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Online Lottery Sales Could Begin In Spring

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Illinois Lottery (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Illinois Lottery (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 12/28/11 5:48 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – The Illinois Lottery is racing headlong into the Internet age.

As CBS2’s Mike Parker reports, before long, you’ll be able to buy Illinois Lottery tickets online, using your home computer or even your iPhone.

Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones says that “for the first time ever, adults in the state of Illinois can buy Mega Millions, Power Ball and Lotto tickets on the internet.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports

The move to online Lottery play is due to start here in late March or early April. The state says this new method of playing with a credit card and a computer will have safeguards.

It’s promised that the website will be secure, limited to Illinois adults and, while details are as yet unavailable, there will be limits on the amount wagered in each game. The projected revenue increase for heavily played games is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Gov. Pat Quinn says, “It’s probably when those jackpots occur that folks will want to participate and that, I think will lead to increased sales for the lottery. That’s a good thing.”

A well-known gaming opponent disagrees.

“Forty-seven percent of people who do online gambling are addicted. So why on earth this governor wants to allow that in this state is beyond me,” said Doug Dobmeyer, spokesman for the Task Force to Oppose Gambling in Chicago.

The head of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, or ILCAAAP, is also outraged by what she sees as justice changing its mind on what it had considered a criminal activity.

Anita Bedell scoffs at proposed safeguards to keep kids from gambling, such as requiring a driver’s license to prove their age.

“They could borrow anybody’s driver’s license and type in the number,” she said.

At one North Side convenience store Tuesday night, there were cheers for the plan.

One customer said, “that’s cool.”

Another described it as “fantastic.”

The store’s owner thinks otherwise.

“Of course it’s going to hurt my business,” said Vinod Sanghrakja. “The Lottery people, they will stop coming here.”

The retailers who sell tickets in their stores are understandably unhappy. They get a cut of their ticket sales and a percentage of each winning ticket they sell.

Online lottery sales are projected to bring millions of dollars in new state revenue.

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