MASSACHUSETTS TREASURER TO TAKE ANOTHER RUN AT LEGALIZED ONLINE LOTTERY ACTIVITY (Update)
State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has announced that she again intends to campaign for online lottery sales and games this year.
Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who pressed state lawmakers to approve more online lottery activity last year, has announced that she intends to campaign for the project again this year as a way of boosting state revenues in an increasingly competitive neighboring environment.
The revenue the state gets from the lottery to fund local aid is stagnating, she said, and needs to be updated to stimulate growth.
"It's true that we are leading the nation for Keno sales, and many longtime customers continue to play the game in restaurants and other locations across the commonwealth. However, the Keno market is virtually saturated, which is why we have begun preparing for a period of stagnation," Goldberg said at a legislative hearing last month, estimating that the Massachusetts State Lottery will raise around $965 million this fiscal year and outlining how she hopes to boost that figure in the future by allowing customers to play the lottery online or via a smartphone app.
Goldberg claims that online activity will bring a new and younger but legal demographic to the lottery, augmenting the currently aging audience in an increasingly competitive wagering environment in which the lottery is in some ways competing against proposed new casinos, more daily fantasy sports operators and the national shift towards online channels rather than point-of-sale facilities.
"We must focus on making the lottery more appealing to millennials, while we continue to offer games that our loyal customers know, trust and enjoy."
Goldberg faces skepticism from land casino operators and some members of the state legislature, who have urged caution and a rigorous study of the impact of online lottery activity on problem gambling, lost jobs and revenues, especially at retail ticket outlets. Others are willing to listen to the arguments but will insist on strict consumer protection measures.
However, there is strong pressure for more state revenue without having to increase taxes, and there may be solid support for the Treasurer's proposals, particularly now that empirical evidence is available from other US states. Certainly lawmakers are open to hearing the arguments for and against the proposal.