Illinois is known for its casinos and sportsbooks, but it’s also home to a popular online lottery. It’s one of fewer than 10 states nationwide to offer the sale of tickets and the play of instant games online. The below online casinos are the best casinos to play online casino games besides lottery games in Illinois.
The state of Illinois’ lottery system has an online website where you can discover all of the most popular lottery games that you would typically have to find in-person to enter and play—feeling lucky? Powerball, with the highest jackpot recorded at over one-billion dollars, is available right now on the Illinois Lottery site, along with five other games that offer many different chances to win big!
The odds of winning the lottery are, generally speaking, longer than playing and winning on online casinos, but the payoffs can be truly life-changing. We recommend the Illinois Lottery if you’re in the state.
The lottery’s site works similarly to playing in person. All you have to do is search the game you want and click “play."
For the Powerball Power Play, just to name an example, this is when you’ll pick your numbers and add the digital ticket to your cart. There is even a subscription option available, so you’ll never miss another chance to take a lucky shot!
Illinois Lottery History
In 1974 Illinois became one of the influential places that legalized state-wide lottery games. Just 10 years after the first official lottery game in the United States, excited Illinois patrons were quickly lining up to play. The first year of sales was sky-high, totaling in at over $129 million.
Although sales died down for the next few years, Illinois patrons were excited once again when Quick Pick game options launched in 1984.
In September 1996, the Mega Millions game made its debut in Illinois and has been a fan-favorite for decades as the currently most played lottery game in the state. Moreover, while the lottery pool is collectively distributed to just a few winners, other community organizations benefit from the local gaming entertainment as well.
All profits would go to the State’s General Revenue Fund until legislation was passed in 1985 that committed lottery profits to the Common School Fund, which is still a significant beneficiary to this day. As time went on, the Capital Projects Fund was also included in charitable donations, funding major infrastructure projects throughout the state.
The Illinois State Lottery has been in existence for almost 50 years and has served the state’s people admirably across that time. Let’s take a look at the rich history of the lottery in Illinois:
1974: State representative E.J. Giorgi sponsors legislation that opens the door for Illinois to begin hosting a lottery. First, lottery tickets go on sale. Illinois hosts its first lottery drawing, marking the first time in state history. Illinois Lottery hits an impressive mark of 100 million lottery tickets sold, making it one of the fastest states to ever achieve this total.
1975: The Illinois State Lottery introduces their first instant game, entitled 7-11-21, that proves to be an instant hit with Illinois residents.
1980: The first daily game of the lottery is introduced, entitled Pick 3, and is hosted for six drawings every week. Instead of hosting one drawing a week of the standard lottery, users can now play whenever they choose.
1982: Illinois Lottery overhauls its marketing campaigns and design, which produces a 62 percent increase in sales and a new level of interest in the state lottery. The new game Pick 4 is introduced and holds drawings twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. Daily game sales see a 52% year-over-year spike in sales.
1983: Illinois Lottery once again revitalizes interest throughout the state as Lotto 6/40, the first state lottery drawing to ever guarantee a million dollars in earnings, is introduced. Daily Game Pick 3 moves from six days a week to seven days a week. The first-ever $100,000 instant prize is introduced.
1984: “Quick Pick" Lottery is introduced in Illinois. The first-ever drawing of Lotto 6/44 is held. Pick 4 drawings begin to run six days a week. The Illinois Lottery commission decides against increasing the number of drawings which results in the largest payout in state history for $40 million. State reaches $1 billion in sales.
1985: Lottery details annual sales of over $1.2 billion. Pick 4 drawings begin to run seven days a week. “Advance Play" and Quick Pick on the Daily Game are introduced, helping revenue shoot over $1 billion for the year. The lottery begins to transfer proceeds into the Common School Fund instead of the General Revenue Fund.
1986: Lottery subscription services start operation. Lotto drawing begins to operate on Wednesdays.
1987: Lotto 7 is introduced, which replaces the Wednesday lottery drawing inception from 1986. This has helped the Illinois Lottery reach $6.5 billion in sales since its start in 1974.
1988: Lotto 7 is done away with due to underperformance in the state. Illinois Lottery introduces their first two-dollar instant game, entitled Triple Crown. Lotto 6/54 and Cash 5 games start operating in the summer. Both have drawings that are held three times per week.
1989: Illinois Lottery doles out its largest jackpot for just shy of $70 million and sets a new record for sales at $1.5 billion.
1990: Primary lottery begins to operate twice a week, doubling the amount of expected annual revenue from the drawing. Illinois hosts a “3 For A Million" promo where players can make $1 million by only matching three numbers.
1991: Illinois State Lottery partners with United Airlines to provide travel-based prizes as drawing prizes. The lottery reaches 700 millionaires created in November.
1992: Illinois begins to offer keno at the Illinois State Fair with sales exceeding $80,000 for the week-long event. The lottery begins to host drawings on local news stations.
1993: Illinois State Lottery launches first $5 instant ticket that grants top prizes of $100,000. New Pick 3 and Pick 4 times are introduced to diversify drawing times and increase revenue.
1994: The lottery creates a new lottery-based game show called Illinois Instant Riches. Illinois begins the installation of instant ticketing vending machines and ticket dispensers across the state.
1995: Check-writing centers open up for instant payouts of up to $25,000. Subscription programs begin for Little Lotto.
1996: The lottery unveils its most successful promotion to date with the Lotto Fantastic Fantasy. 1.5 million entries are submitted, with tickets costing $5 apiece. Winners receive a car, boat, home improvement, shopping spree, or cash. The big game is unveiled as Illinois comes to agreements with six other states to have a multi-state Mega Millions jackpot series.
1997: First $3 instant game is introduced with prizes attached of $1,000, $2,000, and $5,000 a week for life. The lottery runs a buy one, get one free promotion on instant $1 tickets to 1 million different households in Illinois. Almost 20 percent of them were redeemed.
1998: Lottery adds the second version of Big Game. High Payout Week promotion is launched, making it possible for winners to earn a prize that is 20 percent higher than the typical total. Little Lotto begins to run five times a week.
1999: Big Game becomes the most popular drawing in Illinois with a grand prize jackpot odds of 1 to 76.2 million.
2000: Illinois Lottery reaches $10 billion in total funds transferred to the Common School Fund. The Big Game hits a state record of $363 million, the largest lottery in American history. Lottery announces $1.5 billion in sales across all drawings and instant games.
2001: The Lottery begins “Extra," an instant-win feature for two of its online games, Pick 3 and Pick 4, marking the beginning of its 20-year operation of online lottery gaming.
2002: Illinois Lottery makes its 1000th millionaire in a December 2001 drawing of $9 million. Mega Millions multi-state drawing begins, now including ten member states, and replaces Illinois’s Big Game in April. The first Mega Millions winner is selected for a prize of over $28 million.
2003: Lottery sets personal record with $698 million in instant game sales.
2004: Illinois introduces “New Little Lotto" that features progressive jackpots of over $100,000 by matching two numbers at a minimum. Lottery holds 30th Anniversary drawing for their Second Chance Promotion, granting 20 weekly winners $100,000 each and a culminating grand prize of $1 million.
2005: Lottery adds another day of drawing, no marking three days. New Mega Millions is launched with starting jackpots of $12 million.
2006: Pick’ n Play is launched, a new online game that combines the best of both instant and online games. To play, customers select one or more play cards (that look like instant games without a scratch area) and take them to the Lottery counter for purchase/activation; the Lottery clerk scans the play card, producing an online ticket that is used to play the game against the play card.
2012: Illinois Lottery players can now play Powerball online through the Illinois Lottery’s website. This brings to three the number of games that can be purchased by Illinois adults via the internet (the other games are Mega Millions and Lotto).
2015: Largest Mega Millions ticket to date of $265 million is sold.
2017: Mega Millions drawing grants a $393 million prize, the largest in state lottery history.
2018: A game is created, entitled Billion Dollar Challenge, that can make one person a billionaire. Lottery reaches the highest monthly sales total of $345.1 million.
Illinois Online Lottery Today
After growing pressure from players wanting to play online lottery, in 2009, the Illinois General Assembly passed several amendments, approving the launch of a pilot program for offering the IL Lottery online. As a result, on March 25, 2012, the consumer could finally buy Lotto and Mega Millions tickets online, and the Illinois Online Lottery has seen increasing success.
This all was made possible by a late 2011 federal reinterpretation of the 1961 Wire Act, which allowed for state lotteries across the country to offer their games and services via the internet in order to boost revenues.
Where does online lottery money go?
The Illinois Lottery website describes these fun games as a way for citizens and patrons to “dream big while supporting communities” all around their home state. The state’s lottery has contributed over $21 billion since 1985 and remains vibrantly active in funding programs that enrich the local society.
While prize winners account for 64% of the lottery pool, 25% of the money is set aside toward essential programs like education and infrastructure — notably the Common School Fund and Capital Projects Fund. The other 11% goes to things like operations and retailer commissions.
In short, playing the lottery in Illinois benefits the residents of the state.
Multi-State Draw Games
Big wins like the Powerball and Mega Millions lottery games are available and have multiple draws weekly on the website. These games are usually only available by purchasing a ticket in person and hoping not to lose it. You can play these games also in Kentucky. Kentucky lottery is very popular as well.
Holding onto a $36 million ticket would be a stressful situation, but by playing online, you’ve eliminated that strain and saved yourself time by avoiding a trip to a local retailer. These major jackpots can be conveniently found at the top of the games page on the official Illinois Lottery website.
The Illinois Lottery allows you to play for life-changing money from the comfort off your home.
Mega Millions Online
The Mega Millions lottery game has an amazing history of changing the lives of many patrons, and most recently, in Crestwood, IL, in 2021, a jackpot of $56 million was won by an Illinois resident. The biggest win from a Mega Millions ticket sold inside Illinois went to a lucky woman named Patricia Busking, who won a whopping total of $393 million off a single ticket.
A traditional ticket sells for just $2 on the website, but for an additional $1 with Megaplier, you can multiply non-jackpot winnings!
Many people win $1 million second-tier prizes from these drawings.
Like Mega Millions, the Powerball lottery game is a popular attraction to enthusiasts, and Illinois residents can participate in the game from a comfortable couch at home on the official lottery site. A regular ticket only costs $2, but in 2013, a man from Freeport, IL, won $50 million from that minuscule investment.
The state is overdue for another big Powerball win, as Ted Baumgartner’s story from 2013 is currently the most significant Powerball win in the state’s history.
Powerball and Mega Millions typically have similar jackpot sizes, but it depends on the drawing.
Illinois Internet Draw Games
The Illinois Lottery system also has ring-fenced games that are specific to the state. You can find these seven stand-alone games on the lottery website at the bottom of the games tab.
Find tickets in any price range, starting at $1, with the most expensive ticket costing $10. There are also ongoing, progressive jackpots that are updated every two minutes on the site.
The Pick 3 started in February 1980 as a single-drawing game, running six times per week. This was later expanded to 13 draws per week. There are both midday and evening draws, where you can win prizes up to $500. Of course, you can also play this online.
You can also play the regular Illinois lotto through the internet. Every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, at 9:22 p.m. local time, there is a draw. Jackpots start at $2 million.
There are many ways to become a millionaire from playing the Illinois Lottery via the internet.
Lucky Day Lotto
Another popular draw you can also play online is the Illinois-only Lucky Day Lotto, which has two daily drawings, with the jackpots each starting at $100,000.
Online Lottery Instant Games
The Illinois online lottery also has an ever-expanding library of instant games. These are a great alternative to buying tickets or scratch cards from retailers. There are over 30 different games available online.
Break the Bank is one of the most popular games on the site. Players need to match key number combinations to win prizes up to $500,000. One ticket is $10, meaning this game may not be for everyone’s budget.
If you want a cheaper game, you might try a game like Win Pigs Fly or Red Hot 7’s, offerings which cost just $1 and let you win prizes up to $1,000 and $5,000.
Other popular instant games include Money Watch, Red Ribbon Cash, Fruity Fortune, Tripple Play, Double Your Luck, Piggy Bank Bucks, Black Jack, Quick Spot, Hot Dice, and Yahtzee.
Christmas themed games 2023
Ho Ho Ho! It is that seasonal time for holiday cheer, and the Illinois Lottery has of course come out with official holiday-themed scratch-offs that you can easily preview from its website.
Find the instant scratch-offs at the bottom of the games tab, and the page will give information on where to find games like Merry Multiplier, Peppermint Payout 9x, and Winter Win All near you! With jackpots at $1 million, the scratch-offs should not be overlooked.
Look out for these types of games every year around the holidays.
Illinois Online Lottery App
Keep the games in the palm of your hand with the official Illinois Lottery App. This is where you can keep track of all of the latest jackpot updates, scan your draw and instant tickets, play games, and even instantly cash out winnings under $600.
Larger prizes require a bit more of a process to cash out, but it’s all straightforward.
There is also an option to manage your earnings and spending limits for responsible gameplay when you sign in. The mobile app is sleek, easy to navigate, and offers the same benefits as the desktop version but can be taken anywhere on a mobile device.
Online Lottery Keno
The Daily Keno is an innovative daily lottery that draws 20 numbers every night from a pool of 80. Winnings are determined based on how much a player decided to wager initially, how many “spots” they chose, and the amount of matched numbers from the player’s picks and the drawn 20.
A player can pick up to 10 “spots” per ticket. It is relatively comparable to the traditional lottery in the Daily Keno, as pricing ranges from $1 to $20. The Daily Keno is a fun and exciting way to get more of the traditional Illinois Lottery that citizens know and love.