State Lottery requesting online gaming legislation

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - A scratch off ticket here or a quick pick ticket there keep the Massachusetts State Lottery going, but what if the state lottery's products were also available online?

It is an idea being considered by state lottery officials, but not everyone thinks it’s a good one.

“It’s very dangerous.  The lottery’s tempting enough as it is, and to have online access to it, 24-7? Dangerous,” Stan Norman, from Springfield, told 22News about adding online gaming options.

But Lottery officials say they need to be prepared and come up with new ways to bring in revenue with the likelihood of casinos coming to the state; arguing many cities and towns rely on revenue made by the Lottery.

Supporters of the change say they fear lottery games could end up like Bingo, citing the decline in weekly games from 280 to less than 100.

Currently, state law doesn’t allow online gaming, even when no money is exchanged.

Now, the Lottery is asking lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow them to experiment with online gaming operations.

Lottery representatives said the 7,400 retailers in the state who sell lottery products would be taken into consideration if the bill were to move forward.

Carl Roy, the owner of Country Trading Post, in Chicopee, told 22News that about 30% of his business comes from lottery products, and the availability of those games online would significantly impact his revenue.

“I think that would be very detrimental to us.  Business isn’t that great now and if they expand it to online I think it would hurt us,” Roy said.

The bill has been filed, and if it were to move forward, it would legalize online lottery games, including those where money is wagered.

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