Sunday, July 22,  2012 : GEORGIA LOTTERY CONSIDERING INTERNET GAMBLING
 
Plan to allow players to buy tickets for jackpot games over the Internet.
 
The Georgia Lottery Corporation board of directors voted in Atlanta Thursday to launch a plan that could allow players to buy tickets for jackpot games over the Internet, reports WSBTV.
 
Lottery president Margaret DeFrancisco told the television station that lotteries are among the last industries to offer products digitally, and that MegaMillions, PowerBall and Fantasy 5 will be the initial offerings.
 
Future plans also include scratch card-style products.
 
"Our mission here is to maximize revenue for the HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K programs," DeFrancisco said.
 
The Georgia lottery reported record sales of $3.8 billion in the fiscal year ending June 30, but rising enrollments and tuition costs have dented funds available to HOPE scholars.  State-funded scholarships were down $216 million last school year compared to the previous year.
 
DeFrancisco admitted the online offerings will not be a game-changer. "This will not be a huge piece of revenue," she said, adding that safeguards to ensure players are of legal age and in the state while playing will be at least as stringent as current protections.
 
The lottery will also offer a special debit card called an iHOPE to fund lottery purchases online and at retail. Players will deposit money into a bank account to fund card purchases and online games.
 
DeFrancisco said the iHOPE card will also act as a conventional pre-paid debit card, and can be used for retail purchases besides lottery tickets.
 
"We expect there to be slow and steady growth," DeFrancisco said of online sales, which will commence later this year or early in 2013.
 
She said sales will begin either late this year or in early 2013.