[toc]Right now, Michigan is one of four states which allow residents to purchase lottery tickets and/or play instant win games online. The other three states are: Georgia, Illinois, and Kentucky. That number could have been five, as the Minnesota Lottery authorized online lottery sales for roughly a year before the legislature passed a law prohibiting the sale of lottery tickets online.
However, a fifth state, New Hampshire, will soon replace Minnesota. Even more states could bring their lotteries online in the coming months, as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are both charting a course that will end with online lottery.
New Hampshire is planning on offering lottery products sometime around January 2018. The New Hampshire Legislature passed a bill authorizing the New Hampshire Lottery to offer online lottery games last month. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed the bill at the end of June.
It’s unclear what games New Hampshire will offer, or precisely when its lottery will start accepting online sales. However, local reports indicate the state is shooting for early 2018.
The state will still need to settle on an online lottery provider. The legislation leaves the responsibility of hammering out the regulatory and product details to the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.
NH Lottery Commission Executive Director Charlie McIntyre told local press his agency is trying to hash out the best way to implement and roll out online lottery.
“For us, it’s just an evolution of how we do business,” McIntyre told the Union Leader. “We’re not really selling anything new. We’re just doing it in a different way.”
One thing we do know is New Hampshire’s online lottery will have at least one unique element not seen in other states up to this point. Per the legislation, New Hampshire residents that want to purchase lottery tickets online must first register an account at an existing brick & mortar lottery retailer.
Pennsylvania is really close to putting the finishing touches on a bill that would authorize online lottery sales – along with online gambling and daily fantasy sports. It’s likely Pennsylvania will approve online lottery by the end of 2017.
Interestingly, the idea of the Pennsylvania lottery heading online hasn’t caused the same kind of furor as online casino gambling, even though the same safeguards and regulations would govern both products.
Massachusetts came close to passing an online lottery bill this year. The Senate passed the bill. However, the bill ran out of time in the House at the end of the 2016 legislative session. The Bay State is planning on making a second push at authorizing online lottery sales in 2018, according to Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg.
By early 2018, the US could have five states offering lottery products online with several others prepping to join them.