Virginians could soon buy lottery tickets online
It’s been 14 years since Virginia lawmakers put a ban on online lottery sales.Get more news about 彩票包网开版,you can vist loto98.com
Since then, the iPhone and the e-commerce market have taken off, while sales from the Virginia Lottery — which go to K-12 public education — have declined.
Now, lawmakers want to make it easier to buy lottery tickets from the comfort of your own home.
“Welcome to the 21st century,” said Sen. Tommy Norment, R-James City County, at a gaming subcommittee meeting in January when he presented his bill to expand lottery sales to the internet.
Senators voted 33-6 Monday to repeal the ban on selling lottery tickets online; the House voted 77-21 on Feb. 6 to do the same. It still has to be signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, and if that happens, the law will change July 1.
The changes to Virginia’s stance on gambling began in 2018, when lawmakers voted to allow historical horse racing, played on slot-like machines. Now, the discussion over the online sale of lottery tickets comes as lawmakers are considering broadening Virginia’s gaming landscape to include casinos and sports betting, which could drive people away from buying lottery tickets if they come online.
Lottery ticket sales declined 11.3% over the last year, according to the Virginia Lottery Board.
The money was originally meant to be a supplement to what the state was already setting aside for schools, but it has since been used as a replacement to the dried-up state funds.
The state’s audit commission looked at Michigan’s yearly online lottery sales last year for a study and found it amounted to $78 million, which translated into around $12 million in resources that could be available for K-12 education.
But retailers that rely on impulse purchases — a cup of coffee or a six-pack to go with that lottery ticket at the 7-Eleven, perhaps — are concerned online sales will reduce the amount of foot traffic in their convenience stores.
Others, like the Family Foundation, argue expanding lottery sales could lead to more problem gambling and addiction.
Online lottery sales also offer more guardrails against misuse than an in-person lottery sale, said Kevin Hall, executive director of the Virginia Lottery. You have to create a username and password and verify your age, phone number and address, and the app lets you limit the amount of time or money you spend on it.
Games of skill
Hall said there’s been a severe decline in scratch ticket sales because of the so-far unregulated “games of skill” that have been cropping up by the thousands in convenience stores, truck stops and bars around the state.
Experts say the games could bring between $83 million and $468 million in revenue to the state if regulated, depending on the tax rate, but lawmakers have chosen to ban them by adding them to the definition of “illegal gambling.”
“When you think about the future of Virginia, do we really want mini casinos on every street corner and every bar in Virginia?” said Del. David Bulova, D-Fairfax, on the House floor on Feb. 4.
Dozens of small-business owners, games of skill operators and people who work for Queen of Virginia Skill & Entertainment — which owns the machines — turned up at the committee meetings asking to be regulated.
"Make no mistake about it, a ban on skill games will result in significant job loss in the restaurant, bar and convenience store industry and puts countless small businesses in jeopardy of closing,” said Queen of Virginia Skill & Entertainment in a news release following the vote on the ban.