By SHANNON MCFARLAND
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois has become the first state in the nation to sell lottery tickets online, just in time to cash in on a jackpot topping half-a-billion dollars.
Other states are watching to see if the experiment pays off and whether Illinois takes the next big step: launching online poker, blackjack and other casino games.
It took only three minutes for the first online lottery ticket to sell when the system launched Sunday morning. By Thursday evening, more than $425,000 worth of online tickets had sold.
Officials expect sales to increase by the hour as people take their shot at Friday's record Mega Millions prize.
Illinois is the first state to put its lottery on the Internet since the U.S. Justice Department reversed a previous stance barring states from conducting online gambling.