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Online Lottery Sales Begin, But Some Worried About Privacy

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The Illinois Lottery is now selling tickets online. (Photo credit: myillinoislottery.com)

The Illinois Lottery is now selling tickets online. (Photo credit: myillinoislottery.com)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Illinois is making gambling history. Good or bad, depending on how you feel about playing the Lottery, we now can buy tickets with a few clicks of a mouse.

That means no more waiting in line at a convenience store.

CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey has more details on a surprise Lottery players might get by deciding to go buy their tickets online.

Lottery officials need to make sure they’re not selling to minors and that the people buying tickets actually live in Illinois. But the information lottery officials are asking for is a bit personal, and it’s not sitting well with some ticket buyers.

Signing up to play the Lottery online requires users to provide their date of birth, phone number and Social Security number. Lottery officials say the information is needed to prove a person’s age and residency.

Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones said requiring that personal information is the way officials prevent minors from buying lottery tickets. It also proves that a person lives within state lines.

Right now, the law allowing online sales of Lottery tickets requires buyers to be Illinois residents in order to purchase a ticket. The online system tracks users’ IP addresses, to ensure buyers are within state lines.

CBS 2 caught up with Lacy Simmons, a long time Lottery buyer, at a 7-Eleven on Clark Street on Monday. Simmons said he would consider buying online, but giving up his Social Security number is a bit unnerving.

“Very strange, but I give it out to the credit card companies, so I would consider it,” he said.

Many people who talked to CBS 2 said they are skeptical of giving out such personal information over the Internet and to a state department, but Jones said Lottery buyers have nothing to be concerned about.

He said the Lottery has taken steps to protect users’ personal information online.

“We have a private Manager – North Star – who’s responsible for the operational aspects of lottery and they have hired and created software to do all of that,” he said.

Online Lottery sales started Sunday, with the first ticket purchased at 7:03 a.m. Ticket sales for the first day were more than $16,000.00; and 3,300 users signed up for online accounts.

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