One of the primary reasons why I started Lottery Critic was to ensure that you, my fellow lottery lovers, were presented with the information to thoroughly understand what makes an online lottery website top tier – or bottom of the barrel. In order to do that, it’s important for me to outline the characteristics which I look for when reviewing these websites. The reviews created here are not haphazardly strewn together; a lot of thought goes into the ranking and rating systems that I’ve created to make sure that everything can be understood clearly and concisely and yet also provide you with the quality of information that will allow you to make an informed decision rather than blindly follow my preferences.
A good lottery site isn’t just about looks; overall feel and ease of use are also crucial.
First and foremost, any website must be able to provide great user experience from sign-up to actual service usage – and beyond. The same goes for online lottery sites. You might think this isn’t that big of a deal considering all you need to do is just log in, purchase a ticket and wait for the results, right? That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though.
What’s the first thing you notice when you visit a lottery site? In addition to huge, colorful images, lottery sites usually pepper their homepages with a list of the latest lotteries and their corresponding jackpots. Your eyes are immediately drawn in to these, and you get a quick, healthy dose of information without being overwhelmed – an indication of good design.
Good site design can also mean a pleasing, purposeful and smart aesthetic. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time on a lottery site for the foreseeable future, an ugly, outdated, cumbersome website that inconveniences you more than it should is not the way to go.
You’re going to want to stick around if a website is not only pleasing to the eyes, but also allows you to glide effortlessly across all its pages, and use its features with nary a hitch. Encounter a lottery site that bombards you with ads every now and then? It’s probably best to ditch that and find another one that’s less concerned about milking more money out of you and more focused on providing a great experience.
Multi-language and multi-currency options ensure ease of use for international players.
Language and currency options, meanwhile, are important factors as well. Since most online lottery sites target a global audience, being able to switch between different languages and currency options on the fly is a must. More and more lottery sites offer multi-language and currency options, but it’s important to note that no lottery site will ever provide a completely exhaustive selection of languages. As such, it’s a matter of which one offers more choices.
Beyond that, a good lottery site also must be able to provide users with sufficient knowledge about their services, the different lottery games they offer, and online lottery in general. Not everyone is well-versed in lottery terminologies or game rules, so those that offer a helping hand from start to finish is definitely aces in my book.
Beyond overall user experience, I also look at what type of lottery site each company falls under. There are two types; the first is a lottery agent – a lottery site that purchases actual lottery tickets for you. Lotto betting sites, on the other hand, only lets you bet on the outcome of lottery games.
Allow me to answer that with another question: would you rather be an official entrant in a lottery, or be a spectator and bet on the outcome? Lottery agents can do the former for you, with the added benefit of being able to officially enter international lotteries from the comfort of your own home.
That’s not to say that the latter option is entirely without merits though. Most lottery sites that only allow you to bet on lottery results usually offer lower prices than lottery agents – simply because they don’t go out of their way to purchase and scan tickets. Of course, lottery sites like this should be regulated by a legitimate gambling commission, and has systems in place to ensure that winners get their prizes. Otherwise, sites like these are definitely a no go for me.
If a site identifies itself as a lottery agent, I also find out if they provide ticket scans or not. Some lottery agents scan tickets and provide copies to players as proof of ownership, while others don’t. Of course, the former is more preferable, but that doesn’t mean sites that don’t provide ticket scans aren’t any good – provided they have a good payout record.
Here’s where lottery agents might be at a slight disadvantage compared to lotto betting sites. More often than not, lottery agents tend to tack on handling fees which slightly drive up the cost of tickets. Don’t get me wrong, most lottery agents’ ticket prices usually aren’t unreasonable, and those that offer ticket prices as close to their retail value as possible definitely deserve praise.
It’s worth noting that there are some lottery agents that don’t tack on additional handling fees – though they usually make up for it somewhere else, usually by taking a cut from your winnings. As you can see, there will always be tradeoffs whichever way you go. Therefore, it is important to look at the other factors of a lottery site’s service, such as…
One of the best things that online lottery sites offer is the ability to play lottery games you wouldn’t normally have been able to in the comfort of your own home. The truth, unfortunately, is that no lottery site is created equal. Some websites offer tons of choices, while others either offer a disappointingly paltry selection, or something in between.
Does a website have a wide array of both national and international games, or a good mix of both popular and obscure lotteries? Do they offer lottery syndicates, or even virtual scratch cards? These factor into each site’s respective scores, but it’s important to note that game variety alone does not dictate the final verdict I give. It’s an important factor, but not a deciding one. After all, if a lottery site has only a few lottery games on tap, but offers an otherwise stellar service across the board, then it wouldn’t make sense to give them a negative review.
Count on most lottery sites to provide the usual selection of deposit and withdrawal options: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Skrill, and the like. Those that stand out from the crowd, however, accept payment methods that go beyond the usual suspects. I’ve seen one lottery site that offered as much as 30 deposit options, which definitely impressed me – not only because of the sheer number of options on tap, but also because their list included less popular ones as well. This meant that people from all over now have a chance to join online lottery games without jumping through hoops. So, it goes without saying that the less deposit and withdrawal options offered, the more likely it will negatively impact a lottery site’s final ranking.
This could be you–but with real money!
Lottery sites usually have a system in place for claiming prizes. Usually, when a player wins a small to a decent enough sum, lottery sites automatically deposit it to the winner’s account. However, should a player win a prize that goes beyond a lottery site’s predetermined threshold – say, an astronomical jackpot – then winners are usually required to appear in person to claim their money. This could mean that you would have to arrange and pay for travel to another country to claim your winnings. As such, if a legitimate lottery site offers to claim your winnings on your behalf, I don’t hesitate to give them plus points. It’s a small thing, but could be a huge convenience to those that may not yet have enough money to travel abroad.
It should be a no-brainer that any lottery site must have security measures in place – we’re talking about tons of daily transactions here, after all. First and foremost, I check if a lottery site utilizes SSL encryption to protect customer data. Likewise, I check whether a site also has other verified trust logos on display – these are usual indicators of a secure site.
It is also critically important for lottery sites to be regulated by a gambling commission. An online lottery company that has undergone a rigorous process to obtain licensing not only ensures their business’ legitimacy, but also ensures that winners are awarded their respective prizes accordingly. Needless to say, I doubt the legitimacy of sites that do not have good security measures in place and/or are not regulated by a gambling commission. At the very least, I give these sites a pretty low ranking – if I even review them at all.
A dedicated mobile app allows you to take the full lottery experience with you on the go!
Last, but definitely not the least, is an online lottery site’s flexibility; that is, I look at whether players can access a website using a mobile device. Those that offer dedicated mobile apps get top marks, especially if their apps offer the same experience as their full-fledged websites. Sometimes, there are lottery sites that don’t offer dedicated mobile apps, but do have a mobile-optimized website – meaning their website will automatically adjust to fit your mobile device’s screen.
A dedicated mobile app is still the best way to get the most out of an online lottery’s features when you are on the go, but a mobile-optimized site usually works just fine. It’s definitely better than nothing, after all. So, for those that do not offer any mobile solution of any kind, expect me to dock some points off the final tally.
No lottery site will ever be perfect – that’s pretty much a given, and I don’t expect any of the sites I review to be flawless. But, if a lottery site manages to provide at least a solid and secure user experience, then it’s a definite recommend from me. On the other hand, if I find a website that unnecessarily gets in your way and prevents you from having a good online lottery experience, then I will more than likely give it a low score. Whichever way I vote though, know that it was done with utmost consideration.
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