The Massachusetts state
Lottery is one step closer to taking its action online following a favorable
On Wednesday, the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and
Professional Licensure approved an amended version of Sen. Jennifer
Flanagan’s S-151, which would allow the Lottery to offer its products both
online and via mobile apps.
Flanagan’s bill, which was introduced over a year ago,
doesn’t specify what type of products might be on offer, only that the
Massachusetts Lottery Commission “shall determine the types of lottery or
lotteries to be conducted.”
Last December, the MLC issued
a request for proposals from technology companies for an “iLottery
system” that had the capacity to handle “digital versions of existing and new
lottery games, including but not limited to social gaming and daily fantasy
In April, the Lottery reported that it had received
20 responses to its request from traditional lottery suppliers like
Scientific Games, IGT and Intralot, as well as PokerStars parent company Amaya
Gaming and a host of lesser known DFS operators.
The Lottery’s 7,500 retail partners are less than impressed
with the Lottery’s online plans, citing the traditional fears that their sales
will suffer if players no longer have to show up in person to get their
However, as the Minnesota Lottery’s aborted
online experiment demonstrated, online lottery sites attract
a younger demographicthat’s largely uninterested in traditional draw
tickets. On Wednesday, the Joint Committee cited the state’s need to “diversify
our offerings to engage younger players” as a key factor in approving
The Committee offered several amendments to S-151, including
setting daily, weekly and monthly online deposit limits, with players having
the option of imposing even lower limits for themselves.
Players would also be barred from funding their online
accounts directly from a bank account. Instead, players would have to visit an
authorized Lottery retailer and purchase an “online game card” which can be
loaded with funds for online play.
The current legislative session ends July 31, giving the
Lottery a little more time in which to drum up support both among its retailers
and in the legislature.
There are currently only four US states that offer online
sales, with Georgia, Michigan and (now) Kentucky offering
traditional draw as well as instant win games, while Illinois offers
only online draw tickets.