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

From California to New York, lotteries that already account for$56 billion in annual sales are considering expanding to theInternet after the U.S. Justice Department ruled that it's legal tosell tickets on the Web to local residents. In New York, that maymean selling so-called virtual tickets on mobile phones orcomputers. Illinois next year will begin testing online sales ofPowerball and Mega Millions, two games offered by the 33-memberMulti-State Lottery Association.

“All state lotteries are looking at how we can expand our baseand sell tickets,” said Andi Brancato, a spokeswoman for theMichigan Lottery. Internet sales are “definitely in the mix foreveryone.”

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