Citing Flat Lotto Sales, Goldberg Again Calls for Online Wagering
By Colin A. Young
State House News Service
BOSTON -- Treasurer Deborah Goldberg on Wednesday renewed her call for the Legislature to allow the Massachusetts Lottery to sell its products online, telling state budget writers to expect the Lottery’s profits to remain stagnant next fiscal year if there is no expansion.
The treasurer has for more than two years been advocating for an online shift for the Lottery, arguing that it cannot continue to generate nearly $1 billion a year for local aid unless it is allowed to compete with daily fantasy sports and other online gaming for new and younger customers who prefer to do things online and on mobile devices. She said the Lottery, which offers scratch tickets and numbers-based draw games, has done as much as it can with the authority it already has.
“As you are aware, the landscape of the gaming industry has shifted in Massachusetts and across the country,” she said. “To the extent possible within our current statutory constraints, our team at the Lottery has adapted to the changing marketplace.”
Goldberg told the Joint Ways and Means Committee that her office projects the Lottery will generate $966 million in net profit during the current fiscal year and about $967 million in fiscal year 2020, which will begin July 1.
After raking in a record $1.035 billion in fiscal 2017, annual Lottery profits -- which are always eyed by lawmakers and local officials for annual local aid increases -- dipped in fiscal 2018 to $997 million.
Goldberg and others have previously cautioned lawmakers that Lottery profits will not hold at their current levels without being able to sell products over the internet, but the Legislature has not embraced the idea.
In 2016, the Senate voted 22-17 to give the Lottery the authority to move online but the matter was never taken up in the House.