With No Legislation, Illinois Online Lottery Sales Set to Expire This Month

Published March 7, 2016 by Elana K

With No Legislation, Illinois Online Lottery Sales Set to Expire This Month

The House Finance Committee in Illinois failed to approve legislation extending their online lottery sales program, which expires this month. This means that lottery players in Illinois will no longer be able to purchase them online.

It looks like this will be the last month that the Illinois Lottery is able to sell online lottery tickets. The state had first legalized the online selling of lottery tickets in March 2012, becoming the first US state lottery to do so. But the legalization had a time limit: three years. Now, on March 25, the pilot program will expire, and state legislators have not yet taken any action to extend it.

The House Finance Committee in Illinois was supposed to have a hearing about it last week, but it was canceled. And now, the legislative season is ending and will only begin again in April - which means that there will definitely be some break in the online selling of lottery tickets.

This could have been avoided if the bill introduced last year by Republican state Rep. Ed Sullivan had been approved - his bill tried to turn the pilot program into a permanent one, but did not receive approval before the courts adjourned for the year.

Since the launch of online lottery sales in Illinois, revenue has totaled approximately $68 million, with 24% going to state education and construction projects. With the halt of online lottery sales, there will surely be a decrease in funds for these institutions, if not a complete stop.

Benefits of Online Lotteries and Online Casinos

The selling of online lottery tickets, much like the regulation of online gambling, has faced some heavy opposition from most of the states. Georgia and Michigan (and formerly Illinois) are the only states that actually allow the purchasing of online lottery tickets; all other states require players to purchase them at a retailer. As for online gambling, it is allowed in only three states: Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.

Just as Illinois used a portion of its online sales towards important state functions, the revenue from online gambling can also be used to support schools, construction, and other crucial projects. But it seems to be a long process before politicians realize the benefits that can be gained from utilizing online lotteries and casinos.

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