Social media reach offers insight into potential online gaming market

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STATE HOUSE — The results of social media and digital advertising campaigns suggest there would be a market for an online Massachusetts Lottery program, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg told lawmakers Tuesday.

Testifying on her office’s budget before the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, Goldberg said Lottery holiday commercials reached 454,156 users on Instagram and more than 1 million users on Facebook.

Ads on Facebook resulted in 16,880 clicks to the Lottery website, she said.

“What this year’s innovative ad campaign proved to me is that there is an available online market,” Goldberg said. “The challenge today is that once they visit our website, we have no correlating products ready to deliver.”

The Lottery’s website can point consumers to their local retailers but does not offer a way to purchase or play online.

“While online gambling may not be a topic for today, that is interesting information that should merit your consideration,” Goldberg told the committee.

In December, the Massachusetts Lottery Commission issued a request for information, inviting organizations to submit proposals for development, implementation, operational support and maintenance of an online lottery system. Goldberg said Tuesday that those responses would be accepted through the end of the month and would help determine whether the state Lottery should develop online offerings.

Lottery officials have said an online fantasy sports game could be a way to attract a younger audience that favors playing on mobile devices, helping the Lottery stay competitive.

“What you saw in the advertising statistics, meaning the impact of Facebook and Instagram and how it drove people to the site, is just a piece of the information,” Goldberg told the News Service. “The RFI is open to the end of February, and then that is when we will all start doing our research and getting our feedback on what is out there, what might be appropriate to the Lottery, and that will be a long process.”

Instant tickets and Keno account for 88 percent of the Lottery’s sales midway through the fiscal year, according to Goldberg, who has cautioned against being overly reliant on those two games for sales.

— Written by Katie Lannan

Copyright State House News Service