Sunday December 28,2014 : MINNESOTA GOVERNOR SAVES LOTTERY ONLINE SCRATCH CARDS
But state lawmakers plan another attack next year.
By exercising his veto after the state legislature shut down for the year, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has saved the state lottery's online scratch card initiative from the lawmakers' axe, but legislators say they will renew their attack in the new session.
It does give lottery director Ed Van Petten, a passionate supporter of online ticket sales and scratch cards as a way to boost sales and access new demographics, breathing space to persuade lawmakers that the expansion is worthy of support.
Van Petten has been in a running fight with a strong political faction in the legislature over his decision a year ago to introduce online scratch cards, which have proved to be popular. Van Petten has been at pains to educate lawmakers on the issue and reassure them that going online will not have a cataclysmic impact on problem gambling, but some of the diehards remain implacably opposed.
Towards the end of the legislative season these elements managed to push legalization halting the scratch card project and online ticket sales through, which Gov. Markell subsequently vetoed, prompting frustrated politicians to start preparing another attack on the lottery for launch when the 2015 legislature convenes.
The Associated Press news agency reports that Van Petten is redoubling his efforts to garner political support and has engaged lobbyists to assist him in presenting his arguments.
The lottery director has revealed that more than 31,000 additional players have bought in to the lottery's online products since introduction a year ago, with over a quarter of these in the important below age 35 years demographic critical to the future development of the lottery.
And, he points out; none of the negative predictions made by politicians who are against online operations have come about.
Nevertheless, Van Petten appears to have a mountain to climb in coaxing some political leaders around to his point of view; Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, a strong opponent of online gambling, remains opposed to the idea and is on record as opining that no amount of persuasion will change his position.
Legislators across the nation hold widely differing views on taking lottery ticket sales online; Kentucky, Massachusetts, West Virginia and Florida appear to be actively considering the introduction of online sales, whilst Illinois, Michigan and Georgia have joined Minnesota in moving into the online environment.
At the negative end of the scale, Maryland has imposed a twelve month hold on any online initiative whilst the issue is examined more closely, and Colorado has implemented a bill expressly forbidding the state lottery from involvement in online activity.