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Mass. Treasurer: Internet lottery in near horizon

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm •  Published: December 11, 2012

BOSTON (AP) — Treasurer Steven Grossman is gearing up to ask state lawmakers for permission to create and test what he hopes will be a first wave of Internet lottery games in Massachusetts.

Grossman said Tuesday that he plans to ask the Legislature to eliminate existing barriers in state law that prevent the lottery from selling tickets and other games online or accepting credit cards as a form of payment.

Grossman said the kinds of lottery items for sale on the Internet could include familiar games like Mega Millions, Powerball and instant tickets.

But Lottery officials are also looking at possibly developing so-called "social gaming" ventures like fantasy sports leagues. Other games such as online poker might not be feasible at first.

Grossman said the Lottery needs to test different games to decide which might produce the most revenue. He said the threat of Internet gambling to existing state lotteries is "imminent."

"Internet gaming is going to be a fact of life and is going to have an impact on lotteries all over the country in the relatively near future," he said. "We want to move as quickly as we can, as appropriately as we can."

Grossman, who as treasurer oversees the lottery, said a special task force he set up to explore the issue is preparing to release its findings.

Among those recommendations is that any plan to expand the lottery online must also protect the 7,400 convenience stores, liquor stores and other stores that sell physical lottery tickets. Grossman called the lottery agents the backbone of the system.

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