Kentucky Lottery CEO’s anti-RAWA letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell

kentucky-lottery-mitch-mcconnellLottery services and products provider Pollard Banknote says the Michigan Lottery’s new online site is performing better than expected.

In delivering its Q4 results, the Canada-based Pollard noted that initial results from the November launch of the Michigan Lottery’s iLottery site have been “very encouraging.” Pollard said “all metrics have met or exceeded original targets including revenue, player registrations and net proceeds for the lottery.” Pollard and online lottery provider NeoGames Network Ltd. were selected in December 2013 to power the iLottery site.

Michigan’s online lottery site and similar sites in other states would be forced offline if federal politicians pass the controversial Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). The bill, which has a House committee hearing on March 26, would bar all forms of intrastate online gambling except advance deposit wagering on horse races, fantasy sports and charitable gaming.

The Kentucky Lottery plans to launch its GTECH-powered online site in Q3 of this year and CEO Arthur Gleason Jr. wants to make sure federal politicians don’t head him off at the pass. Gleason has written a letter to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) asking him to oppose the adoption of RAWA, which Gleason says “poses a significant threat to both future and existing lottery sales in Kentucky.”

Gleason argues that “historically, the regulation of gaming has been left to state governments, and for good reason.” Gleason says states are far better equipped than the federal government to determine what levels of gaming their residents will tolerate. Gleason notes that the North American Association of State & Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) shares this view.

Gleason says RAWA backers “claim erroneously that it will restore the online gaming status quo” that existed prior to the 2011 Department of Justice opinion confirming that the 1961 Wire Act applied solely to sports betting. On the contrary, RAWA “unfairly eliminates rights states had prior to that opinion.” Gleason warns that RAWA would “unfairly eliminate current sales channels” including ticket vending machines and other self-service lottery terminals.

Should McConnell prove powerless to defy RAWA supporter/author Sheldon Adelson, Gleason says RAWA “must contain an exemption for state lotteries” similar to the exemptions granted to horseracing, charities and fantasy sports. Contrary to Adelson’s disinformation campaign, Gleason points out that state lotteries had “effective technical solutions” to ensure their players are of legal age. Gleason helpfully included a technical diagram explaining how the system works.

Gleason has sent similar letters to Kentucky’s other senator Rand Paul – whose father Ron Paul has publicly slammed RAWA – and other members of Kentucky’s federal cohort. While Adelson’s right-hand man Andy Abboud has publicly declared that Adelson was “unlikely to accept exemptions” for lotteries and Indian tribes, a lottery exemption would significantly boost RAWA’s chances of passage.