Last week brought some mixed news for those in Massachusetts who enjoy online gambling. It seems that online betting is set to become legal, while the destiny of iLottery still hangs in balance.
Will iLottery Be Legalized Alongside Online Sports Betting?
For years, Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has been a strong proponent of legalizing online Lottery alongside sports betting. She feels that there’s no real reason why State Lottery shouldn’t be allowed to sell its products and services over the internet. The lottery system as it stands without the power to operate online is under increasing pressure from competition such as Boston casinos, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports.
Last week, she again called for the iLottery to become a part of the legislature that will regulate sports betting in the state. As of a few weeks ago, it’s been pretty clear that casinos in Massachusetts will go ahead with its plan to legalize sports betting. The regulative legislation is supposed to be included in the latest Economic Development Bill.
In the latest draft available to the public, the lottery seemed to be a part of the legalization push, too. The language of the legislature seemingly removed all limitations that would prohibit lottery from selling its products online. However, some growing concerns may have stalled the matter. The main problem is likely the $3 billion the new legislation will require through tax relief funds from these verticals. Separating these funds between the verticals seems to be a dividing issue. This is one of the primary reasons why no final economic development bill was produced before the end of last month. So, while legal online sports betting is mostly a sure thing, iLottery is still relatively far from it.
Hope for a Positive Outcome
Still, Deborah Goldberg hasn’t given up hope that the lottery will be included in the bill and pass the Senate in Bay State. She recently remarked that she’s generally pleased that during the last session, the legislature has explored different avenues to increase state tax revenue. As sports betting becomes legal, Goldberg hopes that she will be able to work with the legislature to hold the lottery harmless.
She added that if members of a Senate gather for another session before the end of the year, she will encourage them to add the lottery legalization provision to the bill. The State Treasurer is convinced that the state is capable of safe and reliable implementation of a legal online lottery. If done properly, iLottery legalization will provide Massachusetts with significantly more funds, perhaps even more than the expected revenue from sports betting.
The leaders of the Massachusetts House and Senate still have to deal with some persistent issues regarding spending and policy initiatives. According to the reports, they plan to carefully reconsider spending and the policy initiatives in the two planned economic bills. The talks will likely continue through the rest of the year, as legislators and residents of Bay State prepare for a slow and long process. The concern is that the objection from just a single lawmaker could derail any positive action towards iLottery legalization.