Small business owners: Online lottery ticket sales will hurt our businesses
Some small business owners say that new rules allowing New Jersey Lottery tickets to be sold online will cut into their bottom line.
The New Jersey Lottery Commission says that tickets can be sold online starting next fall. But some business owners and lawmakers alike say that the decision will hurt New Jersey’s small businesses and only favor the large corporations that will process the sales.
"We know that the average lottery player, scratch-off player, buys a number of other things, and we know these are mom and pops, these are convenience store owners, these are gas station owners, these are liquor stores,” says state Sen. Vin Gopal.
Danny Jallo owns the Jallo's Exxon in Sayreville. He says that for more than 30 years, customers have been coming to his shop to buy lottery tickets, while also filling up their gas tanks and buying cups of coffee. He says that he fears casual customers will disappear if they can buy the tickets from the comfort of their own homes.
"It will definitely hurt us…Because lottery is very important to us to bring us customers for the extra sales hopefully,” he says.
The new rules are expected to go into effect in the fall of 2024. The Lottery Commission says that online sales will open up their market to people under the age of 40 who are not regular lottery players. They claim that in other states, online lottery sales meant sales at brick-and-mortar stores increased.
Gopal says he is putting together legislation that would ban the Lottery Commission from online lottery sales.
The lottery is a big moneymaker for the state. It just had a record-breaking year. Between June 2022 and June 2023, sales were at $3.7 billion. More than $1 billion of that money went to pensions for public workers.