New Massachusetts State Budget Calls For Online Lottery In FY25

A growing belief that legalized online sports betting is impacting the Massachusetts Lottery could be addressed soon.

The Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee rolled out a $57.9 billion state budget on Wednesday for fiscal year 2025. Part of those plans include legalizing an online lottery, as lawmakers feel the need for added funding sources in the state.

Adding iLottery is something Massachusetts Lottery Executive Director Mark Bracken has been vocal in pushing for. It also has support from Gov. Maura Healey.

That could mean Massachusetts will be the next in line to join other states with online lotteries.

Debate on the issue will continue when the state legislatures resume their session on Wednesday, April 24.

Massachusetts iLottery has legislative support

Senate Bill 170 would amend the initial legislation that authorized a state lottery in Massachusetts. It was first brought to the table in February 2023.

It gives power to the commission to establish rules and regulations for lotteries conducted online, over the internet, and through the use of a mobile application.

The $57.9 billion budget released on Wednesday isn’t much different than the one Gov. Healey proposed in January.

Both budgets would greenlight the legalization of online lottery sales.

State casinos are opposed to online lottery, as they feel it could take away from their business. Lottery retailers are also against the legislation over fear of lost revenue.

Despite that, online lotteries have proven to be a growing business for those states that legalize them.

North Carolina had its Digital Instants bring in bring in $50 million in revenue over the first four months of being available. Pennsylvania has seen its iLottery options grow nearly 20% in sales through eight months of this fiscal year.

Bracken feels sports betting impacts lottery sales

Bracken has been very vocal about his feelings that sports betting in the state is taking away from lottery sales.

Sports betting was legalized in Massachusetts in March 2023. Since that time, the state has reported nearly $6 billion in handle with over $580 million in revenue.

This past February, Massachusetts did $478.3 million in lottery sales, which was down 6.8% from February 2023.

Scratch-ticket sales were down by $41.1 million compared to a year ago.

Bracken has stressed the need to combat online sports betting with their own online product for over a year now. He first discussed the issue back in a March 2023 commission meeting:

“We’re the last gambling hold out…to be able to go online. Someone who is able to sit [at home] and play sports betting — that’s a major concern for us. A lottery player is not able to do the same.”

Bracken also notes while sports betting revenue doesn’t directly feed back into the state, all iLottery proceeds would go back into benefitting Massachusetts:

“Every single penny of the Lottery’s profits are distributed to communities throughout the state for the benefit of those who live there. Sports betting and casinos, meanwhile, are a for-profit business. In order for the Lottery to continue to meet and exceed its goals, we need to operate like any other 21st century company — we need to make our products available online.”

 

Photo by PlayiLottery

About the Author

Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis

Lead Writer
A member of Catena Media since 2020, Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer at PlayiLottery, where he handles coverage of the online and retail lottery industry in the US. He previously spearheaded news content at PlayMichigan, where he covered one of the most prominent online lottery industries in the US — among the many other aspects of Michigan's sprawling iGaming market. You can email him at [email protected].
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