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Online Lottery Sales Could Hurt Convenience Stores

Illinois Lottery (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Illinois Lottery (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – Illinois convenience stores are bracing for a financial hit as sales of Illinois lottery tickets are set to go online later this year.

Lottery officials estimate the state will take in $150 million more annually once sales go online, and will attract hundreds of thousands of new players. But Bill Fleischli, executive vice president of the Illinois Association of Convenience Stores, says those are players who will no longer frequent their corner store.

“They’re actually going to reduce our foot traffic and our lottery sales, but also our ancillary sales,” he says. “Because I think the people that come in to buy the lottery tickets, not on a regular basis, will stay home and buy them on the internet. That’s what our members think.”

Fleischli says convenience store employees are specially trained for age specific items such as cigarettes and lottery tickets, and questions how the state will patrol online sales. The state has promised a secure online system to prevent underage sales.

The U.S. Department of Justice last month issued a legal opinion on the matter, paving the way for online sales to begin in March.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports