As Illinois Nears $40 Million In Online Lottery Sales, Age and Identity Verification Systems Are Proven Effective

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It has been two years since Illinois became the first state in the nation to begin selling lottery tickets online, and, according to the Illinois Lottery, the program is “working as designed.”

That’s per a press release released by Illinois Lottery officials that put the total amount of online tickets sales at $36.9 million to date.

Program similar to regulated online gambling sites in other states

Much like the relatively new legalized online gambling sites in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, those who wish to purchase Illinois lottery tickets via the Internet must be physically located in the Land of Lincoln when doing so and must be of legal age.

The Illinois Lottery uses geolocation technology – as do online poker and casino sites in the aforementioned states – to confirm purchasers’ presence in the state.

The Lottery employs age and identity verification systems that draw on the same technologies used by regulated online gambling sites.

Illinois’ online lottery can be viewed as proto-online gambling, though the state has yet to pass regulation allowing access to regulated online poker and other games (and is unlikely to do so before proposed land-based casino expansion is sorted out, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton recently said).

While problems with geolocation have plagued players in states like New Jersey, Illinois Lottery director Michael Jones said that the system in Illinois has run smoothly thus far.

“The Lottery, through its private manager, launched the first Internet sales portal in the United States during the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot week of March 2012,” Jones said.

“Two years later, it is clear that the age and geography constraints that were key parts of the test are working as designed.”

Constraints in place allay concerns regarding abuse

Another feature of Illinois’ online lottery is a daily restriction on transaction amounts. The Illinois Lottery says it has the capability to restrict purchases to $150 per day and has other limits in place that are product specific.

A frequent concern voiced by those who opposed legalized Internet betting is the potential for a rise in problem gambling. A parallel concern regards the ability of minors to gain unauthorized access to gambling online.

The Illinois Lottery is living, definitive proof that with proper systems in place, it is possible to mitigate those issues.

- Kim focuses on the intersection of online gambling and state regulatory issues in her work for OnlinePokerReport and a variety of other industry publications.
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