Massachusetts state officials are warning of possible revenue losses as a result of New Hampshire’s approval of online lottery sales.
The South Coast Today reported that Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney are prodding the legislature to pass a bill that will allow the state lottery to sell products online and introduce Keno.
Goldberg described the Massachusetts Lottery as “sitting here like dead ducks” as the state watches its neighbor launch its Keno game in the first quarter of 2018.
“I think the thing they have to really look at is what drove the profit last year. Keno, for the last two years, we’ve beefed up sales and it has helped carry the ball,” Goldberg told the Lottery Commission on Tuesday, referring to the revenues that the lottery brought to Massachusetts’ coffer.
Goldberg reminded the commission that Keno carried the state over the last two years.
Data showed that Keno lifted Massachusetts Lottery sales to a record high of $915 million in the most recent fiscal year. Keno accounts for about 18 percent of all Lottery sales. Six of the Lottery’s top 10 Keno retailers are located within 10 miles of the New Hampshire border, proving that there’s a healthy market for the game in the Granite State.
But this could all change after New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill in July that seeks to fund full-day kindergarten with revenues from the introduction of Keno, according to Sweeney.
New Hampshire’s Keno games allow players to win five percent more than Massachusetts’ version because the former state doesn’t impose tax on the winnings.
“We’re facing a lot of different types of pressure as a lottery and New Hampshire being more aggressive and receiving more empowerment from their state legislature will have an impact on us, and clearly a negative impact as revenue goes,” Sweeney stressed.