While states are finding it difficult to pass online casino and poker legislation, lottery gaming is easily taking shape via the internet.
Gambling has long been a topic of debate in the United States and over the past few years, legislation changes have made it possible for individual states to offer online casino and poker games, lottery games and daily fantasy sports. While it has been difficulty for lawmakers to pass online casino and poker legislation in the US, online lottery gaming has quickly progressed. Lawmakers seem to be more willing to support online lottery games and states are pushing legislation forward to get in on the action.
How the Online Lottery Came to Be
The launch of online lottery games was spurred by Illinois and New York when the two states asked the Department of Justice to provide clarity regarding the law and their online lottery subscription options. the request led to the Office of Legal Counsel within the DOG to issue a legal opinion in 2011 that led to not only approval of subscription sales but opened the door to online gaming in multipole forms, including casino and poker gaming. While only four states offer either casino and/or poker gaming online, several states have launched online lottery games, with more ready to get a piece of the action.
Currently, six states in the US have authorized the sale of online lottery games. These states include: Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Subscription services for online lottery gaming are available in five states, including New York, North Dakota, North Carolina, Maine and Virginia.
2017 and Beyond
Last year, online lottery sales progressed with the addition of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire to the list of online providers. New Jersey was in the mix, authorizing the option for online courier services. With this option, it isn’t traditional online lottery gaming but similar.
This year, even more states are considering legalizing online lottery ticket sales. This includes Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. It could be that we see these states approve such iGaming changes by the end of the year.
Massachusetts has been considering online lottery gaming since 2014 so it is high time that the state passes legislation. Many lawmakers in the state feel that if they do not begin offer online lottery sales soon, they will be unable to compete with neighboring states in their region. With New Hampshire passing legislation, Massachusetts already falls behind and the worry is that their revenues from gaming will be negatively impacted.
For Rhode Island and Connecticut, this is the first time that the states have considered online lottery legislation. Both have pending legislation in place and show signs of passing their bills into law. For Connecticut, a bill was just introduced at the end of February, up for consideration along with sports betting and possible online gambling.
In Rhode Island, the lottery bill for online gaming was introduced back in January and is very similar to the legislation that recently passed in New Hampshire.
With both states so close together and near others who have passed online lottery legislation, the two could be a driving force behind seeing other states pass similar legislation. Each state that offers gaming has to be able to compete with their neighbors. If everyone gets in on the online lottery industry, others are sure to follow suit. We shall see in the coming weeks if those considering legislation involving online lottery gaming will move forward with their efforts and what other states might also become involved.