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NH: No immediate plans for online lottery games

July 18,2016 11:11

The discussion and review comes as the Massachusetts State Lottery pursues legislative approval of a pilot program for online games, The Boston Globe reports. The marketplace is also seeing younger generations, the “digital natives,” eager to stay and ...

There are no immediate plans for online lottery games here, but the oldest state lottery in the nation is booting up a conversation about the pros and cons of “digital disruption” and transformation.The New Hampshire Lottery Commission heard from an expert earlier this year. The dialogue is continuing this summer.Every business and agency must examine changes in technology and adapt accordingly, said Charles McIntyre, executive director of the NH Lottery Commission.The discussion and review comes as the Massachusetts State Lottery pursues legislative approval of a pilot program for online games, The Boston Globe reports. The marketplace is also seeing younger generations, the “digital natives,” eager to stay and play online.“Their patience for content is much more limited than older generations,” McIntyre said.McIntyre is keen to keep pace with trends and consumer interest, a focus that contributed to the state lottery exceeding $300 million in sales this year, which is a record. It’s another reason he and the commission are looking around at what other states are doing. "When Mass. adopts online games, I certainly have a real fear on revenues,” McIntyre said. The commission has described the review as due diligence. There is no major piece of legislation pending in New Hampshire.The NH Lottery Commission heard this spring from Robert Tercek, president of Milestone Entertainment, a vendor based in Beverly Hills, Calif. House Majority Leader Richard Hinch and House Chief of Staff Terry Pfaff were among those in attendance, according to the meeting minutes.Tercek, who plans to confer with state lottery staff again this week, said the commission and legislators in attendance asked good questions about how online lottery games would work.The key issues, just as with the current lottery games, are security, privacy, and player protections, including ensuring that players are not under 18.The discussion is in the early information-gathering stage, Tercek said in an interview.Forty-four states now have a state lottery. Only a few states, including Georgia and Illinois, currently offer online lottery games, in addition to traditional lottery games and tickets. More than a half-dozen states have considered online lottery legislation in the past two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.Tercek said it is an exciting time for online games, given advances in technology and “blistering fast innovation” of games on mobile phones.Some see it as a natural progression. Other see it as a big step. “It’s in the eye of the beholder,” he said.Tercek said there is a “risk of irrelevance,” with an entire generation of people who have lived their entire lives with high-speed internet and want an online option.McIntyre said that whatever advances in technology the commission pursues, it would make sure that its 1,250 retailers statewide would be involved.dtuohy@unionleader.com

Politics,Technology,Social issues,New Hampshire,

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