Friday May 16,2014 : LAWMAKERS COMPROMISE ON MINNESOTA ONLINE LOTTERY OPERATIONS (Update)
Joint House and Senate conference committee hammers out a milder approach.
Calls for legalization halting the expansion of Minnesota lottery games via the internet and mobile channels resulted last week in the House voting against such a ban, whilst the Senate wished to impose one.
To find some common ground, three members each from the Senate and the House met Thursday as a conference committee, coming up with a compromise proposal for the Legislature to debate and consider.
The proposal is that the state lottery be allowed to sell tickets online, but that it is specifically forbidden from offering online “casino-style games,” including blackjack, craps, keno, roulette, poker or dice games.
The sale of draw tickets at gas station pumps will also be stopped following protests from state convenience shop owners.
The Minnesota lottery launched its Spicy 7’s online scratcher card game in February, becoming the first state lottery in the US to offer instant win tickets online.
Lottery director Ed Van Petten justified the move online as both a way to attract a younger demographic to the lottery and as a promotional tool to boost ticket sales at traditional retail outlets. And he protested that at every stage he had kept Gov. Mark Dayton in the loop.
However, some state lawmakers took umbrage at what they saw as Van Petten taking decisions without their prior approval, resulting in the current legislative row.
Fall-out from the furore could impact the lottery's technology partner Scientific Games, which has warned that it may resort to litigation if the online project is canned, causing losses for it of around $4 million.