Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey backs the legalization of online lottery sales to compete with sports betting.
After years of discussion, Bay State legalized sports betting in January. But despite the early success, including $2 million in betting revenue in its first full month of operation, Healey wants to ensure revenue is not left on the table.
Could another expansion of gambling be on the horizon?
Speaking with GBH News’ Boston Public Radio, Healey said she supports an online lottery system.
On April 12, Massachusetts lawmakers revealed a $56.2 billion state budget complete with online lottery sales. This gambling addition of gambling would come less than a year after state lawmakers voted to legalize retail and mobile wagering.
Healey told “Boston Public Radio” that the state lottery isn’t able to compete with sports betting operators like DraftKings.
“We have casinos in the state. We also have DraftKings here in the state, and a lot of money is being spent there by a lot of people. What we also have is a lottery system that right now isn’t able to compete against a DraftKings. Nothing against DraftKings, but the Lottery, that’s money coming back to cities and towns. The money spent on DraftKings is going to DraftKings.”
House lawmakers estimate $200 million in revenue
According to the House’s fiscal year 2024 budget, launching an iLottery platform could generate roughly $200 million in revenue toward early education and child care stabilization grants.
However, this isn’t the first time state lawmakers have pitched online lottery sales. In fact, state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has been trying to sell Lottery products online for years.
Although House lawmakers have supported the initiative, measures to legalize online sales have yet to survive negotiations with the Senate.
“I say this as somebody who was really skeptical about the whole thing, but I think it’s important for us to catch up there and meet people where they are,” Healey said. “That’s why I support the treasurer.”
House budget chief Aaron Michlewitz also agrees that the state needs to remain competitive.
“In the world now of mobile sports betting being so popular, we feel that it’s time for our lottery system to also have a competitive advantage or an equal playing field by creating an online lottery system as well.”