Hoosier Lottery to evaluate effectiveness of online games

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Hoosier Lottery is set to consider whether players in Indiana should be allowed to purchase tickets online for Powerball, Mega Millions and instant games, which could provide millions of dollars in gambling revenue as in bordering states.

IGT Indiana, which runs the state lottery, said it will study the technology, marketing strategy, capital investment and crews needed to launch online games, as well as projected profit. It will present an action plan to the Hoosier Lottery Commission in 2020, which could enable online sales without legislative authorization, the Indiana Business Journal reported .

The company initially presented the idea to the commission in May, but without specifics.

Dennis Rosebrough, spokesman for the Hoosier Lottery, said officials can’t consider the idea without more information.

“Given where we are at this point, any discussion would be purely speculative,” Rosebrough said.

Online lottery sales started when a 2011 opinion from the U.S. Department of Justice determined that the Federal Wire Act’s veto on interstate gambling applied exclusively to sports betting.

Illinois and Georgia were among the earliest to roll out online lottery sales in 2012. Now, all but one of Indiana’s neighboring states — Ohio — allow online sales.

Online lottery sales appeal to younger customers and are convenient.

“We just demand instant everything today, and this is just an extension of that,” said Ed Feigenbaum, publisher of Indiana Gaming Insight, a newsletter about the industry.

Scot Imus, executive director of Indiana’s Fuel & Food Association, said his organization — which sells 75% of Indiana’s lottery tickets — needs to do more research before forming an opinion. He said he isn’t certain the lottery needs new ways to increase revenue since it’s already proved successful.

“I’m just not sure how much more is needed in that regard,” Imus said.

The Hoosier Lottery expects sales to reach a record-setting $1.33 billion by the end of the fiscal year on June 30. As of April 30, sales were at $1.12 billion.

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