Published: December 30, 2023

NJ Retailers push to prevent NJ Lottery from connecting directly with players via online iLottery channels

- New Jersey Lottery approved a plan in the summer to start online sales

-Stores fear the move would impact in-person sales

-There's a legislative proposal to block direct online sales from NJ Lottery

New Jersey's lottery operator has plans to begin selling tickets online directly to consumers sometime in 2024, appealing to a new generation of players and making purchases even more convenient for residents with a dream.

But there's a big push to make sure that never happens.

A proposed law approved by the Assembly State and Local Government would completely dismantle a plan that was approved by the New Jersey Lottery this past summer.

If the bill were to become law, New Jersey Lottery would be prohibited from directly selling tickets via the web. The move would not affect the rights of already-running courier services such as Jackpocket, which take players' orders and retrieve paper tickets from retailers.

Convenience stores don't want online sales

The Assembly panel advanced the measure unanimously on Dec. 18, after hearing from business groups that are in favor of keeping the New Jersey Lottery out of conducting its own sales.

"Allowing the state to sell tickets directly to the consumer puts our physical retail stores in direct competition with the entity that serves as their supplier, distributor, and chief advertiser," said Eric Blomgren, with the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store, Automotive Association.

Blomgren told lawmakers that lottery ticket sales have long been a cornerstone for convenience stores — the businesses rely on the appeal of the lottery to draw in customers, who then often purchase additional items with a higher margin.

The New Jersey Food Council, an alliance of food retailers, voiced concerns about a "significant detrimental impact" on its members should New Jersey's Lottery plans go into effect.

New Jersey Lottery's proposal, approved in August, would only apply to draw games such as Mega Millions and Jersey Cash 5. Scratch-offs would still only be available in stores.

Under the proposal, online sales would begin in fall 2024.

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