Lottery players in the Empire State are now authorized to purchase scratch-off tickets right from their smartphones after the New York State Gaming Commission signed off on the decision as part of their plan to boost the state’s gambling revenue. The move comes at a time when the state is exploring options for the launch of regulated sports betting to assist with the current budget deficit to recover from last year’s economic dip caused by the pandemic.
New York’s gaming regulator approved the new rule on Tuesday, allowing lottery companies in the state to buy instant scratch-off tickets on behalf of their customers and then do home deliveries.
The Concept of Digital Lottery Gaming is Only Two Weeks Old in the Empire State
In case you didn’t know, JackPocket, the first and only third-party lottery app licensed in the United States, only recently entered the Empire State, on 12th Jan to be specific. The application offers players a secure and intuitive platform for buying tickets from official state lotteries.
New Yorkers are already enjoying the convenience of ordering tickets from different lottery games including Numbers, Pick 10, Take 5, Win 4, Cash4Life, New York Lotto, Mega Millions, and Powerball on mobile.
Through JackPocket’s app, users receive a scanned photo of a ticket after paying for it, and with the change in law, the company is free to add instant scratch-off tickets to its offering. For lottery drawings, users can receive winnings worth up to $600 straight from their accounts in the app whereas larger payouts can be picked up in person or delivered to the player.
Should JackPocket throw in scratch-offs in its menu – a plan that it hopes to see through in the coming months, it will offer a more robust service that includes delivering the tickets to the buyer’s home. Users will then have to part with a 9% fee on deposits to enjoy the home delivery option after purchase. In case of a win, players who bought their scratch-off tickets via the app will have to go to a vendor to collect their cash payouts.
Peter Sullivan, the founder, and CEO JackPocket lauded New York’s recent digital shift in a statement as reported by the Associated Press saying;
"The Jackpocket team applauds the innovative action to allow New York Lottery players to order their favorite instant games from licensed lottery couriers. This will not only substantially and responsibly grow the New York Lottery, but will do so with an emphasis on consumer convenience and safety.
Jackpocket supports these regulations, which will make it simpler and more secure for those who want to play the lottery to do so from their homes. We look forward to working with Gov. Cuomo and the New York State Gaming Commission to help grow the New York Lottery in this new and exciting way."
Will the Expanded Regulation Affect the Business of Retail Lotto Stores?
Nevertheless, as good as the news may seem, retail lotto vendors through the New York Association of Convenience Stores were apprehensive about this digitization worrying that it could end up putting them out of business. To calm the nerves of the operators of the retail stores, Pete Sullivan explained that this app expansion was done particularly to target new, younger demographics.
In his statement with the AP, Pete added that over a dozen states across the country had done it to attract younger generations of players and it worked well without detrimental consequences to retail vendors. Part of his comments on the matter read;
“I don’t think we’re going to change the behavior of people like my father who go to the same corner store every day. But … if we can provide somebody a safe alternative and a new distribution model, I think it’s a win-win.”
Some industry observers on the other hand, including Jim Calvin, the president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores, acknowledge that it is still too early to tell how retail lotto businesses will be affected revenue-wise by the digital rollout.
Per New York’s budget documents, education funding from lottery ticket sales is projected to slide by 9% to bring in a total of $2.25 billion for the fiscal year ending 31st March. This decline is the reason why Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration are pulling out all the stops to try and channel more revenue to state coffers from untapped markets in the gaming sector.
Besides the regulated sports betting debate and just sanctioned lottery expansion, Gov. Cuomo has also proposed the introduction of an extra Take 5 daily draw to make them two a day, and the addition of more retail locations for Quick Draw games.