Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

March 1, 2013

Lottery gears up for online sales in spring

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan Lottery plans to sell online subscriptions for games such as Mega Millions and Powerball starting this spring.

The state said the move will bring in more revenue for schools and improve the lottery experience for players, but some businesses are concerned it will hurt in-store ticket sales, MLive.com reported.

“This is part of the overall goal of having the Lottery continually evolving its product to meet the demands of its players, and continually adapting to the current technology to meet those needs,” Kurt Weiss, spokesman for Gov. Rick Snyder, said in an email.

Gas stations and other stores receive a commission of at least 6 percent on the lottery tickets they sell, plus bonuses for selling certain winning tickets. Retailers are worried about missing out on that money as well as foot traffic from lottery ticket buyers, said Paul Condino, director of government relations for the West Bloomfield Township-based Associated Food & Petroleum Dealers.

Lottery Commissioner Scott Bowen said, however, that studies in other areas have shown online lottery sales do not hurt retailers. The Lottery plans to enhance retail partnerships with promotions and other offerings, such as selling cards for use in online sales.

Daily 3, Daily 4 and Club Keno would not be part of the initial program, which allows customers to sign up for multiple ticket purchases over a period of time.

A new system called iLottery would begin offering online sales of single tickets and instant games near the end of the year. Snyder’s budget proposal calls for $3.3 million to launch iLottery, which could include online, mobile and tablet applications.

The types of games available on iLottery haven’t yet been determined.

The state hopes iLottery will provide at least $118 million in additional profits to the Michigan School Aid Fund in the first four years, and another $361 million over the following four years. The lottery contributed including $778.4 million to the fund last fiscal year.

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