03/21/2012 : March 25 is launch date for new service
Illinois will become the first state in the US to sell lottery tickets on the Internet come March 25, reports the The State Journal-Register newspaper.
Our readers will recall that Illinois and New York were the two states mentioned by the US Department of Justice in its December 23rd memo that clarified that the Wire Act of 1961 applies only to sports gambling.
The DoJ turnabout has opened up new possibilities in America, with a number of states now actively discussing the possibility of offering varying forms of online gambling ranging from lottery tickets to online poker.
Michael Jones, the State Lottery Superintendent, estimates that offering lottery tickets over the internet will attract some of the 600,000 to 1 million Illinois residents that favour the lottery yet do not currently play.
Jones has revealed that residents will only be able to register and purchase tickets for MegaMillions and Lotto. Legislation is currently in the General Assembly that should add Powerball to those offerings in the future.
The registration process for online lottery purchases will verify the player’s age and that they are purchasing tickets within state boundaries. The user must also use a credit card to fund an account to buy tickets. Player limits may also be established, and a limit of $100 per draw per account limit may be set.
“The idea is for the state to maximize revenue in an ethical and socially responsible manner," Jones said this week. "One of the major problems with this lottery and a lot of lotteries in the United States is that it’s so narrowly based. A finite group of people play a lot, and what a successful lottery is all about is getting a large number of people to play a little.”
Jones also estimates that sales of Megamillions tickets could increase by $78 million to $118 million thanks to online lottery sales. About half of those funds would go to the state.
Illinois Lottery sales totalled $2.28 billion in the 2011 fiscal year.