During the Middle Ages, governments used lotteries to improve their fortifications, fund war preparation, and help the poor. George Washington organized several lotteries throughout his life. Tickets from his Mountain Road Lottery, held in 1768, later became collector’s items; tickets were once valued at $15,000! Today, most governments understand the benefits of lotteries. In most countries, lottery companies have monopolies that prevent private companies from competing against the state.
In the United States, lottery gaming has a long history. Records from the colonial era indicate that hundreds of lotteries existed by the 18th century. Puerto Rico began operating a lottery in 1934, and the state of New Hampshire became the first to operate a lottery in 1964. Today, there are 45 US states and the District of Columbia, with the Virgin Islands preparing to launch a lottery in 2021. While some countries have banned lottery gaming, others have regulated the industry and have made it legal to play the game.
The official lottery websites of most states offer an online version of their games. The primary utility of these websites is to display winning numbers and provide contact information. However, a few online lotteries are expanding their offerings by adding Instant Games to their sites. Instant Games are casino-style games with wagering options on the web or mobile apps. However, there are several disadvantages to online lottery play. For starters, the service is not free, and some sites require a fee for joining.