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Opposition forces and infighting among potential stakeholders have kept online gambling (poker and casino) limited to the three early adopter states of Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. Those same forces haven’t been as successful in holding back online lottery.
When New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed his name to a bill authorizing the New Hampshire Lottery to offer online products last month, the Granite State became the fifth to make the leap into online lottery. (It’s the sixth counting Minnesota; the legislature cut short its time as an online lottery state.)
The other states with legal online lottery are:
NH Lottery Commission Executive Director Charlie McIntyre is targeting early 2018 for a launch date. He doesn’t foresee any issues with online lottery.
“For us, it’s just an evolution of how we do business,” McIntyre told the Union Leader. “We’re not really selling anything new. We’re just doing it in a different way.”
Pending legislation, Pennsylvania could become the sixth state to take its lottery online. The legislation is part of a comprehensive gaming reform package with a good chance of passing before the end of the year.
Massachusetts is also a candidate for online lottery sales, and the issue is expected to receive a renewed push in 2018. Supporters of online lottery in Massachusetts will likely point to New Hampshire as yet another reason to take its lottery online.
States like West Virginia are also giving online lottery a serious look. Because of the way the state crafted its lottery law, West Virginia could quickly flip the switch and authorize online lottery sales without legislative approval.
As more states legalize online gaming and/or online lottery, it’s becoming abundantly clear the technology in place is more than capable of safeguarding players. The same technology ensures adherence to regulatory requirements.
Thus far, there have been only a few minor blips within New Jersey’s online gaming industry. Regulators quickly noticed and remedied all instances. This includes fines levied against the offending companies, just as they would be in the land-based casino industry.
Online lottery safeguards have proven just as strong.
On its two-year anniversary, the Illinois Lottery heaped praise on its geolocation and age verification procedures.
“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,” said Illinois Lottery Director Michael Jones. “Two years later, it is clear that the age and geography constraints that were key parts of the test are working as designed.”
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Despite continued fears of cannibalization, states offering online lottery have found the product complementary.
According to a December 2016 report by Digital Gaming Group on the Michigan Online Lottery, much like online gambling, the online lottery customer has little in common with traditional brick-and-mortar lottery players.
“The Michigan Lottery’s success story should be a page in the book of every lottery looking to convince its stakeholders of the value, certainty and complementary nature of this new sales channel,” the report states.
Additionally, the report found existing lottery customers who register online accounts don’t decrease land-based spend.
“Multi-channel growth has been observed across the globe where iLottery is present and the industry is finally obtaining domestic evidence as well,” the report concludes.