New Hampshire was the first state in the nation to offer legal lottery games. After a ten-year effort the state finally legalized its lottery in 1963.
Following the passage of an omnibus bill tied to the state’s 2018-19 budget, New Hampshire could soon become the fifth state to offer online lottery games. That would include online instant-win tickets.
Online lottery came about when the legislature passed a rider bill, H 517, that would authorize the state lottery to offer online games. A separate measure that would authorize keno games was also passed, so keno could end up being offered online.
According to the proposal’s supporters, the online lottery games will appeal to a younger demographic and bring in an estimated $13 million annually in additional revenue.
The bill still needs the signature of Gov. Chris Sununu before it officially becomes law.
According to the summary, the bill “allows the lottery commission to sell lottery tickets on the Internet and by mobile applications and create certain practices to address problem gaming in such sales.”
The full section of the bill dealing with online lottery sales reads:
(e) May be sold by or for the lottery commission through the use of mobile applications by mobile devices or over the Internet. With respect to such sales, the lottery commission shall provide:
(1) Age verification measures to be undertaken to block access to and prevent sales of lottery tickets to people under the age of 18 years. Such measures shall include requiring players to register for an account at a lottery retailer licensed pursuant to this chapter.
(2) That lottery purchases shall be limited to transactions initiated and completed within the geographic borders of the state of New Hampshire.
(3) Wager limits for daily, weekly, and monthly amounts for each player and account consistent with the best practices in addressing problem gambling.
(4) A voluntary self-exclusion program for players to self-exclude themselves from wagering for set periods of time.
The only notable difference between the New Hampshire bill and bills passed and introduced in other states is the provision that registration must be done in person at a brick-and-mortar retailer.
Concord Monitor Statehouse reporter Allie Morris described the current proposal to New Hampshire Public Radio thusly:
Under the current proposal, in order for users to download this app, you would have to go and register at a brick-and-mortar store first, and that’s where that age verification would take place.
And something that I understand would be a big difference between playing in a store and playing on your phone would be right now, if you go and buy a scratch ticket at a grocery store or a convenience store, you have to pay cash for that ticket. My understanding is that you could set up a credit card account when you go in and register to verify your age. It could be hooked up to your phone so you could play online.
Online lottery could be just a single piece of a broader online strategy.
A daily fantasy sports bill introduced in January sprang to life this month. It only needs Sununu’s signature to become law.
And earlier this year, New Hampshire lawmakers submitted a placeholder bill that would authorize online gambling in the Granite State.
The bill was short on any specifics, simply reading:
“This bill exempts gambling done over the Internet from gambling offenses under RSA 647. The Department of Justice to date has neither investigated nor prosecuted online gaming offenses and therefore does not expect this bill to have any impact on expenditures.
To the extent this bill legalizes a form of gambling, it may have an indeterminable impact on lottery and charitable gaming revenue. Lottery and charitable gaming revenue is credited to the lottery fund, with net revenues after Lottery Commission expenditures being credited to the state education trust fund.”
No action was taken on online gambling. But now that New Hampshire is on the precipice of legalizing online lottery, a stronger online gambling push could be in the cards next year.