US Lottery Industry Wants In On Offering Sports Betting To Customers

US Lottery Industry Wants In On Offering Sports Betting To Customers

It should come as no surprise that the number of local lottery operators wanting to get in on the action of offering legal sports betting options is considerable.

In many ways, the state lottery agencies are a natural fit for sports betting, as they have already shown themselves to be largely competent at running their own games, sticking to regulations and working with lawmakers and the public. Additionally, state-level lotteries nationwide have firmly entrenched and longstanding infrastructures already in place at more than 200,000 retail locations around the country – infrastructures that are bolstered by widespread support from just about every segment of society and even numerous federal protections. Quite simply, there has never been much controversy throughout the bulk of the country when it comes to playing the Powerball, nor is there much worry about the corrupting influence of scratch-off tickets, while the same cannot be said for casinos or traditional sportsbook operations.

“As states begin to consider sports wagering, the lottery industry is ready to help establish the real-world network that would be involved if called upon to do so,” said Charles McIntyre, the president of North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) and the executive director of the New Hampshire state lottery, in a release to news media outlets.

The NASPL, the trade organization representing all lottery agencies sanctioned by the governments of the US and Canada is apparently looking hard at working with states to help roll out sports betting within those jurisdictions because it simply makes sense from a logistics point to do so. Moreover, the Association is reportedly “keenly focused” on sports betting for a different reason: the fear is that if lotteries do not get involved in offers wagers on sports then they stand a strong chance of missing out on activities that could take a cut out of their usual revenue streams.

If the NASPL is right on that latter point, there could be ramifications beyond just the segment of the broader gambling industry that the organization represents. The NASPL, which issued the aforementioned media release to this effect, explained that loss of market share for the lotteries could mean less money gets diverted to supporting education initiatives and other programs backed by the North American governments. According to data released by the NASPL, the US lottery industry supplied more than $22 billion in funding for state programs during the course of the 2017 fiscal year.

There are other reasons McIntyre further explained that the lottery industries of the US and Canada were longtime opponents of restrictions placed by federal law on sports betting activities, so their interests have always naturally overlapped as well. Now that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) – which previously limited the spread of sports gambling to Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon - has been overturned via a May 14 6-3 majority decision by the US Supreme Court, McIntyre is saying that the time is ripe the lottos.

If the lottery industry itself to collectively step in and step up to the plate, there could be benefits all around, McIntyre said. Locations where lottery tickets are sold “would be natural venues for sports betting products,” he wrote in the news release, and we tend to agree, but he went a little further too, saying that many state lotteries have been selling tickets over the internet for years. Allowing state lotteries to handle online sports betting platforms could be, in McIntyre’s words “a potential avenue for sports betting if a state allows that option, and that means, in real terms, if the appropriate state level regulations can be worked out – and worked within.

If state lawmakers can agree to an arrangement like that regarding domestic internet-based sports betting, there is little doubt on anyone’s mind that the lottery industry has the kind of technical know-how to successfully implement online sports betting products and bring them to market. Ultimately, however, the whole issue hinges upon whether or not it can be done while keeping the sensitive financial and personal information of consumers safe while at the same time balancing the needs of state governments.

At any rate, the NASPL is looking forward to what the future holds in the wake of the favorable decision by the Supreme Court to strike down PASPA, which the organization’s leadership had long decried as violation of the states’ rights and the founding principles of integrity in which state lotteries have prided themselves.

“NASPL respects the sovereignty of state governments to legislate gambling within their respective jurisdictions,” McIntyre said in the release. “Member lotteries operate within strict state laws to transparently support benefits to good causes while protecting the population by offering safe games in a legal and socially responsible manner.”

USA online sportsbooks thinks that all that remains to be seen is if this rhetoric can gain some real traction with state lawmakers going forward as many a legislature starts taking a hard look at how to legalize and regulate sports betting within their borders.