Minnesota and Missouri are now allowing lottery sales as people gas up their vehicles and pay at the pump, but Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich isn’t ready to ask Iowa legislators to allow those kind of transactions at gas pumps here.
“It’s a subject that has and needs a lot of safeguards,” Rich says, “and I sure wouldn’t feel positive about doing something until I’m fully convinced that we have all the safeguards in place for amount of money people might be able to spend and/or the whole safeguards in terms of social impact.”
Minnesota began testing Powerball ticket sales at gas pumps last year. Missouri began testing the concept this fall at 15 gas stations as well as 100 ATMs in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas. Rich says the technology to allow those gas-pump ticket sales is rather expensive and that’s one reason he’s not yet sold on the concept for Iowa gas stations.
“We really want to see what the financial impact is,” Rich says. “I don’t like to spend money unless I know that it’s going to be a positive financial return for the State of Iowa.”
This fall Delaware’s lottery began offering on-line casino games like blackjack and roulette. New Jersey is on the verge of doing that, too, but the games won’t be operated by that state’s lottery/.The neighboring state of Illinois is selling Powerball and MegaMillions tickets online.
“There are so many safeguards that we want to make sure and ensure are in place,” Rich says. “We think those are in place now, but we’ll continue to test those and look at that, but it’ll really be determined by what the public and, I think, the other gaming entities in Iowa do to see what our next step is.”
Iowa’s casinos have been lobbying legislators to pass a law that allows the casinos to offer on-line poker games, but the effort has stalled in each of the past two years.