Thursday, June 16 2011 : Proposal will allow players to purchase lottery numbers via the internet and mobile phones.
New Jersey, the US state known for its progressive attitude toward online gambling is apparently considering the introduction of internet and mobile phone purchasing of state lottery numbers.
Carve-outs in federal legalization would enable such a move.
According to NJ.com, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano has proposed the change and believes online lottery sales would be a winner for the state. However, there is – inevitably – opposition from civil society groups , who have warned that selling lottery tickets through a website or via text message could put teenagers and problem gamblers at risk.
Convenience store owners also say they would lose out on sales of food and coffee to regulars who come in for their lottery tickets.
"Online lottery sales will retard the sales of all items," said Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience, Automotive Association. "We make a nickel on the lottery ticket but a dollar on the cup of coffee. That is what is problematic to us."
The New Jersey Lottery Commission has not yet taken a position on the proposal, reports NJ.com. The seven commission members, who are scheduled to meet this week, have only had informal discussions about offering online ticket sales, said Frank Ragazzo, the commission’s chairman.
Other states are betting on online sales to help boost lottery revenue. In November, Minnesota began offering online ticket subscriptions for Powerball, Mega Millions and other games. New York and Maryland are considering similar proposals.
Under Quijano’s bill, which has already passed the Assembly gaming committee, New Jersey residents would be permitted to buy state lottery tickets via the internet, e-mail, text messaging or "other electronic means." The lottery commission could also pay winners through online lottery accounts or by direct deposit into their bank accounts.
Quijano's bill proposes that 5 percent of online sales should go to lottery retailers to help ease the pain of any lost business caused by lottery sales going online. Only debit cards would be accepted for the purchase of lottery tickets via the internet or mobile phone. The bill also makes provision for online players to self-exclude themselves through the New Jersey Lottery Commission.
An identical bill, introduced by state Senator Raymond Lesniak, is pending in the Senate.