Massachusetts Lawmakers To Debate Online Lottery Sales Again

Written By Jessica Welman on January 18, 2017 - Last Updated on February 19, 2017

The new state legislative sessions are in full swing and another state is adding online gambling to the docket.

This time the state of Massachusetts is considering online lottery tickets thanks to a new bill from state Sen. Jennifer Flanagan.

Details of the MA lottery bill

Flanagan’s bill is known as SD.6. Its chief purpose is to allow to expand the state lottery such that it can be conducted online and via mobile in addition to standard paper tickets.

The details of exactly how the lottery will run are left up to the Massachusetts Lottery Commission. A few basic parameters like age limits (18 and up) and banking particulars are spelled out in the relatively short bill.

Gaming can be available up to seven days a week.

Flanagan’s past online lottery attempt

Flanagan tried to push a similar bill through the state legislature last year. The lottery measure was added to an economic development bill as an amendment.

The amendment was debated on the Senate floor with some advocating the state is simply keeping up with technology and others felt the lottery in general preyed on lower class citizens. The amendment passed by a vote of 22-17.

The bill itself breezed through the Senate by a vote of 39-1. The House failed to vote on it before the end of the year. As a result, Flanagan had to reintroduce the legislation in the new 2017 session.

MA treasurer another online gaming ally

Flanagan is not the only politician in the state rallying for online gaming. State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is also pushing for online gaming expansion.

Last October, Goldberg announced plans to file a 2017 bill to bring online lotteries to Massachusetts. Her plan is to not only bring the state up to speed technologically, but to also look into offering forms of gambling that appeal to younger demographics.

Daily fantasy sports is a subject Goldberg has brought up more than once in the past few months.

Goldberg filed a bill to the state legislature in 2016 as well, but it was never voted on.

Goldberg is only a recent convert to online lotteries and gambling. She spoke with the local press recently about her change of heart and why she is now actively pushing for online gaming.

“What experts tell us is it is much easier to track and put in programs to control compulsive gaming online,” Goldberg told Yarmouth local news. “When you’re operating from an IP address or phone, you can develop programs to identify and restrict a person’s own gambling.”

Goldberg has yet to file any new legislation with the state.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for A graduate of Indiana University and USC, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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