TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Legislation that would allow people to buy New Jersey lottery tickets on the Internet and by other electronic means continues to advance in the Assembly.

The Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee approved the measure this month and referred it to the chamber’s Appropriations Committee, which hasn’t yet scheduled a hearing on it. The legislation would require state lottery officials to implement a system that would allow people to buy tickets via the Internet, e-mail, text messaging or other electronic methods.

“Most consumer-oriented businesses started taking advantage of modern technology a long time ago, but our lottery rules remain stuck in the stone age,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, D-Union, who is one of the bill’s primary sponsors. She said offering electronic sales would boost lottery ticket sales, providing more money to help senior citizens, veterans and education programs that benefit from the lottery’s proceeds.

Proponents say it’s not yet clear how long it would take to establish an electronic ticket buying system, noting that many issues would have to be addressed.

Lottery officials would need to determine whether its staffers should operate the system or if the state should seek a private vendor to handle the operations. There also are questions about what security measures would have to be in place to prevent fraud and underage gambling and to protect ticket buyers’ personal and financial information.

Lottery officials also would have to establish procedures for paying off winning tickets. Possibilities under consideration include automatically crediting the amounts directly to a player’s electronic account, or using a direct deposit system to put the money into their bank account.

Besides Quijano, other primary sponsors of the legislation include Assembly Democrats John Burzichelli of Paulsboro, Reed Gusciora of Princeton and Celeste Riley of Bridgeton.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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