State Treasurer makes good on her pledge to take the lottery online.
Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has fulfilled part of her pledge to take the state lottery online, filing a bill with the state Legislature on Wednesday that seeks to authorize the Massachusetts State Lottery to offer games over the internet and through smartphone apps.
Goldberg has long been an advocate for widening the lottery scope, arguing that despite posting record profits last fiscal year, the lottery must modernize to attract new gamblers to maintain momentum.
The bill filed Wednesday lets the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission fill in the detail, including which games might be offered online, how large the prizes would be, and how winners would be paid.
However, it does lay down some basic requirements; a minimum age limit of 18 years, online sales restricted to Massachusetts, gambler self-exclusion facilities and spending limits, and a ban on credit cards, although debit cards and direct bank transfers are permitted.
There is also a clause that requires the Commission promote traditional retail sales. The state would also let convenience stores sell prepaid gift cards that players could then redeem online.
This is Goldbergs second run at creating iLottery services – her first launched earlier this year died in the Legislature this summer, and it is anticipated that her current effort will be on the Legislature’s agenda early next year, when it is likely to face opposition from various action groups who have already declared their position.
Massachusetts will not be the first state to go the iLottery route; in 2014, Minnesota introduced an iLottery, but was forced to pull the games after the Legislature and advocacy groups objected.
Michigan currently offers scratch tickets, draw games, and Keno online, and online sales have totaled more than $147 million since the system’s debut, with retail sales increasing following its introduction. Kentucky also offers online services, making around $7 million annually from the facility – a tiny fraction of the almost $1 billion achieved through traditional channels.