The first lottery records date back to Ancient China and are dated between 205 BC and 187 BC. The lottery was a popular form of entertainment in the Han Dynasty, and the money it brought helped finance important government projects, such as the Great Wall of China. Later, in the Roman Empire, lotteries were organized as a form of entertainment at dinner parties. Emperor Augustus organized the first commercial lottery, with the proceeds intended for repairs to the City of Rome.
While lottery sales online have grown in popularity, many anti-gambling groups have fought to protect the traditional, brick-and-mortar gambling. The online lottery industry is an interesting case study because it provides a largely legitimate way for states to cash in on expanding gaming. Though some states have resisted online lottery sales, the legal landscape favors more states to offer online lottery ticket purchases. However, as the Internet becomes more popular, it may begin to overshadow traditional retail casinos, and online lottery sales may become a zero-sum game.
Online lottery websites are available in most US states, where the primary utility is to see winning numbers, find locations, and contact information. A few online lotteries are expanding their service offerings to include “Instant Games,” which are casino-style games where players can bet money. These Instant Games are available on the web or on mobile apps. A recent study found that people who play online lottery games spend more than $3 billion a year playing them.