The Illinois Lottery is looking for lawmakers to help aid the search for a new private manager by making Internet lottery sales permanent.
A four-year pilot program allowing the lottery to sell tickets online ended in March, but Jayme Odom, Illinois Lottery chief of staff, said some online sales continue.
“Individuals who are 18 years of age or older with an Illinois mailing address may apply to purchase lottery tickets via subscription,” Odom said.
According to Illinois Lottery information, the online lottery generated $57 million during the four-year program.
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“Since our profits from our online sales and all sales go to fund schools, we didn’t want to shortchange the Common School Fund,” Odom said.
Odom said lawmakers should make the program permanent to not only secure that revenue but also to make managing the lottery more attractive to prospective private managers.
“By making this pilot program permanent, you can provide the certainty for potential bidders and help ensure the lottery is responsive to our Internet-savvy consumers,” Odom said.
Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems Executive Director Anita Bedell said problems associated with gambling outweigh any financial benefit to the state.
“So many people are on the Internet. They show a ticket, you scratch it off, and then it says, ‘Play again,’ so people can lose a lot of money without realizing how quick it’s being drained from their account,” Bedell said.
Private manager Northstar will end its relationship with the Illinois Lottery when a new private manager is in place.