Massachusetts Lottery to Study Online System

State agency would operate several kinds of wagering

The RFI includes proposals for digital versions of existing and new lottery games, fantasy sports and social gaming. The lottery is also interested in hybrid systems that allow a mix of online and brick-and-mortar locations. The RFI specifies that the lottery is particularly interested in information on player account registration, management and authentication, as well as how to introduce “responsible gaming controls.” It wants to know also how to protect existing businesses that sell lottery tickets.

About daily fantasy sports (DFS), lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney commented, “We believe the introduction of a fantasy sports platform at Massachusetts Lottery would help to embrace an emerging market while continuing to protect our retail partners. This particular type of game would not cannibalize our existing products. We believe the introduction of a fantasy sports platform at Massachusetts Lottery would help to embrace an emerging market while continuing to protect our retail partners.”

Sweeney called fantasy sports “the biggest challenge” facing his industry.

State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, whose department oversees the lottery, has previously warned that the lottery needs to evolve in order to compete with the state’s casinos and with daily fantasy sports. Currently, scratchers account for 87 percent of lottery sales.

Although it would require an extensive action by the legislature for the lottery to offer, for example, online poker, social gaming and daily fantasy sports would not.

State Senator Bruce Tarr (above) plans to introduce a bill that would allow the state’s casinos to offer online gaming, including poker. Right now he is showing copies of the legislation to fellow legislators to get feedback before he actually introduces a bill.

The commission plans to submit its own white paper sometime this year. Political watchers in Massachusetts predict that DFS will be addressed separately, rather than being included in an omnibus bill that includes online poker. Crosby raised the omnibus bill idea last month.