The New Jersey Lottery has approved a plan to sell draw-based lottery tickets online next year.
First proposed in late 2022, the expansion to online sales has multiple positive impacts, the lottery claims, but local business owners are concerned that online sales will cut into their brick-and-mortar lottery sales.
New Jersey Lottery says online expansion will have social, economic benefits
In the lottery’s initial proposal to implement online sales, it noted that the move would have specific social and economic impacts.
For example, lottery officials noted that online sales “have a favorable social impact by giving access to potential players that might not currently be able to play the Lottery due to mobility restrictions, restrictions resulting from COVID-19, and other factors.”
Additionally, they pointed out, that online sales can help cut down on fraud and pique interest in younger crowds that prefer the convenience of online purchases.
As for the economic impact of online sales, the lottery believes that offering an online purchase option will increase ticket sales and “maintain or increase the [lottery’s’ revenue contribution to the state’s pension systems.”
Lottery officials noted that the expansion to online sales won’t result in lost jobs, and may even create jobs.
Neighborhood business owners wary of the impact of online sales
The future launch of online draw-game ticket sales may improve the New Jersey Lottery’s bottom line, but it may have the opposite effect on local businesses that sell lottery tickets,” said the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store, Automotive Association (NJGCSAA), a group that advocates for the types of businesses that sell lottery tickets.
The NJGCSAA stated in an NJ.com news post:
“I just can’t imagine that this won’t take business that would have otherwise been in neighborhood stores, whether that’s irregular players jumping in on a jackpot now doing it on their phone, or regular players making a portion of their purchases online.”
In addition to losing traffic from lottery customers, businesses would also miss out on the chance to earn sizeable commissions for selling winning tickets.
For example, earlier this month a New Jersey lottery customer won a $1.17 million jackpot from Jersey Cash 5. The retailer that sold the ticket, Park Deli and Grill, earned a $2,000 commission from the win.
All things considered, the NHGCSAA is adamant that the lottery shouldn’t provide a product that competes with retail sales:
“If there is a large market only captured by the availability of internet sales, shouldn’t they already be satisfied by the existing lottery courier companies. Ultimately, the State selling lottery tickets directly to the consumer through the internet puts physical retail stores in competition with the very government entity that is their supplier, distributor, and chief advertiser.”