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MINNESOTA LOTTERY TRIES TO GET PLAYERS ONLINE

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 : Growing row over the lack of publicity on year-long initiative
 
Management at the Minnesota State Lottery is taking flak over a year-long initiative to get more Minnesotans to play online which was launched without publicity or an official announcement, reports the StarTribune newspaper.
 
The lottery is apparently trying to get more state residents to gamble online through a lottery subscription service, despite the state's record of turning away gambling expansion proposals and online gambling ventures in the past.
 
The newspaper describes the efforts to increase online penetration as a potentially "massive shift to Internet lottery action" as state lottery management seeks to use the Internet to boost sales, which have declined in the face of the convenience of online activity.
 
Last year a lottery official told a seminar that the decline in traditional lottery sales channels had been rapid and was continuing, necessitating a strategy to win back players lured away by Internet competition.
 
Many lawmakers are reportedly less than pleased with the revelation that internet expansion had been initiated by what they see as "secret, aggressive tactics" that had circumvented legislative approval.
 
"It's reprehensible," said Assistant Senate Majority Leader David Hann, a Republican who tried to abolish the lottery six years ago. "We are spending a lot of taxpayer money to lure people into throwing money down the toilet so we can spend it on something that we think is more important."
 
Hann called for advice on whether the state lottery has the legal authority to sell tickets online. "To me it seems like they are exercising some latitude they might not have," he said.
 
The newspaper reports that state Gov. Mark Dayton's administration learned about the online ticket-buying service only late last week. A spokesman for the governor told the newspaper that the practice started before Dayton took office and that they have not yet looked into it.
 
State Rep. Ryan Winkler, agreed with Rep. Hann, saying that the lottery's decision should "absolutely" be reviewed by legislators.
 
"I certainly want to find out if they have the authority to do it," said Winkler, who sits on committees that review gambling issues. "It looks like they are trying to avoid public attention."
 
On the other side of the argument, lottery management claims that it does not need legislative approval, saying that the online subscription service, which allows players to gamble no more than $50 a week, is akin to electronic commerce, not Internet gambling.
 
Management also claims that there was nothing secretive about the initiative, which had been pursued cautiously as a "soft launch" to avoid "spooking" traditional retailers.
 
Almost 7,600 residents had so far signed up for the service despite the lack of serious marketing, with subscription sales making up $607,000 of the lottery's $500 million business, lottery officials revealed.
 
The online subscription service allows Minnesotans to buy tickets for most lottery games around the clock.
 
Minnesota is one of only a few states to offer online lottery ticket sales, but legislators in other states such as New Jersey are considering it. North Dakota and New Hampshire offer similar online lottery subscription services, and neither lottery obtained legislative approval first.
 
When North Dakota moved to its online ticket-buying system in 2005, the state's attorney general signed off on the plan, Randy Miller, director of the North Dakota Lottery, told the StarTribune.
The Minnesota attorney general was never asked to review the online subscription idea, said a spokesman for the AG’s office. "No one has requested it and no one has given any advice from our office," he said.
 
Approached for a statement by the StarTribune, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on the legality of online ticket sales.
 
Lottery management said that the Internet ticket subscription tactics are part of a bolder long-term online strategy to "slowly introduce interactive Internet games" in order to revitalise flagging sales in a changing market.
 
Political tides surrounding gambling are shifting rapidly and things that are forbidden now could soon be legal, management noted.

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Gambling News :

Tain Fast Bet - Our readers will recall Tain recently increased the number of live events it covers each month to 23,000, covering both traditional markets such as football, tennis and US sports and the more obscure curling, biathlon and Water Polo.

Olympic Entertainment Group Mobile Gaming - In its full-year 2016 report, Olympic Entertainment Group (OEG) has informed the establishment of a Malta-based company registered to facilitate its intended expansion into remote gambling.

Circus Evolution HD Slot - Malta-based content provider World Match has released its first title of 2017, “Circus Evolution HD”, a 5-reel, 3-row, circus-themed adventure offering Free Spins, Wilds and a Bonus Game.

Kindred Group Gets EU Recommendation on Consumer Protection - Kindred Group (formerly Unibet) has become the first operator to successfully meet the requirements of the EU Recommendation on Consumer Protection and Responsible Gambling following an external audit.

17 Crown people still detained - Reports from China over the weekend suggest that the 17 Crown people still detained could be looking at another twelve months of imprisonment as investigations into their alleged and still unspecified crimes drag on

SB1400 Virginia Poker Skill Game Bill - Her bill SB1400 is currently with the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee, whose 15 members will decide whether to progress it or condemn the Senator to another year of failure.

Pennsylvania Video Gaming Association - With the focus on Pennsylvania as the most likely next US state to legalize online gambling as part of a general gambling expansion measure, reporters noted this week the emergence of a new lobbying group in the state - the Pennsylvania Video Gaming Association.

Stiffer Problem Gambling Penalties in UK - The Guardian newspaper reports that the UK Gambling Commission plans to unveil new enforcement strategies on problem gambling and money laundering prevention this month, laying down tougher penalties for operators who fail to tackle these issues.

Malaysian police Destroy over 5000 Gambling Computers - Malaysian police in Kajang have destroyed 5,042 computer sets seized in online gambling raids over the past two years, explaining that the action is designed to take the machines out of circulation.

Spartan Poker vs SpartanPoker name War - Pokerguru, which owns the brand SpartanPoker.com, has threatened to sue the Indian Poker Championship over its use of the title Spartan Poker, and recently published a notification that it is not associated with the IPC version of the brand.

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