New Massachusetts Poll Shows 50% Of Residents Support Online Lottery Legalization

Written By TJ McBride on April 29, 2024
Massachusetts Online Lottery Poll

The battle to bring the Massachusetts Lottery online has been fought since 2019 at the legislative level, with little movement to show for it. That’s not stopped many interested parties from voicing their support, however — including Massachusetts Lottery Director Mark Bracken.

On top of Bracken’s support, a new poll has revealed that half of the Massachusetts it surveyed also support online lottery options in some form or fashion.

When online lottery options will become legal is up for debate, but the support behind online lottery expansion is growing. Currently, a bill to legalize an online section of the Massachusetts Lottery should see an update in late July.

Massachusetts residents are split 50/50 on online lottery expansion

A recent poll in Massachusetts asked 1002 residents a set of questions. One of them pertained to online lottery expansion which asked:

“The state legislature is considering a proposal which would allow the State Lottery to sell lottery products online to customers aged 18 and over. Would you favor or oppose this proposal?”

Of those 1002 respondents, 17% ‘strongly favored’ the proposal while 33% ‘somewhat favored’ it, generating a total of 50% in support of legal online lottery options.

In total, 37% of respondents voiced opposition to online lottery expansion. 19% were ‘somewhat opposed’ while 18% were ‘strongly opposed’. That left 13% of respondents who either refused to vote or abstained because they did not understand the topic.

Even with 50% support for online lottery options in this Massachusetts survey, many of the respondents did say they have played the lottery this year. Approximately 68% of the 1002 people polled said they bought a scratch ticket or lotto ticket in the last year.

Despite retail lottery activity remaining high, the industry is losing market share to online sports betting. The lottery reported a 6.8% year-over-year drop off in February, which meant $35 million less in sales. The reason for that dip was a $41.1 million fall in scratch-off ticket sales.

This is why Bracken is fighting for Massachusetts online lottery expansion. In the meantime, residents will continue to gamble and bet on sports, as the survey also revealed.

Online lottery legislation details in Massachusetts

State Rep. Daniel Cahill of Lynn filed H.255 with the Massachusetts House earlier this year in another attempt to bring lottery games online.

It was originally presented on February 16, 2023, before getting referred to the Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. That same day, the Senate officially concurred, giving way to a joint hearing that took place almost exactly one year ago. At that point, all momentum stopped until February of this year. Now, the online lottery expansion bill has had its reporting date extended to July 31, which is when more light will be shed on the topic.

According to Bracken, the Massachusetts Lottery needs growth from online lottery games to ensure its success going forward.

“We’re trying to attract a new and emerging generation, and there’s a sense of urgency and a sense of immediate gratification that this emerging generation has. They can easily go on their phone to do a sports fantasy… but if we are allowed to sell online Lottery games, we may be able to catch that player.”

Massachusetts Lottery Director speaks in favor of online lottery expansion

Bracken has not wasted any time throwing support behind online lottery expansion in Massachusetts. He feels the lottery is only losing ground without online options. Bracken explained this during a recent Massachusetts Lottery Commission meeting, saying:

“We’re the last gambling hold out…to be able to go online. Someone who is able to sit [at home] and play sports betting — that’s a major concern for us. A lottery player is not able to do the same.”

Bracken argues that losing market share to massive gambling titans such as DraftKings hurts the lottery and states.

“We have casinos in the state. We also have DraftKings here in the state, and a lot of money is being spent there by a lot of people. What we also have is a lottery system that right now isn’t able to compete against a DraftKings. Nothing against DraftKings, but the Lottery, that’s money coming back to cities and towns. The money spent on DraftKings is going to DraftKings.”

According to Bracken, prioritizing online lottery legalization could allow the lottery to grow while greatly benefiting the state and communities it serves. He said:

“Every single penny of the Lottery’s profits are distributed to communities throughout the state for the benefit of those who live there. Sports betting and casinos, meanwhile, are a for-profit business. In order for the Lottery to continue to meet and exceed its goals, we need to operate like any other 21st century company — we need to make our products available online.”

Additionally, Bracken finds it comical that instant lotto tickets are no longer truly instant. The definition of instant wins has changed with the emergence of online sports betting as he noted in a recent interview:

“If we had online lottery, we’d be able to do what they call ‘e-instant’ tickets… the instant ticket really isn’t ‘instant’ anymore. What’s instant now is being able to place your wager on a sports bet, on fantasy sports, on your phone from one of these gaming platform apps.”

“It’s interesting… it’s called an instant ticket, you should be able to get that ticket instantly”

Bracken feels it’s time to get the Massachusetts Lottery updated with current times to secure its long-term future. And he’s ready to share that sentiment with anyone looking to listen.

Photo by Dreamstime / PlayMA
TJ McBride Avatar
Written by
TJ McBride

T.J. McBride lives in Denver, Colorado and is best known for his work covering the Denver Nuggets for outlets such as FiveThirtyEight, ESPN, Bleacher Report, and other major outlets. After a decade covering the NBA, T.J. has now stepped into the gaming space and now reports and writes on gambling news across the nation.

View all posts by TJ McBride
Privacy Policy