It's a question some legislators are asking, especially as Lottery sales are slumping. Lottery profits are key because they go back to the state's cities and towns.

"There are people who say, 'If I could do it on my phone, then I'd participate, but I don't have time to go to the store or I don't have cash,' " said Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, D-Leominster.

Her bill to expand the Lottery into cyberspace passed the Senate over the summer, 22-17, but the provision was later dropped from the economic-development bill signed by Gov. Charlie Baker. Flanagan said she hopes the bill gains traction early on in the upcoming session.

"Everything is electronic now. Look at the online sales for the holidays. So what's the difference with people participating on their phone?" Flanagan said. "We have an obligation to have this conversation."

On the other hand, some area legislators are opposed to expanding gambling in any form.

"In a $40 billion budget, there are other ways to increase local aid to cities and towns," said Rep. Jim Lyons, R-Andover. "Why have people who are struggling financially get access to gambling by turning on a computer? That's not a way to solve our economic problems.

"We have to look at how we're spending our tax dollars," he added.

Over the first five months of the fiscal year, the Lottery has sold $11.5 million less in scratch tickets and draw games, and profits from the Lottery are projected to fall about $22 million short of fiscal 2016 totals.

Scratch ticket sales, in particular, are down $43.5 million, or 3 percent, according to Lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney.

Profits made by the Lottery are distributed to the state's 351 cities and towns, many of which are dependent on state aid to provide local public-safety, public-works and education services.

Sweeney had been pushing this past session for an OK from the Legislature necessary to move forward with an exploration of online opportunities for the Lottery. He has said for months that the Lottery must have the ability to move online in some fashion if it is to continue to thrive and return hundreds of millions of dollars to cities and towns.

"This is assistance that goes right back to the cities and towns," said Rep. Tom Golden, D-Lowell. "Online is something we should definitely look at to reach a different demographic, and to continue bolstering municipalities' bottom line. It should be strongly considered."

However, Rep. Rady Mom, D-Lowell, said the state already has too much of a gambling problem.

"What are we trying to accomplish with this? What are we trying to gain?" Mom said. "We need to do more research on this.

"We have many other issues to deal with," he added.

Convenience store owners, who rely on the Lottery to attract customers to their stores, have strongly opposed a move to the Internet, which also raises concerns about the age of players and gaming safeguards.

Recently, Republicans seized on falling sales of Lottery scratch tickets to challenge the leadership of Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, blaming her for failing cities and towns that depend on Lottery profits for local aid.

Goldberg late last year cautioned lawmakers that the string of record Lottery sales will not continue unless the Lottery adapts to compete with the state's growing casino gaming industry and daily fantasy sports contests.

"This is where the future is headed with the younger generation on their phones," said Sen. Eileen Donoghue, D-Lowell. "At the minimum, we should be embracing a study to see what online would entail.

"We need to look to the future, and deliver this in a responsible way," she added.

The states that offer online lottery games are Illinois, Georgia, Michigan and Kentucky. In addition to those states, Delaware's lottery offers casino-style online games.




News February 17, 2017
Aric Nesbitt to be new Michigan lottery commission...
Latest News February 14, 2017
New Jersey law is the first to authorize and regul...
Latest News February 8, 2017
Hearing set for NH casino bill on Wednesday ...
January 31, 2017
New West Virginia Lottery Director Alan Larri...



LATEST NEWS February 9, 10
Arjan van ’t Veer is the new Secretary General o...
February 2, 2017
Kentucky Lottery proceeds are helping create a be...
February 1, 2017
Svenska Spel - Year-end report January-December 20...

Public Gaming Magazines

Public Gaming September/October 2016

.Pdf version of the magazine - click here

2016 Public Gaming July/August
2016 Public Gaming May/June
2016 Public Gaming March/April
2016 Public Gaming January/February

Public Gaming /Paul Jason -   / Susan Jason -  /Office Phone - + 425-449-3000