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American Lotteries

Lottery gaming is permitted in 48 jurisdictions: 45 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Lotteries are subject to the laws of and operated independently by each jurisdiction, and there is no national lottery organization. Consortiums of state lotteries jointly organize games spanning larger geographical footprints, which in turn, carry larger jackpots.

In 2011, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed that state lotteries could sell lottery tickets online, provided they only sold them to their own citizens. Several states now have online lottery services.

In October 2008, the DOJ announced that federal law prevents states from fully privatizing lotteries. The DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel did say that "states may contract with private management firms to operate their lotteries, but that the state must maintain control over significant business decisions made by the lottery."

On 15 September 2010, Illinois became the first state to privatize its lottery system. Northstar Lottery Group now manages and markets the lottery system to help generate nearly $5 billion in net income over five years. The state retained ownership and regulatory oversight of the lottery.
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