[toc]Score one for advocates of legal, regulated online gaming. New Hampshire will soon become the fifth state lottery to take its games online.
The New Hampshire legislature included the online lottery amendment in a sweeping, 100-plus page budget package. Both chambers passed the bill on June 22. Then New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed the bill a week later.
Online lottery and gaming slowly creeping across the country
Unless another state beats them to market, which is entirely possible, New Hampshire will become the eighth state to offer some form of legal online gaming.
- Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, and Kentucky sell online lottery products
- Nevada offers online poker and online sports betting
- Delaware and New Jersey have legal online casino and online poker games
That number is likely to grow in the near future too, as no less than 10 states introduced online gaming and/or online lottery legislation in 2017.
Several of these efforts are making significant progress. Most notably, Pennsylvania is on the cusp of legalizing both online lottery and online casino games.
Other states that are also exploring online lottery legalization in 2017 include:
- New Jersey
Moreover, other states considering online poker and/or casino legalization in 2017 include:
- California (poker-only)
- New Hampshire
- New York (poker only)
- West Virginia
What’s in the online lottery bill?
The section of the bill that deals with online lottery sales reads:
(e) May be sold by or for the lottery commission through the use of mobile applications by mobile devices or over the Internet. With respect to such sales, the lottery commission shall provide:
(1) Age verification measures to be undertaken to block access to and prevent sales of lottery tickets to people under the age of 18 years. Such measures shall include requiring players to register for an account at a lottery retailer licensed pursuant to this chapter.
(2) That lottery purchases shall be limited to transactions initiated and completed within the geographic borders of the state of New Hampshire.
(3) Wager limits for daily, weekly, and monthly amounts for each player and account consistent with the best practices in addressing problem gambling.
(4) A voluntary self-exclusion program for players to self-exclude themselves from wagering for set periods of time.
The only nonstandard aspect of the bill is the requirement that first-time players register in-person at a brick and mortar lottery retailer.
When can Granite State residents expect online lottery to go live?
The effective date of the online lottery amendment is July 1, 2017, but it will likely be some time before New Hampshire offers online lottery products.
Based on the timelines in other states, the wait could be anywhere from a few months to several years.
Georgia was the fastest to market, getting its online lottery up and running just four months after it was officially approved in 2012. Conversely, it took Kentucky over three years to go from approval to launch.
Among the things that will have to be taken care of:
- New Hampshire will need to choose an online lottery vendor.
- The state needs to establish regulations.
- Launch a website.
- Completing game integrity and security testing
As noted above, the legislation tasks the New Hampshire Lottery Commission with:
- Setting up player verification and geolocation measures
- Determining daily, weekly, and monthly wagering limits
- Enacting a self-exclusion program
Impact on Massachusetts gambling
New Hampshire’s neighbor to the south, Massachusetts, is also a candidate for online lottery expansion.
Online lottery already has a lot of powerful supporters in Massachusetts, including Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, whose office oversees the Massachusetts Lottery.
Massachusetts was a strong candidate for online expansion this year too. However, the state took its customary slow approach to the concept. As a result, the legislature let online lottery and gaming expansion bleed into 2018.
New Hampshire beating it to the punch might help fan the flames for online lottery expansion in Massachusetts though.