The Illinois Lottery launched online ticket sales this week. Players located within the state lines of Illinois may purchase lotto style lottery tickets through the Illinois Lottery’s website. The available games include Powerball, Mega Million and Extra Shot Lotto. Only lotto drawing games will be offered online, scratch off tickets are not included in this online sale.
Illinois was one of two states that asked the Department of Justice for clarification of the Wire Ace of 1961. The question asked by the lotteries was whether online lottery ticket sales violated the interstate clause in the Wire Act. The DOJ’s response was released publicly on December 23, 2011. The DOJ concluded that only sports fell under the Wire Act and that state lotteries could sell tickets online and states could offer other gambling games as long as the gambling did not involve sports. This new interpretation excited online poker players as it lifted a potential hurdle in the fight to regulate interstate online poker in the United States.
Last week, Georgia was to have launched online lottery ticket sales. These games were to include scratch off tickets that may violate provisions in the proposed Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012, commonly referred to in the online poker community as the Reid/Kyl bill. The launch has been postponed indefinitely without explanation from the Georgia Lottery.