Iowa Lottery games could be delivered to Smartphones

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CEDAR RAPIDS – The 25-year-old Iowa Lottery is an “offline business in an online world,” but Director Terry Rich is out to change that.

Later this month, the Lottery will take bids on a new computer system that will allow players to check their tickets at automated kiosks in retail stores as July 1, 2011, Rich said Tuesday (Aug. 3).

He also expects the Lottery to attract younger, tech-savvy players by delivering games electronically, including games played on Smartphones.

There are security issues preventing that now, but Rich expects technology soon will be available to allay those concerns. The games would require technology to verify players verify they are at least 21 and a GPS feature to verify they are in Iowa.

“Millennials need more interactive games, games with more play action,” Rich said, referring to the so-called Millennial Generation of people born in the 1980s to the 1990s.

Iowa law precludes using credit cards to play Lottery games, but it’s possible players could set up debit card accounts with retailers to enable them to play. PayPal accounts would be another option.

Games delivered electronically also would be greener, Rich said. because they wouldn’t involve paper tickets. The Lottery sold $256 million tickets last year. Not all were $1 plays, so the Lottery estimates it used as much as 150 million pieces of paper.

“That’s a huge amount of paper,” Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said.

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