Published: May 8, 2023

‘Safeguards’ needed if lotto goes online, Massachusetts Attorney General Campbell says

The state’s top lawyer said her office will not stand in the way of moving lottery sales online but only if proper "safeguards” are put in place to prevent problem gambling, especially among young kids.

House leaders and Gov. Maura Healey have thrown their support behind an online lottery proposal attached to the fiscal 2024 budget, arguing the rise of digital sports betting puts the state’s 50-year-old lotto at a disadvantage. The idea still has a long way to go, including by surviving upcoming Senate budget deliberations.

Attorney General Andrea Campbell said she is not opposed to an online lottery considering anyone can place sports wagers on their phones. But she had a caveat.

"Until the online lottery conversations is explicit about what those safeguards will be, because we want to be preventative and proactive in preventing a public health crisis, we have work still to do,” Campbell said during an appearance on GBH radio.

Campbell said her concerns about online lottery stem from the rise of sports betting in Massachusetts.

Online sports betting launched on March 10 and has since drawn the eye of the Attorney General’s Office for the wave of advertisements that flooded the state and celebrity endorses used to promote sportsbooks.

Campbell said she is concerned with sportsbooks’ mobile applications, data storage, and third party advertisers getting "folks to place specific bets that they know are losing bets.”

"I want to stress … an online lottery should not be permitted to happen unless it’s done safely and responsibly,” Campbell said. "What we’re finding in the sports gaming context, it was rolled out of course, we’re not opposed to the law, but there’s still significant work to do to make sure that it is done safely and responsibly, to make sure that youth are not accessing these applications.”

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