6.25.10 – The state of New Hampshire’s planned introduction of online scratch card wagering came to fruition this week with the launch of PlayNowNH interactive games, which go live on July 1.
Players using the new internet service will be able to choose a game – baseball, super slots, speed bingo or New Hampshire poker – and the amount they want to play, reports Associated Press.
Players can buy chances for the $1 baseball game on one ticket or a separate ticket with chances for the $5 poker game. They can buy tickets with total chances per game worth up to $100 and play on their home computers, using a 30-digit access code.
Since the prizes associated with the tickets are determined at sale, players can check at lottery outlets to see if the tickets are winners.
Lottery Commissioner Paul Holloway described the games as similar to scratch tickets. Winners must claim prizes in stores and cannot buy more chances online, he said.
"A lot of people are reluctant to stand in a store and scratch a ticket," he said Thursday.
Maura McCann, commission marketing director, said the idea is to attract younger players who are at least 18 years of age to play the new games on their computers or smart phones, if they have access to the Internet. She said a similar game is offered by the lottery in Canada’s British Columbia province.
Colin Manning, spokesman for Governor John Lynch, said the Lottery Commission had announced a year ago that it would investigate new games.
"This is one of their new modernized games," he said.
AP reports that the launch took state lawmakers by surprise, including the sponsor of a bill to legalise video slots that was rejected this month by the House and opposed by Lynch.
Senate Finance Chairman Lou D'Allesandro said he recognises the Lottery Commission is charged by the state to raise money, but said he can't understand why online gambling is being allowed when his bill to legalise video slots was rejected this month.
Commissioner Holloway said he was surprised by the reaction.
"This is just a little quirk. It's not slots," he said.
He was supported by state representative David Hess, a longtime opponent of video slots, who said the interactive game and casino gambling are a "quantum leap" apart.