The chair of the Hoosier Lottery Commission said he fully respects but is "disappointed" that the legislature stopped the lottery from offering online gaming this year.
The chair made his first public comments on the matter at Wednesday's commission meeting.
The Hoosier Lottery was well into plans to offer lottery games online earlier this year. And they informed legislative leaders of those plans.
But after it was uncovered publicly by the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, other lawmakers raised concerns. And ultimately, the General Assembly passed a bill, HEA 1260, to require legislative approval before the lottery could expand online.
Commission Chair William Zielke said the lottery will work with lawmakers to pursue that approval.
“I don’t think we want to maintain the status quo here at the lottery,” Zielke said.
Zielke also noted that several other states have some form of iLottery, including all of Indiana’s surrounding states.
Hoosier Lottery leaders are reacting publicly for the first time to a new law blocking online lottery games unless the legislature okays it.
Lottery commission chairman Bill Zielke says he’s “disappointed” at the law, which legislators pushed through in less than three weeks after reports the lottery was considering smartphone versions of its games. 12 states already offer e-lottery games, including all four of Indiana’s neighbors.
Zielke notes the lottery’s official mission is to maximize revenue for the state in a socially responsible manner, and says the commission should be “entrepreneurial” in finding new ways to reach players.
But Zielke says the required General Assembly green light is just an additional step in the process. He and lottery director Sarah Taylor both say it’s the legislature’s right to set the ground rules, and the lottery will follow them.
Taylor says the lottery hadn’t made a firm decision to offer digital games before the law, and may or may not pursue it with legislators now.