26th of June 2013 Author: Glo Wood
The Michigan policymakers have announced blocking $3.4 million in funding originally allocated for launching online tickets sales and games in early 2014 within the state lottery latest initiative.
The Lottery spokeswoman Andi Brancato gave an official statement to the Associated Press Tuesday, but refused to answer further questions.
"Plans for an iLottery system have been suspended so that the Lottery may further evaluate the program," Brancato said.
Allocation of $3.4 million from the next state budget was requested earlier this year by Gov. Rick Snyder in order to implement the iLottery as a way to fund education plans and move the lottery forward with the times. As per the initial plan, employing only a modest 10 staff complement was feasible.
However, the funding has been blocked by the Republican-led state administration on the grounds of concerns about increased gambling addiction, personal debt and potential competition to retail ticket outlets in convenience stores.
Despite being indefinitely postponed, the iLottery plans could still be realized after the internal review by using other funds from the lottery budget.
"If they wanted to do it, they still could," said Rep. Kevin Cotter known for advocating ban on lottery going online, the Associated Press reports.
"Additional revenue is a good thing for the lottery because that funds schools. My concern is that with iLottery, it would allow them to put all their games online. My biggest concerns are with scratch-off games as well as Club Keno. Both of those games online would be very transactional, like a slot machine, one game after another," Cotter said.
Claiming he is less concerned with people buying Powerball or Daily 4 tickets online because he sees that as more a matter of convenience, Cotter added: "This is really state-sponsored, wherever-you-are gambling. People could be at work, could be at home. They could be gambling away the home they're sitting in. State government shouldn't be blazing the trail on this."
Concerns about gambling addiction and potential high debts on credit cards have been already addressed by the lottery officials who pointed out that Internet and software technology can restrict how much people play. They also explained that players could pre-authorise the lottery to block them once they hit caps on spending.
Lottery tickets are already being sold online in Illinois and Georgia, and several other states are considering this option.
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