Illinois became on Sunday morning the first state to sell lottery tickets over the internet.
The state is now taking advantage of a ruling from President Obama’s Department of Justice, announced at Christmas, that legalized some forms of online gambling.
“The Illinois Lottery estimates e-ticket sales could net hundreds of thousands of new players, and bring in between $78 million and $118 million in new revenue for the cash-strapped state,” said Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ.
Springfield’s State Journal-Register reported that State Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones said the state hoped up to a million more people will begin buying lottery tickets.
“The idea is for the state to maximize revenue in an ethical and socially responsible manner,” said Jones. “One of the major problems with this lottery and a lot of lotteries in the United States is that it’s so narrowly based. A finite group of people play a lot, and what a successful lottery is all about is getting a large number of people to play a little.”
Anita Bedell, executive director of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, called the online Illinois lottery “a dangerous precedent.”
“With the internet,” she said, “people can purchase tickets 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
To purchase lottery tickets online, gamblers must first register by providing their name, birthday, address, Social Security number and credit card information.
The daily spending limit is $100.
USA Today reported that “at least 21 states and the District of Columbia are considering online lottery sales or other forms of waging.”