This week, Michigan officials announced that the state intends to launch an online lottery system called iLottery where bettors can purchase lotto tickets on the Internet.  On Wednesday, Governor Rick Snyder sought more than $3 million from the Michigan State Legislature to fund the gaming initiative.

However, Gov. Snyder and his staff are facing significant opposition in both the state House and Senate.  Many members view Internet-based lottery as a precursor to more widespread licenses for online gambling and casinos.

Additionally, retailers in Michigan are lobbying against any bill that would legalize Internet-based lotteries due to fears that it will drive many stores out of business.  Players who purchase lottery tickets at convenience stores often buy multiple items such as groceries and snacks.

In 2012, about 11,000 stores in Michigan were selling lottery tickets which generated $172 million from gambling-related revenue.  That amount is derived from 6 percent commissions on total lotto sales in the state of $2.4 billion.   In Michigan, Gov. Snyder wants to launch iLottery in early 2014.  Michigan lottery officials estimate the iLottery could increase lottery profits by as much as $471 million in its first seven years.

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California, Delaware, and Mississippi are considering similar proposals to make gambling available online to its residents.  On the west coast, Engage:BDR recently launched an online lotto portal in California.  Ted Dhanik, CEO of the marketing firm, said in an interview earlier this week that LottoGopher lets consumers “buy lotto tickets legally in California”.

This week, Delaware officials began negotiations with the winners of the bid to introduce online casino systems in the state by September 2013.  A partnership between Scientific Games and 888 Holdings is expected to manage and operate Delaware’s new “iGaming” system.

Online gaming is expected to face tougher hurdles in Mississippi where river- and land-based casinos are opposing efforts by some politicians to legalize online gambling.  Rep. Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto has introduced online gaming legislation in each of the last two sessions in the state legislature.

“The current leadership – the governor, lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House — are not for expanding gaming,” said state Rep. Richard Bennett, chairman of the House gaming committee. “It would be a hard sell, regardless of what my committee wants to do. I think you’d have to see a change in leadership before it will pass.”