A measure to ban the Minnesota State Lottery from offering games online and selling instant-play tickets at gas station pumps and ATMs has become law, but the games will likely continue for several months.
The Legislature passed the measure scaling back the lottery’s authority to sell such games, saying the State Lottery overstepped its authority by expanding gambling without specific signoff from lawmakers.
Gov. Mark Dayton, a supporter of lottery expansion because of its contributions to the state general fund--$139 million last year—vetoed a similar measure passed during the 2014 legislative session. This year, citing overwhelming legislative support, he decided to let it become law without his signature.
"I continue to believe limiting the Lottery's ability to continue these initiatives will result in less funding for education, transportation, parks, hunting and fishing programs, and programs to protect and preserve our environment," Dayton said in a letter to Senate President Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul. "However, I note that the bill again passed both bodies of the legislature by overwhelming majorities."
But don’t expect the games to go dark just yet. The provision passed is effective 130 days after final enactment, meaning the State Lottery has a little over six months to provide notice to vendors.
“During that time we can technically still continue,” said Chris Kwapick, Legislative Liaison for the State Lottery. In the meantime, the State Lottery will have to prematurely end contracts with vendors, who say that may seek millions in compensatory claims, according to a cost analysis by Minnesota Management and Budget. Kwapick said the State Lottery is looking into the logistics of taking down the online sales website and notifying retailers, but also determining how to proceed with vendors and contracts that were previously signed.
Kwapick said that if the games are shut down before the six-month deadline, players will be kept up to speed.
“We don’t have a firm end date, but we’re going to try and keep our players and the public aware of whatever decisions are made and what has to be done,” Kwapick said.