Massachusetts Considering Taking its Lottery OnlineOctober 11, 2017 10:16 am
There is nothing quite like a bit of competition to get people motivated enough to enact some well needed changes. Take the case of Massachusetts, for instance, where lawmakers are seriously considering becoming the sixth US state to legalize online lottery sales in order to counter the move of its neighbor New Hampshire, whose recently approved online lottery industry is expected to go online early next year.
Before resigning her position as the Massachusetts State Senator this year, Jennifer Flanagan introduced an online lottery bill, and while the piece of legislation was eventually shelved, four out of the five candidates currently vying for her job have expressed their support for allowing state residents to buy their lottery tickets from mobile devices and computers.
These candidates include Claire Freda, Michael Kushmerek, Dean Tran, and Michael Mahan, all of whom have highlighted the importance of protecting the vital revenue and funds that the lottery provides for cities and towns all across the Bay State. In the against camp, however, is candidate Sue Chalifoux Zephir, who believes moving lottery sales online will simply target those people with less discretionary income, such as millenials.
While there are 44 states in the US which offer lotteries, the list of those with approved online lotteries is significantly shorter and includes just Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, Kentucky, and New Hampshire.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts has seen sales of its land-based lottery tickets fall by 2.7% during the last financial year, even though its profits have increased over the past three consecutive years to reach more than $1 billion. Moving operations to include an online product is therefore seen as the best move for reversing the downwards sales trend, while protecting the lottery’s long-term growth, and enabling the state to continue channeling much-needed funds towards cities and towns.
Throwing her weight behind the fight is Treasurer & Receiver General of Massachusetts, Deborah Goldberg, who also enjoys the support of Lottery Commission Director Michael Sweeney. As Goldberg explained last year while addressing the state committee:
“Between the impending arrival of casinos, increasing competition from daily fantasy sports, the overall shift to online versus point-of-sale transactions, and our aging lottery demographic, we have no choice but to pursue new solutions.”