Officials in Iowa are considering making lottery tickets available for purchase via the agency’s website and mobile app beginning in 2019.
Last week, Vice President Mary Neubauer said the Iowa Lottery is in a “strong position” after recording a record $371 million in sales last year.
The program is robust as it currently exists, but modern gaming technology could facilitate increased consumption. The current lottery landscape in the US is moving toward more convenient and cashless options.
Here is what Neubauer told the agency’s board in a briefing paper:
“We have introduced new products in recent years like our InstaPlay games and have enhanced and invigorated our long-term product lines to keep our selection fresh. But no one would say that a selection of solely paper products will withstand the test of time.”
Lawmakers are currently working to draft a bill for consideration during the upcoming legislative session. A few takeaways from the proposal include:
Neubauer said new legislation is needed to combat illegal sales and cater to the growing number of folks who prefer cashless payments.
“It isn’t just millennials any more who aren’t carrying cash,” she said, “and that just creates difficulties with payments for physical products.”
According to a Capital One poll from March, 34 percent of people ages 18-25 rarely or never carry cash. That compares to 25 percent of the over-55 demographic.
The Iowa Lottery Board took no official action on the proposal last week.
While online lottery sales have not sparked the same interest sports betting has, six states currently offer online lottery sales.
Pennsylvania is the only one on that list that does not offer draw games (such as Mega Millions) online. Customers in the Commonwealth must still visit a brick-and-mortar retailer to participate in those games.
Five other states offer online lottery subscription services — the main difference being purchase frequency.
Incidentally, a proposal to legalize Iowa sports betting is also expected to appear in 2019.