Massachusetts Treasurer Pushes for Online State Lottery

  • Massachusetts treasurer Deborah Goldberg is heading the charge to legalize an online lottery
  • The Bay State recently agreed to launch a sports betting market
  • Lawmakers are split on how to divide tax responsibilities
  • The 2020 Massachusetts lottery produced $979m in net profit
Red lottery balls
Massachusetts is being pressured by its treasurer to legalize an online lottery. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Following the momentum

Massachusetts officials are calling on the state’s legislature to legalize an online lottery alongside sports betting.

With sports betting set to go online, I hope to work with the legislature to hold the lottery harmless.”

“I am pleased that the legislature explored new ways to generate sustainable revenue for the state this session,” said Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg. “With sports betting set to go online, I hope to work with the legislature to hold the lottery harmless.” 

The extra push comes after the latest Economic Development Bill decided that Massachusetts will soon enter the sports gambling ecosystem. The future of the iLottery was also discussed, although several concerns have risen in the following weeks. The most contentious clause relates to potentially $3bn in tax relief mandated by the new rules.

Online state lottery challenges

State governments have tended to pass betting-related resolutions in batches. Essentially, whenever one highly-debated matter such as sports betting crosses the desk, other legislators take the opportunity to make pitches or concessions on similar ideas, whether that be state tax, lottery regulations, or control of the gaming funds. 

There are exceptions to this rule, as certain states have opted to tackle one issue at a time. Still, Massachusetts looks poised to join the group of sweeping change-makers.

parties have failed to arrange a system that balances the burden created by the new verticals

Before further progress can be made, however, lawmakers must agree on the division of tax funds. Parties have failed to arrange a system that balances the burden created by the new verticals, and an updated version of the bill has not been tabled.

While sports betting is an imminent guarantee, the iLottery is not yet. Luckily for online lottery backers, the previous version of the bill excluded key details about the new sports betting operations, such as when sportsbooks will launch, which still leaves room to maneuver. 

Goldberg remains steadfast in the idea that an iLottery would be of huge help to the state.

“Should members come back this fall to finalize the Economic Development Bill, I encourage them to allow the lottery to offer products online,” said Goldberg. “We are prepared to implement a safe and reliable iLottery with the ability to produce significant, additional dollars for the state, possibly even exceeding the earnings from sports betting.” 

Environment and background

Massachusetts state officials are expected to deliberate over many spending and policy initiatives throughout the remainder of the year. There is no immediate timetable, and any resolution could be drawn out.

Massachusetts has an excellent infrastructure set up for its betting community. The New England Patriots, Boston Celtics and Boston Red Sox are all among the most popular teams in their respective sports, which should promise a decent spillover into the sports betting world.

iLottery stands to gain from sports betting’s projected popularity, as gaming companies would already have a foot in the door. The ease of access online would also make it easier to reach hands-off consumers.

Total revenue reached $5.25bn, the third-highest total in 49 years of operation.

Around this time last year, Goldberg revealed that the Massachusetts state lottery produced $979m in net profit during 2020. Total revenue reached $5.25bn, the third-highest total in 49 years of operation. It was also the sixth consecutive year that revenue exceeded $5bn.

“I am grateful for our loyal customers and proud of the work the Lottery team and dedicated retail partners have done to adjust operations in order to continue to generate essential local aid,” said Goldberg in the report. “At a time when we face mounting challenges, these resources are even more critical for our cities and towns.”