Massachusetts Lottery Director Wants Online Games and Ticket Sales

Massachusetts Lottery Executive Director Mark Bracken is asking state lawmakers to allow his agency to operate online lottery games and sell tickets via the internet to people aged 18 and older who are physically located within the commonwealth.

Massachusetts Lottery Executive Director Mark Bracken testifies before a legislative committee on Beacon Hill in April 2023. Bracken says the state’s embrace of online sports betting poses risks to the lottery. He wants the state to allow the lottery to also move online. (Image: MassLive)

Bracken heads up the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, which runs and regulates the state’s lottery operations. Bracken says the proliferation of online sports betting, which commenced in the Bay State in March 2023, is likely taking business away from the lottery.

We’re the last gambling hold out … to be able to go online,” Bracken said during the lottery commission’s meeting last week. “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.”

Currently, 11 states have iLottery and allow players to purchase tickets for popular interstate lottery games like Mega Millions and Powerball. They include Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Lottery players in Washington, DC can also play online.

Brick-and-mortar lottery retailers in Massachusetts voiced strong opposition to iLottery when Bracken first suggested the state expand the lottery’s operations online last year. 

Lottery Benefits

Bracken is calling on the Massachusetts General Court, its legislature, to pass a law authorizing online lottery gambling. He says such expansion is critical in ensuring that the state continues to maximize its lottery benefits, which primarily benefit cities and towns through unrestricted local aid.

Since the Massachusetts Lottery sold its first ticket in March 1972, more than $28 billion has been raised for community initiatives.

Bracken reasons that the state’s seven online sportsbooks have won over some lottery players due to the convenience and ability to wager anytime they choose. Offering online instant scratch-off games could help return those players to the lottery.

Though sports betting possibly cut into the lottery’s most recent annual performance, the 2023 fiscal year was nonetheless its best ever. The Massachusetts Lottery reported a nearly $1.2 billion net profit for the year that ended June 30, 2023. However, most of the 2023 fiscal operating year was free of online sports betting competition.

The 2024 fiscal year will be more telling of online sports betting’s impact on the lottery.  

Jackpocket Concern

Boston-based DraftKings in February agreed to acquire lottery courier Jackpocket for $750 million in cash and stock. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2024.

Jackpocket allows lottery players to use a courier to place a bet on their behalf. Jackpocket charges a 7% commission on account deposits.

DraftKings will use Jackpocket to convert lottery players to sports bettors in sports betting states where the lottery courier app operates, including in Massachusetts. In states where iGaming is allowed, DraftKings hopes to pivot Jackpocket players to online gamblers.

The proposed transaction will enable DraftKings to access and grow into the massive U.S. lottery industry, but more importantly strengthen its position in sportsbook and iGaming through higher customer lifetime value — based on demonstrated cross-sell capabilities — and an enhanced customer acquisition engine,” DraftKings said at the time of the announced acquisition.

Jackpocket is live in 16 states, plus Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.

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