Industry Reports

Lawmaker Lays Groundwork for Rhode Island to Offer Online Lottery Tickets

The legalization of online lottery across U.S. states turned out to be a hot topic. This Tuesday, a Rhode Island lawmaker announced that she considers introducing a bill that is to allow the state lottery to complement its line of products by offering online products. In a news release, the policymaker explained that the exponential growth of the online gambling market has permeated every corner of society and the state should make the most of it. The lawmaker’s proposal comes in the wake of the state’s push to legalize sports betting.

Yesterday, Rep. Charlene Lima, D-Cranston unveiled plans to introduce a bill, seeking to authorize the state lottery to sell “online scratch tickets”. The official explained that online scratch-off tickets would only spice up the range of products of the Rhode Island Lottery and bring fresh money to the economy. She elaborated that gambling has turned into a preferred pastime for most of the people and that tendency has no perspective to change in the near future.

Lima noted that the bill that she is about to introduce is very similar to the bill, which New Hampshire passed last year. The Granite State and its thorny road to online lottery proved to be successful after last year the state became the fifth to legalize online lottery. The other four states that leaped into online lottery include Illinois, Georgia, Michigan and Kentucky.

Online Lottery to Fund the State Pension Fund

Lima’s bill is to complement Rhode Island’s sports betting bill, that aims at allowing Rhode Island existing casinos to offer sports betting. Lima hopes that the changes would deploy the full potential of the industry and foster economic development. Unlike the sports betting bill, Lima’s bill would require a constitutional amendment as it aims at allowing gambling outside the casinos. The major change is to require also the voters’ approval.

Supposing that the bill receives the needed support, half the revenue generated by online scratch tickets is to flow into the state pension fund. The proposal would allow residents to buy online scratch-off win tickets through the Internet. The players will need only their credit cards in order pay for the online win tickets. The other way to buy online lottery tickets would be through a special mobile app. To prevent underage gambling, customers would need to create an account at a brick-and-mortar lottery retailer.

The lawmaker announced that she does not mind to introduce such an amendment to the voters. Industry insiders believe that the bill has real chances to pass as more states ramp up interest in online lottery.