While some states have legalized online lottery sales, others have opted not to do so. Most states have decided to follow the legislative process for introducing online lottery games and include formal language, such as “including sales on the internet,” to avoid the possibility of a future administration challenging the legality of these games. In fact, just five states have no online lottery, including Washington D.C. and Rhode Island. Regardless of how it is introduced, anti-gambling groups are opposed to any expansion of lottery sales online.
The first lottery game was keno, which may have originated in ancient China. In fact, it was used to finance the construction of the Great Wall. Players pick numbers and check them against the ones drawn. The number they correctly guess is the winner of the game, and the prize money is proportional to how many correct guesses they made. Unlike today’s modern lottery games, keno is an ancient game that can be played by players anywhere.
US lottery games date back to the early 1700s. Newspaper advertisements from the colonial period indicate that hundreds of lotteries existed in the eighteenth century. In 1934, Puerto Rico introduced its first lottery, and in 1964, New Hampshire became the first state to offer a lottery. Today, there are 45 states, Washington DC, and the Virgin Islands. Currently, there are instant win games and drawing games available in 45 US states.