New Jersey Online Lottery—Senate Moves to Block Sale of Draw Tickets Over the Internet

A New Jersey online lottery no longer appears to be a done deal, as the state Senate will consider a bill to block the possibility. In August, the New Jersey Lottery Commission (NJLC) approved rules for online draw ticket sales. It would have joined the likes of North Carolina and Illinois, which also sell draw tickets that way but don’t offer online instant games. However, Bill S1450 would make that expressly illegal.

Online ticket sales would be a convenience to lottery players throughout the state. It would also be likely to boost sales and increase state revenue. Not everyone was happy about the idea of an online lottery, however.

Gas stations and convenience stores rely heavily on lottery ticket sales. Not only do they provide direct revenue, they bring customers into the store and increase sales of other products. Naturally, the owners of such establishments immediately protested the NJLC’s plans.

A trade group, the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store, Automotive Association (NJGCA), represents their interests.

Senators Oppose Online Lottery

They’ve found bipartisan support for their grievances in the Senate. NJ Biz reported in August that Senators on both sides of the aisle had reacted negatively to the Lottery’s decision.

Senate Republicans said they believed the new rules aren’t compliant with existing laws. Sen. Vin Gopal, a Democrat, complained that the NJLC had unilaterally moved ahead with a vote after—he claims—being told it would wait to consult with stakeholders.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Joseph P. Cryan, is also a Democrat.

The fact that it has several vocal advocates, bipartisan support, and the backing of an influential trade organization bodes well for the bill’s chances in the Senate. Whether it would also pass in the Assembly is another question. That half of the legislature has been comparatively quiet on the subject, but there’s no indication of whether that silence represents uncertainty, indifference, or implicit assent.

New Jersey Alternatives to Online Lottery Sales

While the future of online draw ticket sales is up in the air, it bodes poorly for the chances of a full online lottery, including instant games. Retailer opposition would be even stronger if new products were to cut into the sales of scratch tickets as well as draws like Powerball and Mega MillionsBut so-called “e-Instants” would likely also raise the hackles of the New Jersey online casino industry, as those products fill a niche that overlaps as much with online slots as with retail scratch tickets.

Some of those casinos offer products that closely resemble scratch tickets. The new Borgata Arcade section of Borgata Online Casino even specializes in those games.

But what about draw lottery players? Even if the Senate bill goes through, they aren’t entirely out of luck. Plans for direct online sales of draw tickets might fall through, but lottery couriers like Jackpocket will remain an option. These services send a proxy to purchase draw tickets at retail on a player’s behalf and hold them until the draw.

Jackpocket is also in the process of launching an online casino in New Jersey. So, it may soon become a one-stop shop for draw ticket courier services and online casino games with a scratch-off mechanic.

About the Author

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon is an online gambling industry analyst with nearly ten years of experience. He currently serves as Casino News Managing Editor for Bonus.com, part of the Catena Media Network. Other gambling news sites he has contributed to include PlayUSA and Online Poker Report, and his writing has been cited in The Atlantic.
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