The Illinois Lottery launched its Internet Pilot Program at 7 a.m. Sunday, and lottery officials said a Joliet man purchased the first ticket online for Mega Millions at 7:03 a.m. Sunday.
The Illinois Lottery brought in $15,000 by the end of its first day of offering ticket sales online.
Illinois made $8,000 by Sunday afternoon, with more than 1,600 tickets purchased. Illinois is the first state to allow individual online lottery sales.
The Illinois Lottery launched its Internet Pilot Program at 7 a.m. Sunday, and lottery officials said a Joliet man purchased the first ticket online for Mega Millions at 7:03 a.m.
“I was watching the morning news and saw the ticker come across the bottom on the screen saying that lottery tickets are now available online," Rick Melfi told the Illinois Lottery. "I jumped on my computer and within minutes purchased my Mega Millions tickets for the $356 million jackpot for Tuesday night.”
Lottery officials believe the sales numbers will stay high until Tuesday evening – when the Mega Millions drawing occurs. The Mega Millions jackpot is estimated to be $356 million.
Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones said the new method will help bring the state more money.
“Yesterday the lottery began a new era, one in which we mirror how many people buy a wide range of products in 2012,” Jones said in a statement. “Hopefully people will find our interface to be intuitive, easy to use and that it will allow them to participate in Mega Millions and Lotto drawings within minutes.”
Other states are looking at Illinois’ sales progress to consider running similar online sales, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Internet Pilot Program began more than three years ago, passing amendments in Illinois for the Lottery Law. The Justice Department approved internet gambling in December but is closely watching the progress.
To play online, registration, location and age verification is required.