BOSTON €"The Massachusetts State Lottery is considering allowing Internet sales, the Boston Globe reports.
Massachusetts state treasurer Steve Grossman is forming a task force to study the plan, in light of a recent opinion from the Department of Justice that allows states to sell lottery tickets over the Internet.
Grossman said he expects to meet with task force members €" representatives from the state treasurer€™s office, lottery officials, private citizens, and elected officials €" in the "next few weeks," and that he will also work with a consultant to study the issue.
Opponents of expanding gambling outlets in Massachusetts maintain it will have adverse economic and cultural effects on the state.
"More Internet gambling will simply siphon more and more money out of the economy and create more individual debt, suicides, alcoholism, and mental health problems,€™€™ said Tom Larkin, president of the antigambling group United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts.
Grossman said he would appoint gambling opponents to his task force, seeking well-rounded input from all concerned parties.
"The social impact of online gambling will be a major concern of the task force,€™€™ he said.
Grossman said he will also study the potential impact that online gambling poses to the 7,500 retailers who sell lottery products and who earn an average of roughly $37,000 a year on commissions from lottery sales.
Grossman said he has to take "an entrepreneurial and aggressive approach€™€™ to new online opportunities to ensure Massachusetts remains competitive with its neighbors.
"This is a fast-moving, highly competitive market,€™€™ Grossman said, "and this opinion only accelerates this moment of change.€™€™