How legal online gambling could impact the Massachusetts lottery

The Special Commission has until July 31st to make recommendations for legislation

Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby, Sen. Eileen Donoghue, and Rep. Joseph Wagner (L-R) heard testimony from online gaming experts Tuesday. The Lottery is worried about the possibility of being shut out of the online gaming marketplace. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – State lottery sales have been on the decline in recent months, with a drop of nearly $6 million in February alone. Making online gambling legal could help them reach a new market.

In the digital age, some Massachusetts residents would rather use smart phones or computers to play games than go to brick and mortar casinos.

Hinckley, Allen & Snyder, LLP partner Mark Hichar told 22News, “All state lotteries are looking to find products that appeal to younger players.”

Lawmakers are considering legalizing online casino-style gaming, like blackjack and poker.

At the same time, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg filed a bill that that would authorize the Massachusetts State Lottery to offer games online and on smartphones apps. Gaming experts say that the online companies could partner with retail locations to help boost sales.

Critics are concerned with the state’s ability to verify that online players are 18 or older and located in Massachusetts, but online gaming experts say there’s more player protection online.

Kevin Mullally, the Vice President of Government Relations at Gaming laboratories International, told 22News, “The ‘know your customer’ and anti-money laundering features of online gaming are much more robust than in a casino environment, where you can play anonymously, or when you’re buying a lottery ticket and they don’t necessarily know who you are.”

The younger audience could instead be pulled in by betting on competitive video gaming, another proposal lawmakers in the state’s Special Commission on online gaming and daily fantasy sports are considering.

The Commission has until July 31st to make recommendations for legislation on online gaming to the state.\

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