Massachusetts Split On iLottery Legalization As Senate Omits It From Budget

We’ve got a tug-of-war brewing in the Massachusetts state legislature between the House of Representatives and the state Senate. Among the topics the two sides don’t agree on is the online expansion of the Massachusetts Lottery.

The Massachusetts Senate submitted its budget proposal this week and omitted online lottery. However, the House’s version of the budget did include iLottery.

This begs the question: what’s going to happen, and will Massachusetts join the list of states with online lotteries?

Inside the MA budget proposals and their iLottery impact

The Massachusetts Senate budget proposal includes a spend of nearly $58 billion. However, despite numerous rumblings of potential online lottery expansion, the Senate’s proposal included no stipulations or framework that would bring online lottery to players in the state.

Although, it did suggest allowing debit card purchases of lottery tickets at retail vendors.

Meanwhile, the state House issued a proposed $56.2 billion budget with many differences. Chief among them is the authorization of an iLottery in Massachusetts.

Will an online lottery launch in Massachusetts this year?

Last year’s compromise left iLottery on the Massachusetts cutting room floor. This could be a “history repeats itself” moment. Last year, progress toward online lottery sales stalled in the budget negotiation process.

As reported by WBUR, Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues isn’t too keen on the idea of iLottery. He said:

“First of all, even if we did authorize it, the treasurer testified at a Ways and Means hearing that it would be 14 months from the time of authorization to the time that it will actually generate any revenue, so there’d be no revenue generated in this budget, even if we did authorize online Lottery. And we’ve heard a lot of concerns from brick and mortar retailers, convenience stores and package stores that rely on the Lottery for their business that it would hurt their business.”

Does this mean the House’s proposal is DOA? Not necessarily. There are still negotiations ahead, and Rodrigues’ House equivalent — Aaron Michlewitz — will likely discuss it in depth as the two branches work toward a compromise.


Photo by vectorfusionart via Shutterstock
Graphic from the Massachusetts Lottery

About the Author

Cole Rush

Cole Rush

Cole Rush is a contributor for PlayiLottery who spent six years working at Scientific Games, one of the world's leading lottery operators. He writes for a handful of Catena Media sites, covering online lottery, iGaming, sports betting, and more. A prolific writer in the US gaming market, Cole also has bylines at iGaming Business, ICE 365, and IGB North America. You can email him at [email protected].
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