The Georgia Lottery Corporation Board of Directors voted today to approve online lottery sales. While no launch date was announced, the lottery board will immediately start the process of developing online sales. These sales will start with lotto drawings including Mega Millions, Power Ball, and the daily Fantasy 5 drawings.
Once the lotto style ticket sales are launched, virtual scratch off tickets will be sold. The scratch off tickets will come in a variety of games. Some games will be similar to playing an online slot machine with one spin while others will resemble traditional scratch off tickets. Some online scratch off games will include progressive jackpots.
Online lottery players must be 18 years of age or older. To combat underage gambling, players will be required to buy a special prepaid debit card called iHOPE in person at local lottery retailers. The debit card can be loaded with cash at the store or connected to a bank account. Online lottery players will use the debit card much like a credit card when buying online lottery tickets. The debit card will also operate like a standard prepaid card that can be used at retail stores for lottery tickets or anything else.
Convenience store owners have expressed concerns about online lottery sales. Georgia Lottery retailers receive a 5% commission on all lottery tickets sold. Retailers also earn a 2% commission on all prizes under $600 and receive extra bonuses for selling jackpot tickets. The Georgia Lottery will avoid paying commissions on internet sales, potentially affecting lottery revenue at retail stores.
The Georgia Lottery was approved through a constitutional amendment by voters in 1992 and launched in 1994. The Georgia Lottery profits are used to fund the Hope Scholarship which provides college tuition assistance and Pre-K programs in the state. Since its inception, the Georgia Lottery has generated $15 billion in education funding.