|For Immediate Release||Contact: Liz Leonard (312) 368-5823|
CHICAGO, IL—March 26, 2012—The Illinois Lottery launched its Internet Pilot Program at 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning, becoming the first state in the country to sell lottery tickets over the Internet – two existing games, Mega Millions and Lotto.
Rick Melfi of Joliet has the distinct honor of being the first person in Illinois and the United States to legally purchase a lottery ticket via the Internet. He bought his Mega Millions tickets at 7:03 am. “I was watching the morning news and saw the ticker come across the bottom on the screen saying that lottery tickets are now available online. I jumped on my computer and within minutes purchased my Mega Millions tickets for the $356 million jackpot for Tuesday night,” Melfi said.
“Yesterday the lottery began a new era, one in which we mirror how many people buy a wide range of products in 2012,” said Michael Jones, Superintendent of the Illinois Lottery. “Hopefully people will find our interface to be intuitive, easy to use and that it will allow them to participate in Mega Millions and Lotto drawings within minutes. I’ve already been getting feedback from my friends. One said that buying lottery tickets online was easier and more convenient than buying concert tickets to jam band concerts.”
Social media was also buzzing Sunday morning with hundreds of posts on Facebook and the Lottery’s Twitter pages displaying messages like, “8:26 am - @pmcdee1 @IllinoisLottery Just signed up to play online!; I'm ready to win and so happy to be able to get tickets from the comfort of my living room! 9:15 am - @chocolatenakia @IllinoisLottery Wow that is awesome... Buying tickets now.
Research conducted for the Illinois Lottery in February indicated that selling Mega Millions tickets on the Internet will attract 600,000 to 1,000,000 new lottery players when jackpots are $100 million+. With the current Mega Millions jackpot at $356 million, the Lottery is hoping to reach consumers who have grown up on the Internet but don’t think to buy lottery tickets
The lottery’s Private Manager Northstar has developed technologies that will inhibit underage and out of state play. The registration process will require identity and age verification before purchasing a ticket.
“A team of more than 250 professionals located on three continents, in six locations came together to make this historic achievement possible in four months,” said Connie Laverty O’Connor, CEO of Northstar Lottery Group. “I congratulate each and every member of this team.”
The road to the launch the Internet pilot program began more than three years ago when the Illinois legislature passed amendments to the Lottery Law that approved the Internet Pilot. All profits generated through lottery sales over the Internet will go toward building roads and bridges throughout Illinois.
The Illinois Lottery will be able to monitor actual play during the test and will develop standards for participation as part of its commitment to responsible gaming. It will allow anyone to voluntarily exclude themselves from purchasing Lottery tickets on the website.
About Illinois Lottery
Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed more than $17 billion to the state Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as the Capital Projects Fund. Play responsibly. Players must be at least 18 years old.