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Increasing numbers of U.S. state lotteries are going online

The inequity of US legislation designed to hammer online gambling in the United States was again illustrated this week in an article which appeared in USA Today. Enforcement campaigns against internet gambling in the USA are highly contentious and tend be more than a little selective, with horse racing, state lotteries and fantasy sports all enjoying special 'exemptions' from legislation like the UIGEA, which obstructs financial transactions with most internet gambling operators.

The USA Today piece reveals that the state of Minnesota has been offering online lottery sales since November last year, and a bill to allow online sales has passed through an Assembly committee in New Jersey. Other states are exploring the idea.

"All gaming operations, including state lotteries, are trying to move toward Internet gambling," Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, told USA Today.

A total of 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands offer lotteries according to www.usa.gov.

Republican New York Assemblyman Clifford Crouch is currently sponsoring a bill that would allow online sales of Quick Draw and other games, with a goal of expanding the market, the article notes.

Edwin McGuinn, chief executive officer of eLottery of Stamford, Connecticut projects that a state with online lottery sales would increase revenue 15% within five years and attract "a demographic who doesn't traditionally go into a convenience store to buy a ticket," at a time when many states are grappling with budget deficits.

He said that, in Britain and Finland, the online portions of government lottery sales are 15% and 25%, respectively.

Jenny Canfield, the Minnesota state lottery's director of operations, confirmed that the lottery began selling online lottery subscriptions on November 18 for games such as Powerball and Mega Millions, and had sold 8,772 subscriptions as of last week, generating $333,476.

The New Jersey proposal has several hurdles to clear. A vote by the full Assembly is not yet scheduled and a companion bill, introduced in the Senate earlier this year, awaits a hearing. Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, has not said whether he would support the bill.

Source: InfoPowa News

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