The most incredible aspect of the US MegaMillions lottery jackpot was not the fact it had not been won since 24 January 2012, nor the record US$ 640 million jackpot but rather that US lottery players still have to stand in queues round the block to buy their tickets.
For an economy that is home to Silicon Valley and Apple Inc, which has revolutionised mobile commerce with its iPhone, the sight of people waiting in line for their 1 in 176 million chance of winning the jackpot was incongruous.
After the Department of Justice’s legal opinion (regarding lotteries and the Wire Act) of December 2011, the Illinois lottery went live with its Internet tickets sales on 25 March 2012.
What would have been ideal for the development of Internet lotteries in the US would have been for a winning ticket to have been purchased over the Internet. A winning jackpot ticket was purchased in Illinois but in a Moto Mart.
If people had seen you can buy a life-changing ticket from the comfort of your couch they wouldn’t accept having to stand in line again.
Global Betting and Gaming Consultants recently attended the Smart Tech lottery conference in New York. Too many of the lotteries are adopting a “wait and see” attitude to Internet development. If state lotteries are to take their share of the developing e-gaming market in the US they need to adopt a more commercial attitude towards new sales channels.
As for US lottery players, help influence the future of lotteries by joining the Lottery Players’ Alliance.