Massachusetts Lottery Fighting for Online Sales

by Kyle Miller

The state lottery of Massachusetts is currently fighting for the right to sell lottery tickets online.

Across the United States, there are several pieces of legislation that would see online gambling, in some form or another, take place in a legalized and regulated setting. From casino and poker to daily fantasy sports and lottery sales, there are many ways that citizens as well as visitors to a state may soon be able to enjoy. In Massachusetts, online gambling is being considered but without the lottery which has lottery officials up in arms.

The Fight for Online Ticket Sales

Several states in the US currently offer online lottery ticket sales which helps to increase the overall revenues earned from a particular product. In Massachusetts, the state lottery would like to be allowed to sell lottery tickets online including draw games, keno and scratch tickets. The lottery actually needs this option to be legalized in order to bring in more revenues. More money is needed to fund local aid for the state which is where the money from the lottery goes.

However, the lottery is being overshadowed by online gambling efforts in the state. Online gambling has been considered for some time, involving casino and poker gaming. The lottery is being left out in the dark, when they too have been trying to see legislation passed in their favor.

Special Commission

Legislature had a special commission formed in order to study fantasy sports, non-lottery and eSports in regards to legalization and regulations. Recommendations are needed by the 31st of July. Just this week, the Lottery Commission and Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports met with lawmakers to discuss efforts.

Lottery Commission member Comptroller Thomas Shack, commented during the meeting that as comptroller of the state, he has found it disturbing that the lottery is the most successfully in the nation yet it is being kneecapped since the lottery cannot participate in any online sales.

Chairwoman Senator Eileen Donoghue commented after the hearing that she feels the commission has a long way to go before the group can decide any recommendations for Legislature. Donoghue stated that the more they get in to it, the more the group can appreciate how enormous the task is. Any of the categories could be daunting.

Lottery Sales are Down

Massachusetts State LotteryOn Tuesday, the Massachusetts State Lottery announced their sales were down by $6 million when compared to the same time frame in 2016. The largest drop involved scratch tickets with a decrease of 4.3%. The scratch tickets are a major revenue source and the drop hurt the overall sales numbers.

The state lottery does think that snow storms taking place in February hurt the sales numbers. But they also feel that if online sales were allowed then they would still be able to sale tickets, despite the weather or other reasons.

It should also be considered that today’s consumers are more interested in technology. In the past, 30 to 60 year old would easily buy a lottery ticket every time they go out to a gas station or lottery retailer. Now, the 20 to 30 year olds are more interested in technology. They might not necessarily purchase a paper ticket but would play online if the option were available. This is certainly something lawmakers should consider when trying to decide if online sales should be allowed.

Overall, the lottery is basically getting the shaft right now as legislators seem to be more concerned over casino, poker and daily fantasy sports rather than online ticket sales. We shall see in the coming months if any movement is made to allow such online ticket sales to take place of if the lottery will be left in the dust.