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Massachusetts Lottery Online

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Play Massachusetts Lottery Online

For over a decade, the Massachusetts lottery has lobbied for and tried to get permission to sell lottery tickets online. However, when sports betting became allowed in the state earlier this year, there was, once again, a renewed push urging lawmakers to permit the expansion of the Massachusetts state lottery online. The pressure was borne out of fear that online sports betting could steal potential lottery consumers. 

Since then, two bills - H.255 and S.170 - have been introduced to encourage the establishment of an online lottery. The State House approved and unveiled plans for a so called “iLottery” online lottery platform. This was supposed to allow users to participate in the lottery and purchase tickets from the comfort of their homes. The move was introduced as part of the proposed $56.2 billion State budget. The budget was then sent to the Senate. 

Subsequently, the State House News Service reported that within the week of debates, a majority of the Senators rejected the proposal to create online lottery platforms in the budget. Since then, conversations around the subject have cooled down, especially since the Senate passed its version of the budget without the iLottery allocation in June. 

But the idea is still alive, especially since the Governor, Maura Healy, and Treasurer, Deb Goldberg, remain firm supporters. 

Types of Lottery Games Available in Massachusetts

Powerball Life Changing Jackpot

Players in Massachusetts can play their favorite lottery games by purchasing season tickets. Before April 2021, these season tickets used to be available at retail locations, but now, they are only sold online. Here are some of the games on offer at the state.

Mass Cash

Players can purchase Mass Cash three-month and six-month season tickets in Massachusetts. The game is a $1 wager and can be drawn every day of the week. A three-month season ticket costs $87 while a six-month ticket goes for $175.

Lucky for Life

The Lucky for Life ticket costs $2 a wager and is also drawn seven days each week. It is available in three-month and six-month season tickets at the price of $176 for 91 drawings and $350 for 182 drawings, respectively.

Powerball

Massachusetts also features the popular Powerball game lottery. This game is a $2 wager and can be drawn three times a week. As at the time of writing, the 1-year season ticket is unavailable, but you can get the 3-month ticket for $76 and 6-month tickets for $150.

Mega Millions

Another one of the most popular lottery games in the state, Mega Millions is drawn twice a week and is a $2 wager. Players can purchase the 3-month season ticket for $50 offering 26 drawings while the 6-month season ticket costs double and allows 52 drawings.

Arguments for Online Lottery Sales

The Massachusetts State Governor and Treasurer are not the only prominent officials supporting an online lottery. The interim Massachusetts State Lottery Director, Mark William Bracken, is the biggest advocate for the sales of online lottery tickets. In multiple interviews, he has explained why this will be a good move. 

Primarily, he has stated that it is essential for the lottery to expand in this direction for it to remain a competitive business in the 21st Century. Sen. Paul R. Feeney, who has also been a public supporter of the move, even in the Senate, has also spoken about the need for modernization. 

The other reasons that have been proposed are:

Sports Betting

The legalization of physical and online sports betting in Massachusetts catalyzed the mainstream conversations on local news around the expansion of the Massachusetts State lottery online. In an interview with CBS News, Bracken explained that the accessibility of online sports betting platforms to consumers would mean it would be easy for them to bet on online games with a phone.

However, participating in the lottery would require visiting physical ticket retailers, which is a more tedious experience. Obviously more tedious than using a phone. Bracken worries that the “uneven playing ground” will make it difficult for the lottery to acquire new and younger customers and drive existing customers away. People will spend money they should have spent to purchase tickets at the lottery elsewhere.

Jenny Holaday, the president of Encore Boston Harbor, has refuted this point. According to her, sports betting is a game of skill requiring knowledge of teams and players, while the lottery is a game of chance. So, both will not attract the same customers since they are different games. 

Community Benefit

The money generated by the lottery from tickets is invested back into the community. In 2022, the lottery made $1.1 billion in profits, which was given back to Massachusetts’ 351 cities and towns. Bracken has argued that when the lottery can no longer compete, it will cost the communities. 

He also argues that the $60 million expected in tax revenue from sports gambling will not reduce the effect of the losses at the lottery. House Democrats estimate that the state could generate $200 million in revenue to support the early education and care sector with an online lottery platform.

The Governor also believes that there is no reason the lottery shouldn’t be able to compete for dollars generated from the sales of tickets, bound to benefit communities and towns.  

Success in Other States

Bracken has cited the successful implementation of online lottery platforms in other states of the Country as justification for the same in Massachusetts. He has explained that for it to be beneficial, the platform will have to be like Michigan’s, for example. The Michigan platform has online versions of Mega Millions, Powerball, Keno, instant scratch game tickets, and online drawing. According to Bracken, the Massachusetts lottery is no stranger to the sort of infrastructure required. 

The Mass Lottery app, which was built in 2017, was created to be able to integrate an online lottery system. This system will also, of course, be integrated into the lottery’s website. Ultimately, the goal here will be to allow users to also play online games like Mega Millions and Powerball, where the purchase of tickets, drawing, and the award of prizes could be instant. 

Arguments Against Online Lottery Sales

The parties on the opposing end of the discussion have relied on the following points:

Fewer Customers at Physical Stores

Many retailer locations have opposed the move. They believe an online platform to purchase tickets will reduce the foot traffic into their stores by 20%-30%. This reduced traffic will, of course, translate to reduced commissions and revenue, leading them to have to lay off some of their workers. A result none of the parties involved will be aiming for. 

In response, a report from the Spencer Gaming Lottery Group for officials has shown that it has not significantly affected traditional brick-and-mortar stores in states where an online lottery is permitted. Nevertheless, groups like the New England Convenience Stores & Energy Marketers Association (NECSEMA) are not backing down.

They have made demands should the lottery expand in this direction. Their demands include higher commission rates and the ability to accept whatever payment forms are being accepted online.  Bracken and Feeny have since reemphasized the lottery’s commitment to the retailers it partners with. They remain of the view that schemes could be adopted to drive online customers to physical stores.

Problem Gambling

The addictive nature of gambling presents itself as another risk in the quest to make it easier for people to gamble. Speaking at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Attorney General Andrea Campbell expressed her belief that taking proactive measures instead of reactive ones is crucial in response to forward developments in the field. According to her, this is essential to prevent a potential public health crisis. 

Problem gambling could easily become a problem in the state if the technology encourages people to purchase tickets every time. And that is specifically what the Attorney General is fighting against.  However, Bracken explained that measures like a daily spending cap could be implemented on the platforms to ensure account owners exercise some control.

The AG’s office has clarified that they are not against the push, only wary of it, and want it done with measures to prevent addiction. On the other hand, it is generally presumed that the Senate, which has always been wary of gambling levels, refused the lottery amendment specifically to keep gambling levels down, especially since sports betting was just allowed. 

Ready to Play the Lottery?

The Massachusetts state lottery is not online at this point. However, if the FY2024 budget gets approved, that could change. Right now, users can purchase season tickets online. Winning tickets between $601 and $1000 may also be cashed through the Mass Lottery app. 

18+ to play. Problem Gambling? Call the helpline: (800) 327-5050

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