Last Tuesday, the Massachusetts Lottery Commission put forward a formal request for proposals on a new lottery system. The request was sent specifically to technology partners in search of something they’re calling an “iLottery System”. The idea is to build “digital versions of existing and new lottery games, including but not limited to social gaming and daily fantasy sports options.” According to State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, the Massachusetts lottery relies too heavily on scratch tickets and Keno. These currently account for 87% of total lottery sales. However, current methods are failing to attract the younger generation.
To continue building a healthy lottery for future citizens to participate in; it is believed that an online lottery is necessary. Last month lottery executive Michael Sweeney spoke of how the daily fantasy sports industry is a big threat to future lottery earnings. Expanding the state lottery with various online options (including some plans similar to the daily fantasy sports strategy) should help to combat this. However, this would require the approval of state legislators as the current state laws record that lottery products can only be purchased with cash.
While Massachusetts is interested in expanding the lottery with an online plan, it also needs to satisfy its current 7,500 retail partners. Many of these businesses would be against changing current legislation as they would see it as an infringement on their traffic. The state lottery hopes to retain current customers with brick and mortar lottery locations as well as adding online options for millennials. Towards this plan they are asking that all proposals “allow for cross-pollination between online applications and physical retailer space.”
Progress has been slow for many states looking to add online lottery options. In fact, last year the Minnesota lottery had to close its website due to a case where legislators felt they were not properly consulted before the launch. This is why Massachusetts is taking careful steps to please all parties involved whenever possible. Only a few states currently offer online options for their lotteries and Michigan and Georgia are the only lotteries with bonus options on their online site. Moving forward with online lottery expansion can be tricky, so Massachusetts hopes that it can come up with some proposals that will work for all parties involved.