NH is also eyeing online gambling

‘Dead Ducks?’: Massachusetts Lottery Worries About Impact Of NH Online Sales

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The expansion of lottery sales online in New Hampshire has its neighbor to the south very worried.

Officials in Massachusetts recently expressed concern that changes to the NH Lottery — including online lottery products — would have a negative impact on the Bay State.

Massachusetts expresses concern that it’s falling behind

New Hampshire joined the handful of states that will have legal online lottery sales, after enacting a law this summer. That development allowed the Granite State to leap ahead of Massachusetts, which has been flirting with the idea of online lottery and gambling in recent years.

Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg believes that the expansion in NH will negatively impact her state. More from Statehouse News Service:

“I think the thing they have to really look at is what drove the profit last year. Keno, for the last two years, we’ve beefed up sales and it has helped carry the ball,” she said. “To have (New Hampshire) be able to do a double hit — which is online and Keno — and we’re sitting here like dead ducks, I feel like.”

Other lottery officials — the lottery is under the purview of the state treasurer — voiced similar worries. All of it adds up to less reason for New Hampshire residents to cross the border to play the lottery, which is why concern has escalated in Massachusetts.

Online gambling could be the next battleground

Both states have also been considering legalization of online casino games.

In New Hampshire, that effort just resurfaced, although it’s unclear how serious it is. Still, the prospect looms that New Hampshire could also authorize the lottery to run online gambling there.

In the meantime, the Massachusetts legislature isn’t apparently interested in moving too fast on the issue, at least at present. A special commission on daily fantasy sports and online gambling believes iGaming is inevitable eventually. But it didn’t advocate for moving immediately forward with legalization and regulation.

GamblingCompliance (paywall) also reported that online gambling could be on hold in Massachusetts until at least 2019.

Regardless, as the lotteries in the two states skirmish on the borders, online gambling could be another variable.

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Why not give lotteries, casinos more tools?

Lots of states have at least considered new products, such as iGaming, DFS and sports betting. (Sixteen states have passed fantasy sports laws — the latest is New Jersey — although lotteries and casinos have not really leveraged these laws to date.)

But the fear of the new and unknown has slowed progress. That’s despite the continued success demonstrated by the market for NJ online casinos.

The increasing number of states looking for solutions to budget shortfalls would certainly be smart to look at all of the above products to generate new revenue. Sports betting would depend on the result of the US Supreme Court case dealing with New Jersey’s legalization effort. But that case holds potential for states to legalize sports gambling as well, if NJ wins.

But iGaming and DFS are tools that are entirely within the scope of what states can allow their lotteries and casinos to do. The dynamic between New Hampshire and Massachusetts on online lottery is just one example of the advantages using internet platforms can provide.

- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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