Tuesday May 13,2014 : MINNESOTA ONLINE LOTTERY ISSUES TO BE DEBATED
House-Senate conference committee meets today.
Although the Minnesota House has decided not to ban the state lottery's online games initiative , it appears that the issue is not yet settled.
A combined House-Senate conference committee is scheduled to meet today (Tuesday) to try and reconcile differences on a gambling bill in which the Senate continues to insist on language that would ban online ticket and gas pump sales.
InfoPowa readers will recall that the furore started when some state lawmakers took umbrage at not being consulted before the lottery took ticket sales and some games online three years ago, and offered ticket sales at self-service gas pumps.
The online initiative has been a success, and the lottery management claims it has continuously briefed the governor on developments.
A proposed ban on these initiatives failed in the House, but remains on the Senate agenda.
Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday that he still is trying to determine whether the bill was more about protecting Minnesota citizens from the dangers of online gaming or more about protecting the market share of groups who fear competition from the lottery.
That's a reference to convenience store owners who fear that online sales will reduce the number of people entering their stores, where statistics have shown they make other purchases in 95 percent of cases.
"To say you can do it one way but you can't do it another way to me is a little disingenuous," the governor said. "That's simply protecting somebody's financial interest, and I think that's the wrong way to approach it."
Dayton said the lottery's mission is to generate as much revenue "as legally and ethically as possible" for the benefit of the state. The lottery provided $135 million to state environmental and other programs last year, officials said.