In an effort to get some financial relief during the coronavirus pandemic, the state of Rhode Island has announced that the Rhode Island Lottery is now available online. Land-based sales have seen a significant decline over the last few weeks, prompting a major change.
Rhode Island is now just the ninth state in the United States to launch an online lottery. The other eight states that are already live are Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
The state made the announcement on Tuesday, taking to Twitter to share the good news with residents of the state. In the announcement, Keno and eInstant tickets were specifically advertised as being offered online.
As of Tuesday night, the state already had 12 instant games up and running on the website. “eInstants” are similar to the scratch-off tickets that can be purchased in the store, but all of the action is done online.
Customers have a chance to win up to $200,000 on a mobile scratch-off ticket, depending on which game they choose. There is the possibility to win up to $100,000 by playing Keno online.
The state hopes that by launching the online lottery, it will be easier and more convenient for customers to play the lottery. Ticket sales have dropped as the state has ordered many businesses to close, and people are being ordered to stay home to fight the disease.
Prizes that are up to $600 will be automatically deposited into the player’s account. Any prizes that are won that are more than $600 must be claimed in person at the lottery headquarters in the city of Cranston.
All of the money raised through the Rhode Island Lottery is deposited into the state’s general fund. Since 1974, the state lottery has generated over $7.4 billion in revenue to support various projects and organizations, including public education.
Governor Gina Raimondo shut down all nonessential businesses on March 17, and a number of these businesses also served as Rhode Island Lottery retailers. Monthly gross lottery sales in Rhode Island have declined for three straight months.
The state saw gross lottery sales of just $18.6 million during March. That followed up $20.38 million in sales in February and $22.08 million in gross sales during January.
The Twin River and Tiverton Casinos in the state are also regulated by the Rhode Island State lottery. They have been closed for close to two months, which has also significantly lowered the amount of money that has been brought in.
Rhode Island is facing a projected shortfall of close to $800 million in the budget over the next fiscal year. A major factor in this projection has been the low numbers being brought in by the state lottery.
The state has estimated that lottery revenues are expected to be down close to $130 million over the next fiscal year, which was one of the main reasons for going online.
The Rhode Island Online Lottery can be found by visiting RILOT.com. The lottery is currently offering customers the chance to register for a VIP+ Purchase Power account to begin playing the new online offerings.
The Keno game that is being offered on the website is the same game that customers can play in the retail stores. Many customers have been unable to play these games since their favorite retailer has been closed.
There are several new eInstant games that are being offered by the lottery, and they all come at different costs. Customers can play a game for as little as $1 or try to win big with one of the $20 games.