ATLANTA (AJC/ WAOK) – State lottery officials approved an online ticketing system Thursday, with sales to the public expected to begin as soon as November.
The lottery expansion is projected to increase the Georgia Lottery’s revenue by millions of dollars per year. This decision could help increase funding for HOPE Scholarships and pre-kindergarten programs and places Georgia among the first states in the nation to officially expand lottery sales to the Internet.
The Georgia Family Council has expressed disappointment that the ticket sales will be expanded, describing the lottery system as “inherently exploitative.” The group says that research shows a disproportionate share of lottery players are low-income minorities, while those who benefit most from the system are white and of the upper-middle class.
Governor Nathan Deal, though opposed to the expansion of gambling in Georgia, said Thursday that he is okay with online ticket sales.
According to state lottery officials, the addition of online sales will be initially limited to Powerball, Mega Millions, and Fantasy 5. They say they feel comfortable with the decision for expansion because of the technological controls they will be able to place on players who buy online tickets.
The controls include mandatory registration, banking requirements, address and Social Security number, and playing time limits for participants. IP addresses will also be closely monitored to ensure that players online buy the tickets in Georgia. Players must be at least 18 years old.
Will you be tempted to play the lottery online?