Online lottery becoming more common around the country

Indiana Online Lottery On The Way? State Eyes Plan For 2020

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Looking to maximize more revenue from gambling, the Indiana lottery is set to consider if residents should be allowed to purchase tickets online.

According to the Indiana Business Journal (IBJ), IGT Indiana, which operates the lottery for the state, says it plans to study the technology, marketing strategy and capital investment needed to launch online games.

The move would put the Hoosier State in-line with neighboring Kentucky, Illinois, and Michigan, which have all adopted some form of an online lottery.

IGT Indiana said it will present a plan to the Hoosier Lottery Commission in 2020 that would allow players in Indiana to purchase tickets online for Powerball, Mega Millions and instant games.

Modernizing the lottery

Illinois and Georgia were among the first to implement an online lottery following a 2011 opinion from the US Department of Justice which determined the Federal Wire Act only applied to sports betting.

Jason Schaumburg, communications director for the Illinois Lottery, said in order to grow the lottery and attract new players, selling online made sense. It gives players a better option than offshore gambling while they continue to wait for legal online casinos in Illinois.

“We had to go where our players were,” Schaumburg said.

Dennis Rosebrough, spokesman for the Hoosier Lottery told the Dubois County Herald, official can’t consider any ideas without additional information from IGT.

“Given where we are at this point, any discussion would be purely speculative,” Rosebrough said.

As of April 30, lottery sales in Indiana were $1.12 billion and expected to reach a massive $1.33 billion by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

Online lottery impact on neighboring states

With the exception of Ohio, the Hoosier State is surrounded by state’s that offer online ticket sales.

In Illinois, online sales contributed $43.5 million in fiscal 2018. Kentucky iLottery sales which include, Mega Millions, Powerball, Kentucky Cash Ball, and instant games generated $5.2 million in fiscal 2017, the first full year of operation. Sales increased to $10.2 million in 2018.

The Michigan online lottery operates arguably the most successful iLottery in the country. Online sales reached an enormous $94 million in 2018 including four years of growth since launching in 2014. Michigan iLottery offers Powerball, Mega Millions, Keno and instant games. These latter fill a role equivalent to real money online slots in MI while the state waits to pass iGaming legislation.

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Who offers online lottery?

There are currently seven states that have implemented some form of an online lottery following the 2011 DOJ opinion.

  • Illinois: 2012
  • Georgia: 2012
  • North Carolina: 2013
  • Michigan: 2014
  • Kentucky: 2016
  • New Hampshire: 2018
  • Pennsylvania: 2018

Additionally, Maine, Maryland, New York, North Dakota, and Virginia offer a subscription-only online lottery sales.

Danny Bogus, the architect behind the Michigan Lottery’s digital platform said he expects two to three more states to implement online sales each year.

“Now there’s a model that’s proven,” Bogus told IBJ. “So, it’s really easy for other states to take that best-practice model.”

Online sales may be difficult to predict, but Bogus said states that have implemented some version of an online lottery have seen the benefits.

- Nick comes from West Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in psychology. After a five year stint in Chicago where he wrote about local politics and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, he moved to Washington, D.C. to write about issues related to gambling policy, sports betting and responsible gaming.
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