Massachusetts Explores Online Lottery

Convenience stores and other retailers are pushing back against legalizing online lottery sales.

April 24, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Massachusetts lawmakers are considering legalizing online lottery ticket sales, a move that is meeting resistance from convenience stores and other retailers, reports.

Lottery officials say the bump in digital and mobile sports betting in the state could harm lottery revenue if state lottery tickets aren’t available for online sales.

The Massachusetts Lottery could move online by the middle of next year, with support from Gov. Maura Healey and state House leaders. The retailers told legislators to slow down enough to carefully look into the impact digital sales could have on the lottery’s retail locations.

During a hearing, the New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association (NECSEMA), along with the Massachusetts Package Stores Association, expressed their concerns about lost revenue and reduced foot traffic if the lottery allows online sales.

“If you make it so that the lottery players can just ignore our stores completely, then there will be some cannibalization of the lottery market there that will naturally impact us,” said NECSEMA executive director Peter Brennan. If the legislators do legalize online lottery sales, Brennan outlined some things to keep in mind to protect the convenience store industry, such as increasing commissions to lottery agents, allowing retail stores to accept whatever payment methods will be accepted online and keeping current funding for lottery product marketing at retail stores.

According to the Massachusetts Lottery, since it started in 1972 it has distributed more than $31 billion in unrestricted local aid and more than $8 billion in commissions and bonuses retailers.