A bill in Texas aims to do away with the sale of online lottery tickets.
Authored by Sen. Bob Hall, Senate Bill 1820 would close an existing loophole allowing the sale of lottery tickets by phone or online.
In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Lottery altered rules without legislative approval and began selling tickets online and over the phone. The change allowed lottery courier services like Mido Lotto and Jackpocket to sell tickets via a licensed lottery retailer.
Lottery bill gaining steam
On April 12, the bill passed through the state Senate by a 29-2 vote. Since then, SB 1820 has had a reading in the House and is currently sitting in the Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee.
Shortly after the bill’s introduction, Hall said lottery sales should occur face-to-face at a regulated Texas retail location. As it stands, Texas does not have regulatory authority over online lottery couriers. Texas would control and oversee all lottery sales if Hall’s bill were to pass.
Speaking with WFAA, a spokesperson for the Texas Lottery Commission said courier services have no business relationship with the Texas Lottery.
In March, Jay Stewart, an Austin attorney representing Jackpocket, said online courier services are a “convenience.”
“I call [Jackpocket] a company of convenience, just like Uber or DoorDash. It allows those people that can’t make it out to their local retailer an opportunity to play something which they’re legally allowed to do.”
Texas sports franchises invest in lottery courier
In January, online lottery ticket courier Jackpot.com launched in Texas with $42 million in funding from some of the state’s professional sports franchises.
Jackpocket.com has exclusive marketing partnerships with:
- Dallas Cowboys (NFL)
- Houston Rockets (NBA)
- San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
At the time of its Texas launch, Jackpot.com CEO and co-founder Akshay K. Khanna said:
“More than half of Americans buy lottery tickets each year, but only a fraction are bought online – including in Texas, the country’s third-largest lottery market.
Texans embrace innovation, and we know people across the Lone Star State will embrace Jackpot.com’s modern way to play.”