Back to the drawing board for Delegate Roxann Robinson and her HB2010.
Virginia Delegate Roxann Robinson and her HB2010 proposal to introduce online sales of state lottery tickets are back to square one following a voice vote defeat in the Virginia House General Laws subcommittee this week.
Robinson faced concerted opposition from the state's retail lottery ticket sellers concerned that online sales would deter buyers from visiting their convenience stores, and religious groups also weighed in against the proposal.
Had she been successful, Robinson's bill would have positioned Virginia with other online sales states like Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky and Georgia. States currently mulling online lottery sales and games include Massachusetts, where Sen. Jennifer Flanagan has just reintroduced a similar proposal ).
The concerns of retail sellers appear to remain despite empirical evidence that cannibalization of their ticket and associated sales by buyers will not occur if online sales are introduced.
A local lobbyist for the retailers, Chuck Duvall, explained to local reporters that ticket buyers visiting retail outlets don't just buy tickets, but use the opportunity to buy other goods, representing valuable business to shop owners.
Supporters of online sales have repeatedly pointed out that there has been no evidence of cannibalization in other states where online sales have been introduced, and that such a move actually increases sales and the player pool, adding younger age groups.
“We are so confident that if we can do more on the internet it will not hurt the brick-and-mortar retailers," said Virginia State Lottery director Paula Otto. She forecasts that online sales could generate an extra $60 million in profits annually by 2022.
Jeff Holyfield, director of the Michigan state lottery said there was no sign of retail seller cannibalization following the introduction of his lottery's online sales, and that the indication is that exactly the opposite has occurred.
But it appears that retail shop owners remain unconvinced and fearful.