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Buying a lottery ticket may soon be no more difficult than clicking a computer mouse, and U.S. states grappling with budget deficits are seeking to cash in.

From California to New York, lotteries that already account for $56 billion in annual sales are considering expanding to the Internet after the U.S. Justice Department ruled that it’s legal to sell tickets on the Web to local residents. In New York, that may mean selling so-called virtual tickets on mobile phones or computers. Illinois next year will begin testing online sales of Powerball and Mega Millions, two games offered by the 33-member Multi-State Lottery Association.

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