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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Online lottery put on hold in Michigan


Michigan residents will have to wait to gamble in the lottery online. iLottery, proposed by the Michigan Lottery, would have allowed people to buy tickets and play games like Club Keno and scratch-offs right from their computer.

However, that plan is no more. Gov. Rick Snyder approved the state budget that did not include the new gambling tool.

The Governor had originally asked for almost $3.4 million in the budget for iLottery. He hoped that it would bring in more money for public schools by introducing the lottery to the digital age. That budgeted money would have been primarily for advertising the new medium for the Michigan Lottery.

Not all lawmakers were on board with the new idea. Rep. Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, is one of those opponents. He believes that while searching for funding for schools is an admirable cause, promoting gambling addiction is not the way to go.

"Do we really want to have state sponsored gambling online?" Cotter said, "With people being able to wager on their credit cards? Is that good policy? Is that something the state should be driving?"

Cotter says this does not mean that iLottery will never be proposed again. However, he does say this is an idea that Michigan should abandon.

"It's like a slot machine," Cotter explained, "They are transactional and can be repeated. Because they can play with their credit cards, that really worries me. This is an expansion of gambling because it's greatly changing the platform."

Illinois and Georgia have already implemented an online lottery, and many other states are considering it.

Other opponents worried an online lottery would siphon business away from brick-and-mortar lottery vendors.

-Alana Holland, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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