The Massachusetts State Lottery wants to expand into online sales, social gaming and daily fantasy sports.
On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Lottery Commission issued a formal request for information that invites technology partners to submit proposals for an ‘iLottery System.’ This system would encompass “digital versions of existing and new lottery games, including but not limited to social gaming and daily fantasy sports options.”
State treasurer Deborah Goldberg has previously stated that the Lottery is overly reliant on scratch tickets and keno, which accounts for 87% of sales but are failing to attract a following among younger demographics. The Lottery has also expressed concern over future competition from the state’s three new casino projects, which will begin opening in the next few years.
In November, Lottery executive director Michael Sweeney fingered daily fantasy sports (DFS) as the single biggest threat to future lottery earnings. On Wednesday, Sweeney noted that the Lottery’s proposed expansion into DFS and other online options would require the approval of state legislators. For instance, current state rules require lottery products to be purchased with cash.
The Lottery has around 7,500 retail partners, some of whom may not be overly wild about online competition eating into their foot traffic. Sensitive to these concerns, the Lottery is seeking info on systems that “allow for cross-pollination between online applications and physical retailer space.”
The pace of state lotteries taking their action online has been glacially slow, and actually went backward in 2015 following the closure of the Minnesota Lottery’s website due to a fit of pique by legislators who felt they were never properly consulted as to the online launch. As it stands, only a handful of state lotteries offer any type of online sales, while Georgia and Michigan are the only lotteries offering products beyond ordinary draw ticket sales.