Sunday March 23,2014 : MINNESOTA LAWMAKERS IN ATTEMPT TO STOP ONLINE LOTTERY SALES
Senate bill progresses to Finance Committee.
The dissatisfaction of some Minnesota lawmakers with moves by the state lottery to take ticket sales and scratchcards online came to a head Friday when a bill to reverse progress on the project was launched in the state Senate.
The bill also seeks to do away with "play at the pump" lottery sales available at some gas stations.
Progress was rapid on the measure, which cleared the State and Local Government Committee and is now headed to the Finance Committee.
Sen. Rod Skoe, the sponsor of the bill, said that the state's lottery director had gone too far with the internet project and it was his intention to reverse the process. Skoe claims that making Minnesota the only state to offer online scratch-off games goes beyond what is appropriate.
Skoe chairs the Senate Taxes Committee, and the bill is co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, and Minority Leader David Hann.
Bakk has said previously that he believes the measure has enough support to pass the Senate.
The lottery has been offering lotto-style gambling games on the Internet for more than three years. In early February, it started offering online scratch-off games, a move that appears to have generated the political backlash in which lawmakers claim they should have been consulted before the project moved ahead.
Minnesota State Lottery executive director Ed Van Petten argues that the 1989 law setting up the lottery authorises his agency to sell lottery tickets and to decide how that's to be done.
Van Petten has briefed lawmakers on the safeguards implemented to guard against underage or problem gambling, and claims that he has kept the state governor apprised of progress throughout the project.
Halting a scratchcard initiative that's been underway only about six weeks "is acting very prematurely," he said.