Saturday May 16,2015 : LAWMAKERS WIN IN MINNESOTA ONLINE LOTTERY STAND-OFF (Update)
Governor Dayton decides against using his veto on measure halting the state lottery's sally into online sales.
Minnesota legislators peeved that they were not consulted when the state lottery started online operations two years ago finally had their way this week when Gov. Mark Dayton decided not to veto a bill calling a halt to the promising online activity.
The measure allows online ticket sales to continue but halts all other online gaming activity; the problem is that the activities are so integrated in vendor contracts that this may prove complicated.
The state Legislature had sent Dayton the bill to stop the virtual games after overwhelming votes in the Senate last week and the House on Thursday, reports the Associated Press news agency.
The governor's spokesman, Matt Swenson, told local media reporters that Dayton has decided to defer to lawmakers' requirements rather than kill the bill, which could have resulted in the Legislature taking action to override the veto.
A similar bill last year was vetoed by the governor, who supported the lottery objective of using the internet to connect with a younger class of players who do much of their business on laptops, tablets and smart-phones.
The veto was exercised at a late stage in the legislative season, compelling lawmakers to wait for the new session to again press for a discontinuance.
The new bill requires the state lottery to halt its online activities within four months, killing off a project that made Minnesota the first state to sell instant-play games on the Internet in addition to a subscription service for draw games like Powerball.
Lottery chief Ed Van Petten may find that four months is not enough time to end the lottery's online commitments and contracts.
“It’s not just turning off a switch,” he told reporters. “We’ll have to work with our vendors on that issue and determine what is and what isn’t possible.”
Van Petten has already warned lawmakers that the state could face early termination litigation and claims from lottery contractors of up to $12 million, wiping out the financial gains achieved by online operations at the lottery.