Throughout the Christmas season, Lottery Daily will be revisiting some of the biggest stories of the lottery business world from the past year. This edition will be looking at stories in North America.
As ever, lotteries in Canada and the US were faced with a number of regulatory hurdles to overcome in 2022. Some were successful in their attempts to jump over them, while others fell at the first attempt. Meanwhile, history was created in California as the Powerball jackpot reached record-breaking levels.
Old habits die hard in Alabama & Indiana
Residents in Alabama might have looked on events in California with a degree of envy as the formation of a lottery continues to evade the Yellowhammer state.
Alabama is one of five US states without a lottery, but it’s not for the lack of trying. In the early months of the year, Alabama Senator Greg Albritton unveiled proposals for a comprehensive gaming package of laws designed to implement a lottery in the state for the first time. He contended that “more than 99% of lottery revenues deposited to the Alabama Education Lottery Trust Fund would be used for creation and issuance of scholarships.”
A new lottery bill proposal, separate from that of Albritton’s, was even passed in a House committee vote in March, but both proposals ended up fizzling out due to the deadlines and regulations laid out in front of them.
Meanwhile, Indiana does have a state lottery, but the Hoosier Lottery received pushback from lawmakers after proposing to sell tickets and offer other games online. The Indiana Senate’s tax committee added provisions to a bill requiring the Legislature’s approval before online games or ticket sales could be commenced.
As such, the Hoosier Lottery is still unable to offer online scratch-off games, anything via a video terminal, or any online casino-style games. But William Zielke, Commission Chair of the lottery, has confirmed the organisation’s intention to persist with plans for an ilottery, reiterating that they do not want to maintain the “status quo”.
Canadian companies hit back against illegal online gambling
Strength in numbers seemed to be the way in Canada as five lottery corporations joined forces in the fight against illegal online gambling operators.
British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), Alberta Alcohol and Cannabis Commission, the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation, Loto-Quebec and Atlantic Lottery all came together to force the government to take action on those operating in their respective jurisdictions illegally.
The five lotteries initiated a campaign warning Canadian gamblers of the risks of using black market incumbents, with the campaign also reinforcing regulations on platforms and media companies that give illegal operators the platform to advertise on.
Reaching a breaking point with the disruption, the Canadian lotteries asserted that they will continue to collaborate with each other and federal government agencies whilst also monitoring black market activities.
IGT triumphs in Wire Act lawsuit
US lottery operators can now trade without fear of falling foul of the Wire Act after IGT won its case against the US Department of Justice (DOJ). The global lottery and gaming firm filed a suit against the DOJ in November 2021 but the ruling on the case came in September of this year, with IGT arguing that it had left any non-sports betting online companies in a state of legal limbo.
Powerball creates history in California
Anticipation grew through summer into autumn as the US Powerball jackpot reached a whopping $2.04bn in November, smashing the previous record of $1.58bn in 2016.
The record-breaking run saw ticket sales go through the roof as the pot became bigger and bigger, and the demand eventually proved too much for the Minnesota Lottery, whose sales verification system caused a processing delay in the 41st and final draw after attracting “unprecedented lottery interest”.The jackpot was finally won by a lucky player in California who, in doing so, became the state’s first-ever lottery-winning billionaire.