BOSTON —Authorization for the Massachusetts Lottery to sell its products online is not likely to come in 2017, the Senate president said Wednesday morning, and action in 2018 may hinge upon whether online Lottery sales would harm small businesses.
Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and the Lottery again this session are seeking authority from the Legislature to offer current products, scratch tickets, draw games, Keno and so forth, to customers over the internet, arguing that the Lottery’s survival and the hundreds of millions of dollars it returns as local aid are otherwise at risk.
Meanwhile, a special commission formed by the Legislature is looking into legalizing and regulating fantasy sports, eSports and non-Lottery online gaming, and has been tasked with making recommendations for legislation by July 31.
“Online lottery and online gaming are both issues that are being reviewed now to try to figure out how we manage the situation so we don’t hurt the Lottery,” Rosenberg said on Boston Herald Radio. “And in the case of online gaming that we don’t hurt the casino industry we’re building in Massachusetts.”
Rosenberg said research on both topics is expected to be completed this calendar year, “So we could potentially act next year, potentially.”
The Senate in 2016 voted 22-17 to approve online Lottery offerings, but the amendment to an economic development bill failed in House-Senate negotiations. Rosenberg did not vote on that roll call.
On Tuesday, The Boston Globe reported that a survey commissioned by opponents of online lottery, including convenience and package store owners, found that almost 70 percent of Massachusetts voters do not support the idea of an online lottery.