Illinois Lottery Marks Two-Year Internet Sales Anniversary
Age and Geography Safeguards Work to limit online purchases to Illinoisans 18 and older
|For Immediate Release||
Contact: Chanele Newton
CHICAGO, IL — March 31, 2014 — The second anniversary of the Illinois Lottery selling tickets via the Internet recently passed, with online sales safeguards working as designed, Lottery officials announced today. Under legislation passed by the General Assembly, Illinois became the first state in the country to sell lottery tickets via the Internet on March 25, 2012 – offering two games initially under the pilot program: Mega Millions and Lotto.
“The Lottery, through its private manager, launched the first Internet sales portal in the United States during the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot week of March 2012,” said Michael Jones, Director of the Illinois Lottery. “Two years later, it is clear that the age and geography constraints that were key parts of the test are working as designed.”
Only Illinois residents can buy lottery tickets on the Illinois Lottery’s website and only within Illinois. From the beginning, the Internet pilot program incorporated technologies that prohibit underage and out-of-state play. The online registration process requires age verification before allowing any purchases, and uses geo-location technology to verify Internet players are located within Illinois’ borders. Also, and for the first time, the lottery has the ability to enforce, a maximum overall purchase limit of $150 per day—with other purchase limits for each product offered. Since March of 2012, Internet Lottery sales have totaled $36.9 million.
On November 30, 2012, the Lottery added Powerball to its online product lineup, following action by the Illinois General Assembly to allow the pilot program to include the Powerball game.
The addition of Powerball to the program created Illinois’ first two Internet millionaires: In December 2012 Jose Aguilera of Brookfield matched five numbers in a Powerball drawing by playing a Quick Pick ticket and the second million dollar prize won through purchasing a ticket over the Internet went to a pool play shared by a group of co-workers in November of 2013 from a downstate Paxton school district.
Recently, the lottery added a mobile app, a key component of most consumer product Internet interfaces.
Other features of the Internet portal include the capability of users to further limit purchases, automatic prize notification via email and player review of game history and numbers played. Prizes of $600 or less are deposited in the winner’s online account. Players can then choose to have the prize money transferred to a bank account, use it for future purchases, or request a check be mailed to them (prizes over $600 are processed through an Illinois Lottery Claims Center).
The road to Internet sales began more than five years ago when the Illinois legislature approved an Internet pilot program. All profits generated through lottery sales over the Internet go toward building roads and bridges throughout Illinois.
Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $18 billion to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes like Illinois Veterans, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to playing in-store, the Illinois Lottery offers online and mobile play for Mega Millions, Powerball and Lotto at www.illinoislottery.com. Players must be at least 18 years old.