Online gaming is slowly gaining ground in the United States. Online casino gaming, online poker, lottery games and sports betting are found across the US, if you know where to look. For many states, the online component will bring in additional revenues that can be used for educational purposes and state needs. Ohio is one state set to get started in the online lottery world, though gaming will not be available until next year most likely.
So far, it seems that mobile lottery gaming will be live by 2020. The House Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education held a hearing last week on the subject, with officials stating that the new product would be available by next year.
Ohio Lottery Director Pat McDonald commented on the new option by stating that Ohio will be able to keep up with the way that consumers are accustomed to making purchases with online lottery gaming. Consumers already make purchases online including with groceries, books and music, so making lottery tickets available online is the next evolutionary step.
It is imperative that the lottery continues to adapt and simplify the players experience to match current consumer purchasing trends. Likewise, the agency will continue to make it convenient for retailers and consumers to win cash prizes.
It seems that the new option is being used to bring in a new age range of players. For decades, the majority of lottery players are in the older age range. With online gambling offered, Ohio’s lottery could appeal to a younger audience. A new generation of players could give the lottery a much-needed boost and bring in more revenues to the tate.
It is believed that online lottery ticket sales would be able to create an additional $45 million for the state by way of revenues. Within five years, that number is expected to jump to the $100 million range. Of course, these are just estimates and for the most part, it seems that such estimations have been a bit off kilter.
Most online gaming operations do not earn as much as estimated, but the possibility is still there. Online gaming provide one more alternative for players to purchase tickets, rather than having to go to a retailer to do so.
Issues Could Arise
Currently, several neighboring states near Ohio already offer online lottery ticket sales. This includes Pennsylvania, Michigan and Kentucky. For the state to begin offering their own online services, they will have to overcome a few issues.
There are lottery retailers in the state that worry online lottery ticket sales will hurt their business. McDonald has tried to reassure land-based operators that other states have been able to add online lottery sales and they have not cannibalized the retail shops. According to the Lottery Director, the online option has actually increased sales at retail shops.
Religious groups in the state are also not on board with the option. A group called Citizens for Community Values has been vocal as to their displeasure with the new gaming option. The religious organization feels that there are other ways in which to fund education programs that will not exploit impoverished people of the state.
Currently, lottery revenues are used to fund public education from grades K to twelve. For now, online lottery still has a ways to go in the state. Officials of the lottery are planning on receiving proposals soon from companies that would provide the development of an online platform as well as launching and maintaining services.