Skubick: Internet Lottery Sales Quietly Taking Off

(WLNS) – The state lottery has quietly launched Internet lottery sales which means instead of going to your local store for tickets, you can purchase off your personal computer. Until 6 News Capitol correspondent Tim Skubick started looking into this story, the lottery director was not releasing any of the sales data, but now he is.

With Internet lottery sales you don’t have to visit your neighborhood store for tickets. You sit down in front of your personal computer and play the games from there.

With one click the computer will take you to a variety of games. But Senator Rick Jones, who opposed the I-lottery and tried to block it, says the clicks can cause problems. “Studies show that every time you have more gaming, you have more problems. You have more social ails, more divorces, more bankruptcy’s. I don’t believe we needed internet gaming, people will literally lose their home from their home.”

When the news media wanted to know how the sales were going, the lottery bureau said it would not release the data for eight months.

Senator Steve Bieda wants to see the data now. “A lot of bad things could happen during that period of time. There’s a concern about people sitting at home gambling and that may be a dangerous thing in and of itself. I’d like to see what the numbers are as we need to be more transparent.”

The state lottery czar has steadfastly refused to talk to the media about the controversial Internet sales. He says he is afraid of hurting lottery sales if he was more visible. But when Scott Bowen learned that a critical story was being written on his reluctance to talk, he called and released the numbers. “We’re selling about two million bucks a week. It’s going well. It’s a small part of our business. I know two million sounds like a lot but its less than one percent of our business.”

He also reports that Internet sales have not cut into the sales in the stores as they are up about three and a half percent, the second highest growth in the country.

Internet sales have been online since last Thanksgiving.

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