigate. Most lottery sites have a tab at the top of their webpage that says “Lottery Games” or “Lotteries”.

Click on this tab and scroll through the various games available. Once you’ve chosen your preferred lottery you can start preparing to purchase your ticket.

Pick Your Numbers

Choosing lottery numbers online is the same as picking your numbers on a physical ticket. Simply click on the numbers you want to play. You must choose the numbers according to the game. For example, if you’re playing Mega Millions you must choose six numbers from two different pools. Pick 5 numbers between 1 and 70 from the white balls. Then pick a gold ball between 1 and 25.

Each lottery will be different, but the lottery site will give you steps on how to play the game in their instructions section. There are also various ways you can choose your numbers such as through a quick pick option or by creating lottery wheeling systems for your game.

Add Extras Such as Multipliers or Subscriptions

Some lottery sites will have extras that you can purchase such as multipliers or subscriptions. The multiplier doubles or even triples your prize if you win the jackpot or money from the other tiers.

With subscriptions, you can choose to automatically be entered into draws every week with the numbers you’ve chosen. This helps if you don’t want to continuously buy tickets online manually.

Add Your Ticket to Your Cart

When you’re done choosing your numbers and adding your extras, you can add your ticket to your online cart. In this section, you will see how much the total cost is for all the tickets you’ve added to your cart. Some sites may charge extra purchasing fees. Reputable sites will be transparent about any extra fees that are added.

Purchase Your Ticket at the Checkout

If you’re happy with the tickets and the cost of them, you can proceed to the checkout point. Once you click on the checkout tab it will ask you what payment method you want to use. You can either use the money in your e-wallet or use one of the payment methods available.

Click on the “Buy” or “Purchase” tab to confirm that you want to buy the ticket. Once the transaction has gone through you will receive a reference number for your lottery ticket.

If you win small prizes for the lottery you’ve played, the money will automatically be transferred to your account. On the other hand, if you’ve won the jackpot you may be contacted directly by the online lottery site and you will then need to take the necessary steps to claim your lottery winnings.

Through Your Banking App

In some countries, national lotteries partner up with local banks so that players can purchase tickets through their banking apps. For the sake of this guide, we’ll use South Africa’s Standard Bank app in this example.

Find The Lottery Purchase Tab

Log into your banking app and click on the “buy” tab at the bottom of the page. In this section, you’ll find the tab to buy lottery tickets. Click on the tab that says “Lotto”. You’ll find information about three different draws that you can purchase tickets for:

  • Daily Lotto
  • LOTTO
  • Lotto Powerball

Click on the lottery you want to play. You must make your purchase an hour and a half before the draw closes. The South African lottery, draws close at 8 pm because the draw will commence promptly at 9 pm.

Choose How Many Tickets and Draws You Want

There are banking apps that simply allow you to choose lines of numbers instead of a digital ticket. Here you’ll choose how many lines you want to buy and how many draws you want these lines to be entered into.

For the South African Daily Lotto, you are limited to 5 lines per draw. But you can pick up to 10 draws to be entered into. It should be noted that the number of lines and draws will be extra as it’s R3 per line.

Choose Your Numbers

In each line, you get to choose your numbers manually. For the Daily lotto, you must choose 5 numbers between 1 and 36. For the LOTTO, you must choose 6 numbers between 1 and 52. And, for the Powerball, you must choose 5 numbers between 1 and 50 and a Powerball number between 1 and 20.

You can also use the quick pick option for each line if you want numbers generated automatically for you.

Accept Terms and Conditions

When you’re happy with your numbers and the number of draws you’ve chosen, it will clearly show you the total cost of your purchase. Simply click on “Next”. A page will pop up with all the lines of numbers you’ve chosen with letters next to each one.

Before you can continue, you must read the terms and conditions. Some players read the terms beforehand. If you’ve already read them yourself you can simply click on the tab to accept the terms and conditions to continue your purchase.

Purchase Your Ticket

Ensure that you have money in your account before buying your ticket through your banking app. Once you’re done and you’ve checked your numbers, you can purchase your ticket or lines. Click on the “Confirm” tab at the top of your screen. The payment for your lines will automatically be deducted from your account.

Through National Lottery Websites

Most national lotteries give people the opportunity to purchase tickets through their websites. This is convenient if you don’t want to go to a gas station or store to buy your ticket. Here are the steps to buying tickets through your national lottery site. 

Sign up

Before you can purchase a lottery ticket you must sign up for an account on your national lottery website. You may need to fill in the following details:

  1. Full name
  2. Mobile number
  3. Email address
  4. Identification number
  5. Address

What’s more, you’ll need to create a strong password that’s at least 5 characters or digits long. Other sites may require an 8 character password with uppercase and lowercase letters and special characters. You won’t be able to purchase online lottery tickets without signing up to the site.

Add banking details

Once you’ve successfully created an account with your National Lottery website, it’s time to add your banking details. This is so you can buy your tickets without hassle. Check if the website has an e-wallet so you don’t have to add your banking details.

Choose Your Game

Some national lotteries will have various types of lotteries for you to choose from. For example, you can play a daily lotto which doesn’t have a high jackpot prize but has better odds of winning. Other sites may allow you to play raffles or sports betting.

Pick Numbers

When you’ve chosen the type of lottery you want to play such as Powerball or daily lotto, you can now start choosing your numbers. You can manually choose your numbers or use a quick pick option if the lottery site allows it.

Every national lottery will require you to choose numbers in a specific range. Some lotteries allow you to choose 7 numbers and a bonus number. Others will need 5 numbers and may not have a bonus number. Simply choose your numbers according to the rules of the game.

Add Your Ticket to Your Cart

Similar to online lottery sites and banking apps, you’ll need to add your purchase to your virtual cart. In the cart, you’ll see the lines you’ve chosen, your numbers, and the total cost of everything including tax.

Checkout

When you are happy with your purchase you can proceed to the checkout page. This is where you will finalize the purchase of your lottery ticket. The money will then automatically be deducted from your account after purchasing your ticket.

What Are The Risks of Buying Lottery Tickets Online?

Although buying lottery tickets online is easy and convenient it does come with some risks. First of all, if you choose an unknown lottery to play through you could risk having your money stolen. 

But even reputable online lottery sites risk getting hacked by cybercriminals. Most online lottery sites have encryptions and high-end cyber security to protect their brand and their players.

Fraud is one of the major threats to playing online lotteries because there is a possibility someone can hack into your account and steal your information. That’s why lottery companies are properly vetted and have to meet specifications before they can become licensed.

However, some avid lottery players state that buying lottery tickets online is safer because you don’t run the risk of your ticket getting damaged or lost.

Tips on How to Stay Safe When Buying Lottery Tickets Online

You’ll only run into problems when buying lottery tickets online if you don’t know how to play safely. To assist you, here is a list of tips to keep you safe while playing the lottery online:

  • Choose a site that’s licensed
  • Choose a site that’s secure with a padlock icon on the URL
  • Sign up to sites that offer two-factor authentication
  • Read the site’s terms and conditions 
  • Choose a strong password for the site
  • Ensure the site guarantees a payout if you win
  • Use safe payment and withdrawal methods
  • Make sure the site offers excellent customer service

If your account gets hacked you must contact the site immediately and change the password on your account.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, you can buy lottery tickets online in many different ways. It simply depends on which country you live in and the laws that govern the games you want to play. On the other hand, online lottery sites such as LottoAgent and TheLotter are reputable sites that allow foreigners to play games from around the world. Use this guide so you can learn the different methods of buying lottery tickets online!

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