Minnesota Lottery Sees Backlash Over Online Sales
A few weeks ago the Minnesota Lottery launched its online instant gambling program and already it is seeing daily sales as high as $3,500. The Lottery Director Ed Van Petten said that there has been “no real advertising” for the new games and that their success is spilling over to the land retails that sell lottery tickets.
However, while the lottery has sold tickets on the internet for more than three years, the introduction of online scratch cards has generated a backlash. Already a bill to eliminate sales online has cleared the State and Local Government Committee.
The bill will see an end to sales of online scratch cards and, according to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Rod Skoe, pull back the expansion of lottery offerings from “beyond what was intended”. Critics of the expansion say that allowing players to get instant results and to play from their home computers increases the chances of developing gambling addictions.
However, Petten has argued that the 1989 law which set up the lottery allows his agency to sell lottery tickets and to decide how that is done. He says that the online program comes with spending limits to prevent addictive behavior and that to put an end to it now is to act “very prematurely.”