The Massachusetts Lottery’s fight for its survival begins with a pitch to allow it to offer its current products to customers over the internet.
Sentinel and Enterprise News reported that the state lottery is seeking a nod from the legislature to allow the sale of scratch tickets, draw games, and Keno over the internet to ensure its survival and to preserve the source of funds going to local aid.
The plight of lottery proponents is being overshadowed by the possibility that the state could begin to allow online gambling while dismissing the iLottery.
A special commission formed by the Legislature is looking into legalizing and regulating fantasy sports, eSports and non-Lottery online gaming, and has been tasked with making recommendations for legislation by July 31.
Coincidentally, the legislature met with the Lottery Commission and Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports on Tuesday.
“As the apolitical and independent comptroller of Massachusetts, I have to tell you that that’s enormously disturbing to me, from the standpoint that you have the most successful lottery in the nation, and what you’re really doing is not only kneecapping it from the standpoint of not allowing it to participate in any kind of online way, but also you’re literally, as the treasurer said, handing the keys over to private industry,” said Comptroller Thomas Shack, a member of the Lottery Commission.
Shack added, “To take those revenues away from cities and towns and to then share them in a significant way with private industry just goes against what we’re designed to do as a commonwealth and as a lottery.”
After the hearing, Chairwoman Sen. Eileen Donoghue said she thinks the commission has a lot of work left to do before it decides what it should recommend to the Legislature.
“The more we get into it, I think the more we can appreciate how enormous this task is, to look at all three sectors — fantasy sports, online gaming and eSports — and any one of them could be daunting,” the Lowell Democrat said.