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CHICAGO -- On the day Illinois officially became the first state to sell lottery online, more than 1,600 people bought tickets, with sales topping $9,000, the Associated Press reported. The first ticket was purchased at 7:03 a.m. Sunday -- just three minutes after the launch.
Illinois Lottery officials said they expected the fast sales pace to continue through to tonight's Mega Millions drawing, where the jackpot now stands at an estimated $363 million.
As CSNews Online previously reported, online lottery sales were given federal approval in December when the U.S. Department of Justice reversed its decision on allowing Internet gambling. Other states, such as New Jersey and Maryland are also pursuing online lottery programs.
In Illinois, Lotto and Mega Millions tickets are currently for sale online. More games, including Powerball, may be added in the future. Any addition would require legislative approval.
Lottery officials have projected that online sales for Mega Millions will bring in between $78 million and $118 million in new sales. Projections for Lotto weren't available, the AP report stated.