Iowa Lawmakers Look to Online Lottery Sales for More Revenues

Summary: Lawmakers in the state of Iowa are considering allowing ticket sales online via a website and mobile application.

Online gambling continues to be a hot topic in the United States. From online casino and poker gaming to lottery ticket sales and sports betting, states across the nation are considering different ways to expand their gambling industry with the internet. Just recently, lawmakers in Iowa have begun considering moving lottery ticket sales online, offering games via the lottery website as well as a mobile application.

Going Online

Iowa CasinosJust last week, Mary Neubauer, the Vice President of the Iowa Lottery, stated that the $371 million in 2017 sales puts the lottery in a strong position. The program is quite strong but adding in modern technology could help to bring even more to the industry. In a briefing, the VP said that the lottery has introduced products over the years that have enhanced their long-term product lines to keep the game selection fresh.

She pointed out that no one would say that paper products are going to stand the test of time by themselves. And while players like to purchase paper tickets and will continue to do so, the online market opens up the lottery to even more gamers. The younger generation of individuals that meet the age requirements for gaming, are constantly on mobile devices. Adding a mobile element will keep players engaged for longer periods of time.

Working on an Online Lottery Bill

Currently, lawmakers in the state are working to create a bill that will be considered in the next legislative session. What the legislation will entail exactly is anyone’s guess. However, the bill should cover website and mobile gaming, including which devices can be used to purchase tickets as well as how players can pay for their lottery purchases online.

According to Neubauer, the legislation is needed to stop illegal sales and to provide an option for players who want to purchase tickets in a cashless method. Millennials as well as other groups of consumers are no longer carrying cash. It is important to have a seamless option such as an e-wallet for transactions involving the lottery.

The younger demographic, individuals ages 18 to 25, rarely have cash, which is a common form of payment for lottery tickets. Having online sales should only help to increase the number of tickets sold as the younger demographic will be more willing to play.

Online Lottery Gaming

In the United States, six states currently have laws in place to allow online ticket sales. Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania all offer online lottery sales. Of that number, Pennsylvania does not offer players the ability to purchase draw games tickets online, such as with games like the Mega Millions.

Additional states offer an alternative to online lottery sales, with an online subscriptions service. In these states, players are limited to the number of times they can purchase tickets. New York, Virginia, Maine, North Dakota and North Carolina all offer the subscription service option.

As 2018 comes to an end, we look to 2019 to see more changes to the gambling landscape in many states. If Iowa passes online lottery gaming legislation, it will start the path for even more states to begin to offer this option. As additional industries like sports betting and online casino games grow, even more options for online play should become available in the United States. We look to next year as a big one for gambling as a whole and will be interested to see what changes are made.