Minnesota Lottery restrictions return to Capitol debate

A Minnesota Senate committee is hearing two bills on Monday that would repeal online lottery ticket sales and also ban pay-at-the-pump ticket sales and ATM-style lottery ticket machines. S.F. 188 and S.F. 229 are being discussed in the State and Local Government Committee.

The Minnesota Lottery began selling e-scratch games in February 2014, but it has long sold electronic versions of other lottery tickets, including Powerball. The lottery said online sales are very low, but critical to marketing and sustaining lottery sales.

Last session, several lawmakers tried to stop online lottery expansion, arguing it makes gambling dangerously easy to do. Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston) called it "online crack." A bill cleared the Legislature, but was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

"The internet is an increasingly common way for the public to access services," Dayton said in a post-veto statement. "By taking steps to modernize its operations and make the same games it sells in paper form available in new ways, the lottery is attempting to respond to changes in technology and public preferences."