Established in 1974, the Illinois (IL) Lottery is operated by Northstar Lottery Group and is the only state lottery to have its drawings televised across the nation.
The once basic lottery draw has expanded, and Illinois residents can now play online as an iLottery, alongside a wide range of instant games. As of June 2018, there were over 30 of these games available.
History of the Illinois lottery
The Illinois Lottery launched on July 1, 1974, when lotteries in the United States were restricted to areas located in the Midwest and Northeast. The first draw was held on August 8, 1974. On October 3, 1974, the jackpot hit $1 million for the first time.
Since its launch, the IL Lottery has undergone several changes. In February 1984, Quick Pick options made their debut, and in September 1996, Mega Millions was added to the lottery’s offerings. Mega Millions is currently the state’s most popular game and is available across 44 different jurisdictions.
With rising pressure from consumers to be able to play online, the Illinois General Assembly passed amendments to Illinois Lottery Law (20 ILCS 1605) in 2009, which approved the launch of an internet pilot program for the IL Lottery.
The pilot program launched the sale of Lotto and Mega Millions tickets over the internet on March 25, 2012. Thus, the Illinois Online Lottery was born.
On July 1, 2017, the sale of tickets and payment of sums exceeding $25,000 were suspended due to an impending budget crisis. These suspensions were lifted on July 7, 2017, after the Illinois General Assembly approved a balanced budget. This was not the first time the IL Lottery had to suspend payments and play due to budget concerns.
IL online lottery fact sheet
|Oversight:||Illinois Lottery Control Board|
|Available to:||IL residents located in Illinois|
|Proceedings benefit:||School funds, capital projects|
To qualify for the Illinois lottery, players must be aged 18 or over, residents of Illinois, and physically located within state borders.
For prospective players, the registration process requires the disclosure of personal information such as address, phone number, and date of birth.
Illinois regulations also require compliance with a know-your-customer (KYC) procedure and, to do this, all prospective players are required to provide the last four digits of their social security number (SSN) during purchase.
Finally, the Illinois online lottery uses Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and geolocation technology to verify that players are located within the state’s borders.
These stringent checks ensure that only genuine Illinois residents over the age of 18 are accessing the IL iLottery.
Players can purchase tickets using VISA, Mastercard, and Discover credit and debit cards. E-wallets, PayNearMe, and bank transfers are currently not supported.
The minimum for online transactions is $5 and all purchases are final.
Players with a positive account balance can request to be paid through:
- Deposit into savings or checking account
- Check by courier
Winnings up to $600 are deposited into a player’s account automatically, while larger prizes must first be processed by the lottery’s Claims Department.
Illinois lottery instant and in-house games
The Illinois online lottery is continuously adding games to its expansive library of instant options. As of June 2018, there were over 30 different instant games available on the platform, which act as an alternative to buying tickets from retail stores.
One of the lottery’s most popular instant games is Break the Bank, which offers prizes up to $500,000 when players match certain key number combinations. At a $10 price point, however, it may not be every player’s go-to choice.
At the other end of the budget scale, games such as Win Pigs Fly and Red Hot 7’s offer a price point of $1 and prizes between $1,000 and $5,000.
Examples of other instant games include:
- Money Watch
- Red Ribbon Cash
- Fruity Fortune
- Tripple Play
- Double Your Luck
There are several in-house lottery games, too, which can all be played online.
Pick 3 launched in February 1980 as a single-drawing game which ran six times per week. On December 20, 1993, Pick 3 was expanded to 13 draws per week. Drawings take place midday and during the evening, offering prizes up to $500.
Illinois’ own homegrown lotto is drawn three times per week– Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 9:22 p.m.– with a jackpot starting at $2 million. Another Illinois-only offering is the Lucky Day Lotto, which has two daily drawings with prizes starting at $100,000.
These are just a few of the many games offered online, and there are a vast number of options which cover both Illinois and the rest of the United States.
A player’s options are not just restricted to their home state. In addition to the available Illinois-specific lottery games, players can get involved with two multistate draw games that cover almost the entire US.
The first of these two multistate games is Mega Millions. Launched on September 6, 1996, Illinois was one of six founding states to offer the game. At $2 per play, there is a $40 million minimum jackpot with two draws per week– Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:00 p.m.
Powerball is the other multistate game available. Powerball was added to the IL iLottery’s game roster on October 13, 2009, which began selling tickets at the end of January 2010. Each ticket costs $2, or $3 with the Power Play multiplier. Its jackpot starts at $40 million, with draws on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Throughout the years, both Mega Millions and Powerball have expanded to include 44 US states, plus the Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C.
The Illinois Online Lottery offers dedicated iOS and Android applications, which can be downloaded from the App Store and the lottery website, respectively. Players can use the apps to register accounts and purchase tickets. As of July 2018, the apps are available only for the following carriers: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile.
Support is available through:
- Email – [email protected]
- Phone – 1-800-252-1775
There are no live chat or on-site contact forms available.
It is legal to play online games provided by the Illinois Lottery, subject to the prospective player being an Illinois resident, located in the state of Illinois, and being over 18 years old. There is a stringent verification process which will confirm this, and Prospective players need to provide the last four digits of their social security numbers to make a purchase.
Games are regularly updated and include lottery draws- both Illinois-specific and multistate- and instant games. A full list of these games can be found on the IL Lottery website.