Rhode Island Rep Plans to Introduce Online Lottery Bill

Charlene Lima

Charlene LimaRepresentative Charlene Lima of Rhode Island has introduced a bill that would see online lottery ticket sales.

Online gaming is becoming more and more popular in the United States among lawmakers. Across the nation, legislators are introducing bills to see the lottery go online, sports betting, daily fantasy sports, casino and poker games. It seems that lawmakers are seeing that players are already enjoying their favorite games online, so their state might as well benefit. The latest state to see legislation for online gaming come to fruition is Rhode Island. Representative Charlene Lima just announced she plans to introduce a measure for online lottery ticket sales.

Online Lottery Including Scratchoffs

Rhode Island Representative Charlene Lima has future plans to introduce a bill that will allow for lottery tickets to be sold online, including scratchoff games. Currently, there are four states in the US that provide online lottery gaming and at least two more states will be launching such services this year. Yesterday, Lima provided a press release to the media outlining her plan to create online lottery gaming.

The supporting points to Lima’s argument are financial. In the release, Lima states that Rhode Island is continuing to operate under a growing budget deficit. The state is facing a long-term pension shortage and the online lottery ticket sales would help with the leak. According to estimates, the state could earn as much as $25 million from tax revenues each year from the gaming option.

Lima also argues that the online sales will appeal to the Millennial generation. The average lottery player now is older than online gamers. With lottery sales going online, millennials might be willing to purchase tickets.

In the way of Lima’s plan is constitutional language that prohibits the state’s gambling industry from expanding unless a voter referendum takes place. However, the Rep says she does not feel that the sales of lottery tickets online will fall under the language of the constitution.

How Would Online Lottery in Rhode Island Play Out?

If the state were to authorize online lottery ticket sales, how would the industry play out. If you look at lottery sales online in other states, in-person account registration might be a requirement in Rhode Island. This is something that New Hampshire requires and might be something RI considers. With an in-person verification, the individual would have to prove how old they are before being allowed to buy tickets. One can also assume that the new offering would have wagering limits set as well as self-exclusion options.

If Rhode Island begins to offer online lottery gaming, will they take the next step and move towards online casino and poker gaming? The trend in the US seems to be that states start with one category and then choose to move on another area, but slowly. In the state, lawmakers have shown support for online sports betting, so this might be one avenue that is followed, if the opportunity to offer such gaming comes to fruition.

The Governor of the state has already placed sports betting in her budget proposal for the upcoming year, so in some way, it seems gambling will change in this region for the better. Be it with lottery sales online, sports betting or some other area.

For now, lawmakers seem to be working to see changes within the gambling industry without the requirement of a voter referendum. If it works, we may see big changes in the future for the state regarding lottery online sales as well as sports betting.