The state of Minnesota began offering online lottery subscription services in 2010. California, Nevada, New Jersey and Massachusetts may follow suit. Online lotteries can create new revenues, which could help many states that are struggling to get out of debt.

Online lotteries may take off fairly quickly, since they are relatively easy to use. Minnesota makes online lotteries as simple as possible. Players can choose their numbers and purchase their tickets as easily as they could in a store.

Pros and Cons of Online Lotteries

Many experts believe that online lotteries will generate more revenue than existing lotteries. Many people find buying tickets online to be more convenient and may play the lottery more often if they could purchase their tickets online.

Although there are plenty of advantages with purchasing lottery tickets over the Internet, there are a few pitfalls that must be taken into consideration:

    • Lack of customer support: People playing the lottery for the first time often have questions about how the system works. They are grateful when a salesperson is there to answer their questions. Online lotteries don’t provide the same level of support.
    • More addictive: People are going to be more impulsive when they are buying lottery tickets online. States are starting to consider the negative impact online lotteries may have on communities with high unemployment. Desperate people are likely to gamble more frequently, especially near the holidays when they really need money.
    • Limited to residents: One advantage of traditional lotteries is the ability to sell tickets to travelers and tourists. Online lotteries can only be sold to people living in the state where the lottery is being run.


Experts Debate the Benefits of Online Lotteries

Despite these drawbacks, many experts believe online lotteries will increase state revenues. U.S. Digital Gaming was an agency set up in 2008 to help states move their lotteries online. The agency says that Americans bet about $66 billion a year. Richard Baskin is the cofounder of U.S. Digital Gaming. He believes introducing online gambling is going to encourage people to play more.

Others don’t believe online lotteries will help states deal with the budget crisis. David G. Shwartz is the cofounder of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. He points out that Nevada legalized gambling in 1931. Unfortunately, regulating casino gambling didn’t fix the state’s budget problems.

No one can predict how successful online lotteries will be. However, plenty of experts are optimistic that online lotteries will increase state revenues and may be a great opportunity for affiliates.

Do you think online lotteries will help states boost their incomes? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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