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Massachusetts official warns lottery could become "irrelevant"

Jun 13, 2018, 10:01 pm

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Massachusetts LotteryMassachusetts Lottery: Massachusetts official warns lottery could become "irrelevant"Rating:

BOSTON, Mass. — With time running out again on a bill that would authorize the Massachusetts Lottery to move online, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg offered a message to business leaders Wednesday morning: We don't want to go the way of Toys R Us.

The massive toy store chain announced plans to shut down its operations on March 15 and is now running liquidation sales across its more than 800 locations.

Goldberg, whose office oversees the Lottery, said Toys R Us was "very late to the game to beginning to sell their products on the Internet."

Speaking at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Forum, Goldberg described Internet sales as "the next step in modernizing the Lottery."

"We don't want to be late to the game," she said during the breakfast event held at the University of Massachusetts Club. "The way I articulate it to people is the last thing I want to be is Toys R Us. Going online is critical in continuing to maintain profits, stay relevant -- and when I talk profits, remember it's local aid."

On Wednesday, Bank of America Massachusetts President Miceal Chamberlain asked Goldberg how she thought sports betting and casinos would affect the Lottery.

"Sports betting is a concern," Goldberg said. "If you have sports betting, and casinos, and fantasy sports, and the Lottery does not go online, it will shortly become irrelevant. It's very straightforward."

The Legislature's Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee has until Friday to decide how to report on an online lottery bill (S 182), as well as bills dealing with horse racing and daily fantasy sports. Rep. Joseph Wagner, the committee's House chair, said last month he did not think the online lottery proposal "will get a favorable recommendation this year."

Last session, the House did not agree to an online lottery authorization that the Senate approved as part of a broader economic development bill.

Asked after her speech about the prospect of completing another legislative term without the online lottery bill advancing, Goldberg pointed to the recent Supreme Court decision striking down a federal sports betting ban and to the anticipated August opening of the state's first resort casino, MGM Springfield.

"I think it very much depends on, as the casino in Springfield opens and what results come from sports betting, we anticipate having a seat at the table, and that online will be looked at in the greater context of the way in which entertainment around these issues are evolving," she said.

Wagner has said he expects the House to take action next session on sports betting, after working this year to research the issue. After the court announced its decision, Goldberg said she "immediately reached out to Legislative leadership to ensure a seat at the table."

Goldberg, a Brookline Democrat who is running for reelection, told the News Service her strategy in advocating for online lottery will be to "keep on explaining the facts of life."

"I mean, these dollars are so critical to every community, and I think if you were to start to see a decline in allocations to the local communities, that's when local elected officials and members of the Legislature will start to say, 'Oh, wait a minute, we need to make sure this doesn't happen,'" she said.

Lottery profits, which are distributed to cities and towns as local aid, surpassed $1 billion for the first time in fiscal 2017. Goldberg told lawmakers in December that profits would likely dip back down below that mark to $968 million in fiscal 2018 and $965 million in fiscal 2019.

Goldberg is running unopposed in her party's primary and in the November election will face a challenge from Lakeville Republican Rep. Keiko Orrall.

Orrall said in May that the Lottery should be looking for ways to become an "active participant" in sports betting, calling it "an opportunity for us to boost local aid support for our cities and towns."

Lowell Sun

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9 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by Tucker Black.
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Avatar
Kentucky
United States
Member #32651
February 14, 2006
9210 Posts
Offline

"Sports betting is a concern," Goldberg said. "If you have sports betting, and casinos, and fantasy sports, and the Lottery does not go online, it will shortly become irrelevant. It's very straightforward."

Online horse racing betting has been around for around 20 years and currently legal in Massachusetts so Online lottery betting should be no problem there. As other states will get into sports betting and Online poker, lotteries as we know them could become irrelevant.

I play Online in KY and with the exception of an occasional pick-3 or pick-4 wager, there is no reason for me to purchase tickets in stores. IMO, eventually those games will be Online too.

    Avatar
    Northern Beaches
    Australia
    Member #187034
    January 9, 2018
    140 Posts
    Offline

    With time running out again on a bill that would authorize the Massachusetts Lottery to move online, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg offered a message to business leaders Wednesday morning: We don't want to go the way of Toys R Us.

    The massive toy store chain announced plans to shut down its operations on March 15 and is now running liquidation sales across its more than 800 locations.

    Goldberg, whose office oversees the Lottery, said Toys R Us was "very late to the game to beginning to sell their products on the Internet."

    Speaking at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Forum, Goldberg described Internet sales as "the next step in modernizing the Lottery."

    "We don't want to be late to the game," she said during the breakfast event held at the University of Massachusetts Club. "The way I articulate it to people is the last thing I want to be is Toys R Us. Going online is critical in continuing to maintain profits, stay relevant -- and when I talk profits, remember it's local aid."

    On Wednesday, Bank of America Massachusetts President Miceal Chamberlain asked Goldberg how she thought sports betting and casinos would affect the Lottery.

    "Sports betting is a concern," Goldberg said. "If you have sports betting, and casinos, and fantasy sports, and the Lottery does not go online, it will shortly become irrelevant. It's very straightforward."

    The Legislature's Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee has until Friday to decide how to report on an online lottery bill (S 182), as well as bills dealing with horse racing and daily fantasy sports. Rep. Joseph Wagner, the committee's House chair, said last month he did not think the online lottery proposal "will get a favorable recommendation this year."

    Last session, the House did not agree to an online lottery authorization that the Senate approved as part of a broader economic development bill.

    Asked after her speech about the prospect of completing another legislative term without the online lottery bill advancing, Goldberg pointed to the recent Supreme Court decision striking down a federal sports betting ban and to the anticipated August opening of the state's first resort casino, MGM Springfield.

    "I think it very much depends on, as the casino in Springfield opens and what results come from sports betting, we anticipate having a seat at the table, and that online will be looked at in the greater context of the way in which entertainment around these issues are evolving," she said.

    Wagner has said he expects the House to take action next session on sports betting, after working this year to research the issue. After the court announced its decision, Goldberg said she "immediately reached out to Legislative leadership to ensure a seat at the table."

    Goldberg, a Brookline Democrat who is running for reelection, told the News Service her strategy in advocating for online lottery will be to "keep on explaining the facts of life."

    "I mean, these dollars are so critical to every community, and I think if you were to start to see a decline in allocations to the local communities, that's when local elected officials and members of the Legislature will start to say, 'Oh, wait a minute, we need to make sure this doesn't happen,'" she said.

    Lottery profits, which are distributed to cities and towns as local aid, surpassed $1 billion for the first time in fiscal 2017. Goldberg told lawmakers in December that profits would likely dip back down below that mark to $968 million in fiscal 2018 and $965 million in fiscal 2019.

    Goldberg is running unopposed in her party's primary and in the November election will face a challenge from Lakeville Republican Rep. Keiko Orrall.

    Orrall said in May that the Lottery should be looking for ways to become an "active participant" in sports betting, calling it "an opportunity for us to boost local aid support for our cities and towns."

    I agree. US State Lotteries really need to embrace technology, or they will get left behind. The UK is a perfect example, of how to use technology to adapt to today's society. The British National Lottery has 9 million online subscribers. It raises billions of pounds for community projects across the UK. Every State Governor, should have a look at the UK National Lottery, which is the most successful lottery in the world.

      Avatar
      NY
      United States
      Member #23834
      October 16, 2005
      4432 Posts
      Offline

      There's a chance things could change, but state lotteries have a huge advantage that Toys R Us didn't have. That's the lack of competition from other states or from Amazon.

      With tickets available at most gas stations and convenience stores I don't see how lack of online sales matters much. Either people play the lottery or they spend their money elsewhere.

        Avatar
        Simpsonville
        United States
        Member #163182
        January 22, 2015
        2634 Posts
        Offline

        My home state can be stuck in its Puritan roots sometimes.  I fear that the Legislature can't/won't see the forest for the trees and miss a goldmine there.

        To keep retailers happy here, which is a concern in MA, KY does not allow pick 3 or Pick 4 to be played on-line.   One day that may change; surprisingly Keno was added not too long ago.  Also the instant tickets are different than those offered in the stores.

        At the one casino, Plainfield, Mass, there is a lottery machine tucked in waiting area for the parking garage elevator out of sight from view.  Am curious to see what the new Springfield MGM will offer as far as lottery products, if any.  Same goes for the yet to be renamed Wynn Casino in Everett.

          rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
          100
          Texas
          United States
          Member #55887
          October 23, 2007
          11525 Posts
          Offline

          I would like to see online play in Texas, but I doubt it will ever happen. Not so much because of the lottery commission, but because there are several legislators in Austin that hate the lottery and would love to get rid of it. They almost did a few years ago until they realized they would have to find the money they would lose through taxes. They still won't even allow casinos in Texas, and know that people go to Oklahoma and Louisiana.

          Politicians telling people how to live.

          CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

          A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

            Avatar
            100
            New York, NY
            United States
            Member #140628
            March 23, 2013
            11223 Posts
            Offline

            What was the figure? Isn’t it 70% of all lottery sales comes from 20% of players. Meaning income levels, 20% of players in a certain income per year class. People with money are less likely to play the lottery as much. So, all this talk about helping communities, and aiding people’s everyday lives , well, it’s a little misleading . We’ve heard this before. This is deceptive advertising. The lottery uses more money for advertising than it does for schools. For the simple reason that it is their fear that with less advertising there will be less sales and less money to give to communities. This idea of reallocating funds in order to help schools and communities has not worked in the past. The Lotteries do not know what they’re doing in the first place. This is just more of the same. And who’s to suffer? The ones given false promises. At least they have advertising to fix that. So much for the communities.

            perhaps the lottery already is irrelevant. If you use a different lens.

            Sometimes you do the right thing just because it’s right.

            You're only as good as your crew.

              Avatar
              Chasing $ Millions.
              White Shores- California
              United States
              Member #136471
              December 12, 2012
              6684 Posts
              Offline

              The minute you quote companies that are going the " way of the dodo bird" in your campaign, for re election, you have the inside track to winning the whole enchilada. Goldberg is one smart cookie. Politics aside, Debbie quoting Toys R Us, as a casualty of being " to little to late " to the prom, may just work in her favor.She could have thrown Sears into the mix as well, and come out on the otherside unscathed.

               * Voice of Reason *   

              * The Truth Hurts *

              People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                Avatar
                Simpsonville
                United States
                Member #163182
                January 22, 2015
                2634 Posts
                Offline

                One day I'll contact IGT again to see how the modernization of lottery machines is going in Massachusetts.  Remember seeing the one that the lady who won the largest ever lottery?  That's what I'm talking about, old, noisy dot matrix.  Can barely read my Season Tickets.

                BTW IGT got awarded the contract to handle sports betting @ the Borgata Casino and Resort.  I'm partial of course to IGT and Borgata flew 22 of us from Cincinnati there for free flight/hotel room.  That is one fine casino, we loved it!

                  Tucker Black's avatar - Kleber Vieira.jpg
                  Reno, NV
                  United States
                  Member #173296
                  February 25, 2016
                  334 Posts
                  Offline

                  I have no idea why there is an Oklahoma state lottery. There are casinos almost everywhere. People buy lottery tickets anyway.

                  Massachusetts has nothing to worry about. Massachusetts is one of those liberal big spender states that thinks less than a billion dollars a year is "not enough".