Plans for online lottery sales in Illinois took a step forward Wednesday, with an Illinois Senate committee vote including the multi-state Powerball in a pilot program with Illinois’ games and the other multi-state lottery, Mega-Millions. This is a sensitive area for retailers, whose lobbyist, Bill Fleischli, says the lottery is about to encourage its customers to bypass the biggest sales agents. Lottery director Michael Jones says he can foresee ways that the Internet and the convenience stores can send traffic each other’s way.
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Jones suggests there’s a need to build interest, pointing to 1984: “Some of you may remember the $40 million grand prize won by Mike Witkowski. During that one drawing, during those four days, $32 million worth of lottery tickets were sold. If you remember just two weeks ago, we had a $355 million Powerball grand prize. During that last grand prize event, only $19 million worth of lottery tickets were sold.” S.B. 3497 passed the Senate Executive Committee.