The Massachusetts Lottery Director is urging the state to legalize and launch online lottery sales to increase sales. Director Michael Sweeney fears that the lottery could become obsolete if the state does not take these new measures.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the state of Massachusetts hard in several areas, and the state lottery is one of these areas. Ticket sales have plummeted over the last two months, and Sweeney is hoping that taking the market online will help fix this problem.
Sweeney has also pointed out that more people are now more familiar with technology than they were a few months ago, and online lottery ticket sales would be a huge hit. Stay-at-home orders in Massachusetts have shut down many nonessential businesses, including several locations where lottery tickets are sold.
The Massachusetts Lottery saw a profit of just $71.6 million during April, which was much lower than the numbers from April 2019. A year ago, the state saw a revenue of more than $94 million.
Mega Millions and Powerball are two of the biggest interstate lottery games in the industry, and they have seen huge hits as well. These two games have canceled their guaranteed jackpots due to low ticket sales.
Most lottery experts predicted that Massachusetts would set records in lottery sales during the year 2020, but it has not gotten off to a great start. 2019 was the biggest and best year ever for the Massachusetts Lottery, but the state will not even come close to matching those numbers from 2020.
Massachusetts posted a net profit of more than $1.1 billion during the 2019 fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019. The state also saw revenue of more than $5.5 billion, which was an all-time high.
The Massachusetts State Lottery Commission has warned lawmakers that the money that has already been lost due to the pandemic can not be made up. Convenience stores and supermarkets remain open during the pandemic, but other locations that sell lottery tickets have been closed down. Bars, casinos, and restaurants are also able to sell lottery tickets, and they have not been able to open their doors since mid-March.
Opening up online lottery ticket sales could make up for some lost ground, and it could lead to even bigger numbers in future years. It is unclear how much support the commission has from lawmakers, but they are pushing hard.
Huge Lottery Market in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is the top lottery market in the United States in terms of how much the average person spends each year. The average adult in Massachusetts spends $926.71 annually on lottery tickets, which is higher than in any other state. The average adult in the state also loses an average of $258.19.
The New York Lottery sells the most lottery tickets each year, but they have a much higher population than Massachusetts. New York had a lottery revenue of more than $10 billion during the 2019 fiscal year. The state was able to provide almost $3.5 billion to public education through their lottery ticket sales.
If Massachusetts can legalize an online lottery system, they would become just the 10th state in the country to do so. The legislature would need to first get a bill passed, and then it would have to be signed into law by the governor.
Rhode Island launched its online lottery earlier this year, becoming the ninth state to go live. They join the states of Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia in the online lottery industry.