Hundreds Buy Lottery Tickets Online On First Day Of Internet Sales

UPDATED 03/26/12 9:24 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois became a pioneer Sunday as the first state in the country to offer them online.

As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports, state Lottery officials are happy about the move, and believe it will mean more money for a state that is broke.

But there are concerns, and fears.

The first online Lottery ticket was purchased at 7:03 a.m. Sunday, just three minutes after Illinois officially became the first state to sell lottery tickets online.

A few hours later, more than 600 people had bought tickets, with sales topping $5,000. Lottery officials said they expected the fast pace of sales to continue through to Tuesday evening’s Mega Millions drawing, where the jackpot is an estimated $356 million.

“Exciting may be an understatement,” said Lottery Supt. Michael Jones.”It also is rather nerve-wracking when you think about an absolutely new interface, an absolutely new system, and potentially having the demand you have associated with such a large grand prize.”

But not everyone shares that excitement.

“For my store itself, about 15 percent of my sales comes from the lottery,” said Jigar Shah, who owns a 7-11 on Lake Street.

Shah worries online lottery sales will have a devastating impact on his business.

“It’s going to hurt us in job growth,” Shah said. “We estimate potentially there will be about 7,000 jobs that will be lost, just from the 7-11 franchise itself, which is a great amount of loss, not considering the private business owner,” he said.

But Jones believes online ticket sales will actually generate more business for what he calls the “brick and mortar” stores.

“That’s been the example of other countries that have done Internet sales – overall sales went up, commissions to retailers went up, and a whole new retail channel created a lot profit for good causes in those countries,” Jones said.

But critics have another objection – the fear that easy access to online lottery tickets will be especially bad for gambling addicts.

“I think that what we’re going to see is a whole bunch of people in the state gambling who should not be gambling,” said Doug Dobmeyer of the Task Force Opposed to Gambling.

Jones counters that the lottery is rarely attractive to serious gamblers because of the odds of winning are so poor.

“If you play Mega Millions, it costs a dollar, and the odds against winning the grand prize is 175 million to one, so the very nature of lotteries are not conducive to excessive behavior as other forms of gambling can be,” he said.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Me

    And Addicts have a new way to feed their addiction.

    Its BS when saying people bet little amounts. I worked the lottery machine at one of my jobs. There were 5-6 people that came in each day and dropped $50-$60 on just the draw games and another $30+ on scratch tickets.

    • G-Lep

      You’re right. I gotta cousin dropping a few hundred a week on these; we’re trying to get her to stop. Trouble is, her brother won Little Lotto back in ’90, and she thinks, well, if he won, then I can too. Whole situation is awful.

    • LYNDIA


  • kevin

    not putting my ssn way.

  • Tiffany Thomas-Holmes

    I don’t play but I checked out the site just to learn more about it…..I see you cannot use your own debit/credit card……you have to put money on a Illinois lottery debit card…..they also want your social security number…..too much information just to gamble

  • Illinois State Of Confusion

    They lost me at giving out personal information. I will just go see Hadgee at the 7-11. One sure way to keep a secret is not to tell anyone.

  • Bob

    I don’t have to deal with the RUDE people at Speedway anymore? Thats GREAT!!!!

  • Bob

    Wait! How is this different from online poker gambling? Why is this allowed and online poker is not? Either way its online gambling, soon they will have online scratch off tickets.



  • righttrack

    One of the reasons that the lottery is asking for all that personal information is that if you owe back taxes or child support, they wil snag your winnings and apply that to any monies that you owe. Adn you can bet that if you are behind on child support and they find that you are spending money on the lottery you’ll find yourself in court real quick. They wil also use that information to find people who owe court fines or have warrants out for their arrest.

  • roninil

    “Print your tickets” function didn’t work for me…

  • Toonces

    I thought that you couldn’t use credit cards to buy Lottery tickets……?

  • Chicago Daily Observer » Blog Archive » Online Illinois lottery tickets net $15K first day

    […] Online Lottery Tickets Net $15K 1st Day [Fox Chicago]Hundreds buy lottery tickets online in Illinois [Crains]Hundreds Buy Lottery Tickets Online On First Day Of Internet Sales [CBS Chicago] […]

  • Joh

    They want date of birth and social security number. Is anyone that stupid?

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    Maybe I should get more involved with this sort of business.

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