N.J. Lottery wants to try its luck with online sales

New Jersey Lottery officials on Thursday approved plans to expand online sales of draw games starting late next year.

While lottery tickets for games such as Powerball, Mega Millions and Jersey Cash 5 can already be purchased through select third-party companies on Lotto.com and via the Jackpocket app, the move would allow the direct sale of tickets to players through the state lottery’s website, NJLottery.com, and New Jersey Lottery app.

The Division of Lottery is currently partnered with nearly 7,000 retailers throughout the state to supply small businesses with lottery tickets. The proposed regulations would enable the state to sell lottery tickets directly to consumers through the internet.

The New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store, Automotive Association, which represents small businesses across the state who sell lottery tickets, opposes the Lottery Commission’s vote to move forward with the proposed regulation granting itself the ability to sell lottery tickets over the internet, without the involvement of a retailer.

“I just can’t imagine that this won’t take business that would have otherwise been in neighborhood stores, whether that’s irregular players jumping in on a jackpot now doing it on their phone, or regular players making a portion of their purchases online,” Eric Blomgren, NJGCA chief administrator and director of government affairs, said.

State Sens. Steve Oroho (R-Sparta) and Declan O’Scanlon (R-Holmdel) also issued a joint statement supporting New Jersey retail licensed lottery agents:

“The division should not make this short-sighted decision, because they would be negatively impacting small businesses all throughout New Jersey. Online lottery sales could significantly reduce licensed retailers’ revenues and put their small businesses in direct competition with the state. Authorizing online sales of lottery tickets pose additional financial concerns that will deprive convenient stores of necessary revenue from ancillary sales.”