The Michigan state lottery is to go online with ticket sales and games within the next year, the Associated Press news agency reports, noting that Pollard Banknote Limited of Canada and NeoGames of Malta proposals have been chosen for the state's $23 million iLottery contract for the first four years.
The go-ahead was delayed for around five months due to political opposition to Governor Rick Snyder's budget plans to exploit the online opportunity. The Lottery Bureau went ahead using existing money in its budget to prepare the way for Internet tickets and games on computers and mobile devices.
Snyder asked for nearly $3.4 million in the current budget to promote the iLottery and hire the equivalent of 10 full-time workers, AP reports, but the Republican-led Legislature blocked the issue, citing concerns around competition for retail ticket shops and societal impacts.
Lottery officials responded by saying these concerns are exaggerated because players will have to verify their age and identity, adhere to daily spending limits, and be allowed to set lower spending limits or exclude themselves entirely from the Internet lottery.
In a statement released Monday, Chief Deputy Commissioner Tom Weber said that in today's society, more and more customers want to do business online and that includes lottery players. He said the plan will keep the lottery up to date and boost funding for schools, which receive lottery profits.
Michigan could deposit nearly $120 million more to education in the first four years with the iLottery, according to estimates, growing to $360 million in the following four years.
Part of the contract obligations for Pollard is the setting up of a service centre for the project.
Lottery officials disclosed that Pollard and NeoGames were chosen after two of five proposals from private vendors were disqualified.
The proposal from Pollard and NeoGames scored the best overall and offered the lowest price, beating out plans submitted by GTech and Scientific Games, who have five days to challenge the decision, after which the state will finalise contract negotiations before submitting a deal to a state board for final approval.
Illinois and Georgia already have iLotteries. States such as New York and Minnesota have subscription ticket sales over the Internet.