Would have added online sales, removed ticket expiration
HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut Lottery players won't get to enjoy buying tickets online or without expiration dates anytime soon.
The legislature's Public Safety and Security Committee declined to vote on the proposals by its deadline Tuesday, after hearing opposition from lottery officials, convenience store owners and gambling addiction experts.
"There just wasn't support for these going forward," said state Sen. Timothy Larson, D-East Hartford, co-chairman of the committee.
One bill would have allowed third-party companies — but not the Connecticut Lottery Corp., which runs the state lottery — to sell state lottery tickets online. That plan drew concerns about lottery fraud on the Internet, lost business for convenience stores and increased risks of underage gambling and gambling addiction.
"Internet sales of lottery tickets should be carefully operated and managed by the lottery, not any variety of service providers seeking a license," Anne Noble, president and CEO of the Connecticut Lottery Corp., told the committee at a public hearing this month.
Eight states allow players to buy lottery tickets or subscriptions online, according to Patrick McHugh, an executive with Scientific Games, which supplies the Connecticut Lottery Corp. with products. McHugh told the legislative committee that having third parties sell state lottery tickets would create unnecessary risks to the integrity and security of the Connecticut Lottery Corp.
The other bill would have allowed the sale of lottery tickets that don't expire and created a "tribunal" to see if players with winning tickets that expired should get any money. State lottery tickets now expire after 180 days. There have been several failed efforts over the years to eliminate prize expiration dates.
Noble said the bill would deprive the state of $8 million to $16 million a year in revenue from unclaimed lottery prizes, and possibly prevent Connecticut from selling tickets for the multistate games Powerball and Mega Millions, which require a 180-day prize claim period.
A lottery player, Brenda Torres, urged the legislative committee to approve the bill. She said she bought a lottery ticket a few years ago and won, but thought the prize claim period was still one year, as it was before it was shortened to six months in 2009.
Torres said she learned about the shortened claim period after returning from visiting relatives in Puerto Rico and immediately tried to redeem the ticket but was told she was a few days late. She didn't say how much money she would have won.