The Massachusetts Lottery is planning on allowing its players to claim larger prizes through their phones via the lottery’s mobile app, starting from next spring.

The Bay State lottery revealed this week that it will expand its mobile app functionality to give players the option of having winnings deposited directly into a bank account. The lottery’s officials believe the new prize claims process alternative will eliminate millions of miles of travel by car, subsequently contributing towards bringing down greenhouse gas emissions.

Massachusetts Lottery Director Michael Sweeney said, via MassLive: “Besides doing all the obvious things like meeting our customers where they already are, meeting the modern-day technology expectations of people, it potentially has a huge impact on the environment.”

The first phase of the rollout will enable players to quickly scan lottery tickets through the mobile app, followed by a second phase, which will allow them to claim prizes between $601 and $5,000 through the app. Winnings claimed through this method will be wired to a player’s bank account after the lottery withholds any unpaid tax or child support obligations.

Sweeney added the ability to scan tickets as well as the new claim option will give players more privacy and convenience.

He said: “If you live on the Cape, you have to drive to New Bedford or Dorchester or Braintree. If you live in Western Mass., in Williamstown or North Adams, you have to drive down to Springfield. These are not convenient trips for anyone.”

Using prize claim data from last year, the lottery estimates a 50% adoption rate for the new mobile cashing app, totalling 78,000 fewer trips to a prize claim center. This potentially eliminates around 2.78 million miles travelled by car, saving at least 110,000 gallons of gasoline and reducing greenhouse gas emissions each year by 983.1 metric tons.

Sweeny continued: “The great thing about this is that it’s continuous. That benefit goes on every single year without additional costs. I think our customers share a general concern about the environment too, and… if you are somebody now who is a frequent lottery player who has in the past had to drive to one of our physical locations, this is an opportunity to both make things more convenient for you but also to do a solid for the environment at the same time.”

Since the update to the prize claims process only covers prizes valued greater than $600 and $5,000 or less, winners of $600 or less will still have to travel to an official lottery retailer to claim their prize.

Sweeney credited the Ohio Lottery for assisting in the idea and implementation of the new mobile app cashing option. The Buckeye State Lottery launched mobile cashing through its own app in April, which allows players to cash prizes valued between $50 and $5,000. It processed 7,750 claims worth a cumulative $6.2m within the first three weeks of launching.

Both Sweeney and Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg pushed the legislature to allow the sale of lottery products online and via a mobile app to provide a more convenient and positive experience for players. The lottery also recently replaced older equipment, updated its data operation, and increased its presence on social media.