Florida Department of Lottery officials are said to be considering selling lottery tickets online or at ATMs and gas pumps in an effort to boost flat sales of certain games. The officials released bid documents earlier this year, asking companies seeking the potential 0 million contract to show they have the capabilities to sell tickets via those new methods.
Lottery spokeswoman Connie Barnes said, “There are no plans at this time” to sell lottery tickets online. She said the department “chose to include language” in the bid documents to allow the department to consider “the full spectrum of available technology being utilized in other states that sell lottery products.”
Governor Rick Scott, who staunchly opposes online lottery ticket sales, wrote a letter to Congress last year, stating his concern that internet gambling was being “unleashed on the states.”He noted, “Allowing internet gaming to invade the homes of every American family, and be piped into our dens, our living rooms, our workplaces, and even our kids’ bedrooms and dorm rooms is a major decision.” Scott asked Congress to clarify that federal law bans online lottery ticket sales, despite a 2011 U.S. Department of Justice ruling that states could take online bets as long as they did not involve sporting events.
State Senator Rob Bradley, chairman of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee which is involved in gambling, said he is not “a fan of the government being in the gaming industry.” Bradley commented he would oppose any effort to sell lottery tickets online or at ATMs or gas pumps.
The 30-year-old Florida Lottery’s 10-year, $333 million contract with GTECH to operate the machines that sell Powerball and other lottery game tickets was set to expire in September, but the state signed an emergency extension through March 2017 ,or until a new company is selected.