When Illinois lottery jackpots swell into the hundreds of millions, so do the lines for tickets. What if you could simply purchase lottery tickets online, at home or work?
That's been the vision of Illinois State Senator John Cullerton since February of this year, when Lottery Post reported that the Senator was pushing for lottery ticket sales over the Internet (www.lotterypost.com/news/189242).
"When a jackpot gets up over eighty million, that's when people want to buy at least one ticket, because you can't win if you don't have a ticket," said Sen. Cullerton. "That's when you could buy them on the internet, The way people. buy their plane tickets on the internet, or wedding gifts."
Sen. Cullerton has been pushing the online lottery proposal to help raise millions for the state. But critics says it could allow children to buy lottery tickets, and increase addiction to gambling.
Jim Wagner, former president of Crime Commission, said, "We know that its addictive to gamble and to bet, there are personalities that can't stop once they start."
Wagner also points out that federal law prohibits online gambling. Sen. Cullerton says the Justice Department could provide an exemption.
"Keep in mind, this is barely gambling," said Sen. Cullerton.
Sen. Cullerton says that making lottery tickets available over the internet would increase participation by wealthier individuals who have not been sufficiently targeted for lottery sales in the past.
Chicagoans seemed split on whether its a good idea. Some of the thoughts expressed by people interviewed:
"Yah, i think its a great idea. The problem of course is how to police it. That's the big question."
"If you need them that badly, then you should make the trip out to the convenience store.".
And, when asked, "If they make them available on your home computer, would you buy lottery tickets," one person responded:
"I would not buy a lottery ticket regardless of whether it was available online or anywhere.