Oregon Eyes Online Lottery In An Attempt To “Join The Current Century”

Written By Steve Ruddock on August 3, 2017

[toc]Don’t look now, but another state is giving serious consideration to authorizing online lottery sales.

The latest state to explore online lottery is Oregon.

Because of the way Oregon’s lottery laws are crafted, the Oregon Lottery might be able to offer online lottery products without legislative approval. you see, the Lottery has broad control when it comes to approving new games. If legislation is required, it would probably have to wait until the 2019 legislative session according to the Portland Tribune.

What’s driving online lottery talks?

The push seems to be coming from Oregon’s new lottery director.

“Our focus is on the opportunity for the Lottery to join the current century and engage players on a platform they want,” Oregon Lottery Director Barry Pack told the Tribune. “There are lots of people playing games on mobile devices. Naturally, they would want to play the lottery there.”

Pack took over control of the Oregon Lottery in November 2016. He then made online a key part of his three-year plan.

The state’s online ambitions are still in the early stages, according to Pack.

“There is no decision right now,” MardiLyn Saathoff, lottery commission chairwoman told the Portland Tribune. “This is sort of a beginning of a lot of work to be done to see if the strategy is one that will work for us and one we can continue to support.”

What would Oregon’s online lottery look like?

The answer to the above question is, we don’t know… yet.

“There are many questions to answer,” Pack said.

The only specifics cited involved creating and funding player accounts. Like proposals introduced in Massachusetts and elsewhere, Pack opposes allowing online players to use credit cards. Furthermore, he would like some type of prepaid card to help tie the online lottery to current brick and mortar retailers.

How many states have taken their lotteries online?

Oregon wouldn’t be the first state to launch an online lottery. In fact, two states, Illinois and Georgia, have been selling lottery tickets online for some five years.

The number of states with legal online lotteries currently stands at five:

  1. Illinois – Online lottery went live in March 2012
  2. Georgia – Online lottery went live in November 2012
  3. Michigan – Online lottery went live in August 2014
  4. Kentucky – Online lottery went live in April 2016
  5. New Hampshire – Online lottery sales are expected to begin in early 2018

A sixth state, Minnesota, offered online lottery from February 2014 – August 2015.

Even more states exploring online lottery

Including Oregon, there are now seven states that have introduced online lottery legislation or expressed interest in online lottery sales:

  1. Connecticut
  2. Hawaii
  3. Massachusetts
  4. New Jersey
  5. Oregon
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. West Virginia

Photo by Cineberg / Shutterstock.com

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Steve Ruddock

Steve Ruddock is an avid poker player and a veteran member of the gaming media. His primary focus is on the regulated US online casino and poker markets. He writes for numerous online and print publications, including OnlinePokerReport.com, USPoker.com, and USA Today.

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