Jones bill would prohibit online lottery sales

Jones bill would prohibit online lottery sales

LANSING — State Sen. Rick Jones introduced legislation on Tuesday  that would prohibit the Michigan Lottery from allowing the purchase and play of lottery games over the Internet.

“When Michigan Lottery officials made me aware that they plan to allow people to play lottery games online, I was immediately concerned,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I was even more concerned when I was told that young people will play, because they like playing games on their phones.”

Finland and England and the state of Illinois already have systems in place to allow those who wish to gamble online.

Jones said he opposes the expansion to online gambling for the following reasons: 

• It will be easier to become addicted from home;

• Personal debt will skyrocket through increased credit card sales;

• The state should be encouraging young people to invest in their education or save for a home ¬– not to gamble on their phone; and

• By putting this online, it will further deprive Michigan small businesses of sales and store traffic.  Currently, if adults want to play Keno or the lottery they go to a convenience store, gas station or restaurant that sells tickets. Typically when someone goes to a store they also buy other products.

“Gambling addiction is a serious problem, and allowing people to gamble online or from their cell phone can potentially ruin lives,” Jones said. “We could have cases where people gamble away their home without ever leaving it.”

Senate Bill 294 will be referred to committee later this week.