The Oregon Lottery Commission has been pitched a controversial proposal that would make it easier for players from outside of the United States to purchase as many of its lottery tickets as they want without leaving their home nations.
According to a report from the Willamette Week newspaper, June 27 saw a representative from online lottery retailer TheLotter.com ask the five-person authority to change two rules; one that requires ticket buyers to fill out their numbers by hand and a second that restricts the type of paper on which these selections can be made.
London-based TheLotter.com essentially provides a messenger service and uses agents in the states of New York, New Jersey, Florida and Oregon to purchase lottery tickets for players as far afield as Italy, Canada and South Africa before selling these on via its website at a markup. It made headlines in December when an Iraqi man using its services pocketed a $6.4 million Megabucks jackpot from the Oregon Lottery and it now wants the rule changes so that it can increase sales volumes and offer hundreds and thousands of tickets at a time.
“The opportunity for Oregon is tremendous but if Oregon doesn’t get its act together this revenue will go to some other state,” Darian Stanford, a Portland-based lawyer representing TheLotter.com, told the newspaper.
Launched in 1985, the Oregon Lottery has since grown to become the western state’s second-biggest source of revenues after income taxes. It brings in about $1.1 billion a year that is used to fund a wide variety of programs while additionally operating a video poker machine estate that recorded record sales of $20 million in March.
However, state economists have warned that these revenues could be seriously affected by the imminent debut of the new $510 million Ilani Casino in neighboring Washington. The venue from the Cowlitz Tribe will be located only about 16 miles north of Portland and could cost the Oregon Lottery up to $65 million a year after it starts operations in the spring.
Stanford explained that international lottery sales could provide an inoculation against revenue losses from the new casino by bringing in annual revenues of around $50 million by 2018. He declared that the eventual figure may rise to twice that while the Oregon Lottery Commission is expected to vote on the proposed rule changes next month.
“There’s no logical reason to oppose changing the rules but if Oregon doesn’t want this business, my instructions are to start looking to take it elsewhere,” Stanford told the newspaper.