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Legislative panel moves to ban online scratch-offs

  • Blog Post by: Abby Simons
  • May 15, 2014 - 6:45 PM

A committee of lawmakers moved Thursday to ban the sale of scratch-off tickets at gas pumps, ATMs and online, a decision the Minnesota State Lottery director found disappointing but unsurprising.

The bipartisan conference committee on lawful gambling voted to outlaw online scratch-off sales effective Oct. 30 of this year, but left intact the online sales of Powerball and similar games. The move could likely cost the state’s lottery between $25-30 million in sales over the next couple years, said Lottery Executive Director Ed Van Petten.

“It’s obvious the movement was based on total misinformation, but it is what it is,” Van Petten said. “The Legislature is telling me they don’t want the additional revenue and that’s their choice.”

The proposed ban now heads to the House and Senate floors. Lawmakers have harshly criticized the lottery’s expansion into online ticket sales because it was done without legislative authorization. Van Petten has maintained the games are the same—only the point of sale has changed—and lsuch permission wasn’t needed. The measure also attracted the attention of charitable gaming advocates and tribal casinos over concern that it would cut into their revenue.

Van Petten stopped short of saying he’d urge Gov. Mary Dayton to veto the measure which he expects to pass, maintaining he’d offer his opinion that it’s a “bad move” only if Dayton asks for it.

“I sat through all these hearings and not one person ever had a fact or evidence that supported their position,” Van Petten said. “It was all emotions and conjecture.”

© 2014 Star Tribune