Could Online Lottery Be The Next Form Of Legal Gambling In New York?

Written By David Danzis on July 27, 2023 - Last Updated on July 28, 2023
bingo balls out of tablet screen online lottery

New York’s gambling industry is the talk of the town at the moment, and rightfully so.

The state’s online sports betting market is the largest in the country. Three full-scale casino licenses will be awarded in the near future. And the prospect of legalizing online casinos is becoming more and more plausible by the day.

So, now seems as good a time as any for NY gambling expansion proponents to offer up one more option: online lottery. That’s pretty much the thinking behind state Sen. Joe Addabbo’s seemingly off-the-cuff remarks in a June press release about introducing internet NY lottery legalization alongside another NY online casinos bill when the new legislative session begins in Albany.

The Democrat from Queens admitted the internet lottery idea was novel when PlayNY reached out.

“Ah, you caught that, huh? Just wanted to see if you guys were paying attention,” he joked.

Ain’t no clownin’ around about NY online lottery

But the economics behind offering New Yorkers the option to play the lottery either on their smartphones or computer is no laughing matter.

In 2022, the seven states where online lottery is taxed and regulated generated more than $4.67 billion in revenue. According to analytic site Statista, US online lottery revenue is projected to top $5.23 billion this year.

Traditional retail lottery is more widely available. All told, 44 states, Washington D.C. and two US territories run official lotteries.

In 2022, US lottery sales totaled over $107.92 billion. New York led the nation in lottery sales last year, reporting more than $10.35 billion in ticket sales.

Addabbo predicts the Empire State will cash in on online NY lottery sales, too.

“If you combine iLottery with iGaming, (NY is) sitting on top of (one) billion dollars in revenue. We’re looking at the numbers that we’re seeing for mobile sports betting, and knowing that the population of participants is far greater for iGaming and iLottery, (we’re) sitting on at least a billion dollars in revenue for the state.”

NY neighbors leading the way in online lottery

Obviously, the figures are just projections at this point. Since there is no actual legislative proposal yet, the tax rate, regulatory structure and financial estimates are all fluid.

New Yorkers don’t have to look very far to imagine what internet lottery in NY would look like. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are among the states where it’s currently permitted. Other states where internet lottery is legal are Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and New Hampshire.

In the Garden State, players use third-party apps or websites to purchase tickets online. (2021) and Jackpocket (2019) are both registered courier services with the NJ Lottery. In addition to state-offered quick draw games, Mega Millions and Powerball tickets are available.

Pennsylvania, meanwhile, started offering instant-win scratch offs in 2019. PA online lottery sales now include Mega Millions and Powerball.

Pennsylvania reported $746.6 million in digital lottery sales for its 2021-22 fiscal year.

Rallying the troops for 2024 push for online gambling expansion in NY

Addabbo, chair of the NY Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, told PlayNY he will sponsor proposals to legalize internet lottery and online casinos in NY. There remains some optimism that 2024 could be the year that NY online casinos finally cross the finish line.

When he spoke in June, Addabbo had not yet decided if he would combine the two in one piece of legislation or present separate proposals.

“But going forward, this is something I think the state should consider,” he said.

“We will start to connect the dots, as we did with mobile sports betting. We’ll start talking to those in the industry (and) looking at other states, and try to gain momentum for next year’s budget. So that is basically what we’re going to do in the offseason.”

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David Danzis

David Danzis is a writer for PlayNY. A New Jersey native and honors graduate of Rutgers University, he served as a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, earning statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports and business. Today, he contributes to New York's growing legal gambling landscape, including online sports betting and potential legalization of NY online casinos. David lives in Mays Landing with his wife and two children. When not on the beach, a golf course, or snowboarding, David enjoys watching his beloved New York sports teams — Yankees, Jets, Rangers and Knicks.

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