In early 2011, New Jersey passed up on an opportunity to implement an online gambling law because the governor vetoed a bill that had previously been passed by the state Senate and House of Representatives. The bill is now back within the government with an attempt to implement an online lottery. More specifically, the bill is seeking to allow the purchase of state lottery tickets over the Internet.
An Opportunity At Additional Revenue
Every American state that runs a lottery has proven it is a successful method of generating additional revenue. However, at this time lottery tickets are only sold in physical retail outlets. An article on NJ.com discusses the pros and cons of implementing an online lottery. The bill was introduced by Legislator Annette Quijano in the State Assembly. The bill has already been presented to the Assembly Gaming Committee and easily passed.
Terms Of The Bill
The lottery bill will permit New Jersey residents to purchase state lottery tickets through the Internet, email, text messaging, and other electronic channels. The winners would be paid by the lottery commission through direct deposit into their bank accounts.
Opposition From Civil Groups
As with most gambling bills, the opposition has arisen from civil society groups. The group’s primary concern is the purchase of lottery tickets by minors and the potential for an increase in problem gambling. However, the bill offers a variety of built-in measures to counter negative social effects. For instance, payments can only be made through debit cards which would eliminate the potential for purchase without the required funds.
Opposition From Convenience Store Owners
The opposition also originates from convenience store owners that claim they will lose sales of coffee and food from customers that purchase these items while buying lottery tickets. Convenience store owners profit a nickel on lottery tickets but at least a dollar on a cup of coffee. This opposition has been countered by the measure in the bill that distributes five percent of online sales to lottery retailers to compensate the lost business.
The New Jersey Lottery Commission has not released a statement with regards to this proposal. Commission members are scheduled to meet shortly to discuss the bill. Minnesota started offering online ticket subscriptions in November 2011 and New York and Maryland are considering a similar proposal. The legalization of the sale of online lottery tickets could be the first step toward the complete legalization of online gambling in the future.