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Lawyer thinks Calif. participation in Mega Millions is illegal

Mega MillionsMega Millions: Lawyer thinks Calif. participation in Mega Millions is illegal

According to one legislative lawyer, California's much-heralded entrance into the 11-state Mega Millions lottery may be illegal, even as outlets around the state prepare for the debut of the popular game.

Lottery Director Chon Gutierrez was told by legal advisers when California joined Mega Millions that the move to revitalize the state's languishing lottery was legal because it advanced the education-benefiting cause of the voter-approved Lottery Act of 1984.

Around the state, locations for buying future tickets have already begun to post signs advertising the upcoming start of the game.

Legislative Counsel Diane Boyer-Vine issued a 12-page opinion on Tuesday which concludes "the Lottery Act contains no express provisions authorizing participation of the California State Lottery in a multi-state lottery."

State Sen. Dean Florez, D-Bakersfield, has scheduled a news conference for today to formally release the opinion, which he requested from the Counsel's Office. He also plans to challenge Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Lottery Commission to deal with what he said looms as a political and legal landmine.

"We ought to make sure we don't end up in protracted litigation," said Florez, who is chairman of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee. "I think the integrity of the game is in balance."

Schwarzenegger representatives declined to comment and lottery officials said they wanted to first study the document and confer with the administration before issuing a statement.

In the new Mega Millions game matrix that will debut on June 24, players pay $1 to pick five numbers from 1 to 56 plus one number from 1 to 46, to match those drawn twice weekly.

With bets pooled from New York, Texas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington, jackpots have surged as high as $363 million.

The legislative counsel's opinion noted that the intent of voters who approved the Lottery Act was that the games be run solely by California, according to the document, co-authored by Deputy Legislative Counsel Lisa Plummer.

Furthermore, there is no provision in the Lottery Act that authorizes the sharing of prize money from tickets purchased from out of state from a non-California authorized dealer, they said.

"Therefore, we are of the opinion that the California State Lottery does not possess the authority under existing statutes to enter into an agreement with Mega Millions for participation in a multi-state lottery," concluded the opinion.

Although the opinion from lawmakers' attorneys is not binding, some people feel that flouting its conclusion may invite lawsuits from competing gambling interests such as Indian casinos and card rooms, as well as anti-gambling forces.

If necessary, the law could be changed with another vote of the people or if a bill was approved by two-thirds of the Legislature and signed by the governor.

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and Lottery Post Staff

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10 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by Deadsantaclaus.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #379
June 5, 2002
11296 Posts
Offline
Posted: June 15, 2005, 11:44 am - IP Logged

Other such lawsuits have gone nowhere.

    LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
    Tennessee
    United States
    Member #7853
    October 15, 2004
    11338 Posts
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    Posted: June 15, 2005, 3:55 pm - IP Logged

    i agree,these lawyers and politicians need to stay out of lottery.

      dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

      United States
      Member #2338
      September 17, 2003
      2063 Posts
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      Posted: June 16, 2005, 1:54 am - IP Logged

      Sounds like more idiot lawyers searching for a buck. Hardly a surprise coming from CA.


        United States
        Member #379
        June 5, 2002
        11296 Posts
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        Posted: June 16, 2005, 10:27 am - IP Logged

        Mega Millions needs CA.

          Avatar
          Pa
          United States
          Member #2485
          October 9, 2003
          319 Posts
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          Posted: June 16, 2005, 10:46 am - IP Logged

          Mega does not need Ca. Mega does not have to be another Powerball. To many state in Powerball and the pot should double with that many states.

            Avatar
            New Mexico
            United States
            Member #12305
            March 10, 2005
            2984 Posts
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            Posted: June 16, 2005, 8:43 pm - IP Logged

            Although the opinion from lawmakers' attorneys is not binding, some people feel that flouting its conclusion may invite lawsuits from competing gambling interests such as Indian casinos and card rooms, as well as anti-gambling forces.

            You have to admit this part's a hoot, though.  In NM, and probably a lot of other places, Indian Casinos weren't allowed until the tribes built them, opened them, and thumbed their noses at the State laws and governments.  Seems there might be a sudden, surprising new respect for what the law says.

            Take a ride on the great mandala.

            Jack

              Avatar
              Morrison, IL
              United States
              Member #4657
              May 13, 2004
              1884 Posts
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              Posted: June 18, 2005, 12:36 am - IP Logged

                You've still got to question how CA can legally make all prize payouts pari-mutuel for their state while in the other MM states, all prizes below the jackpot are fixed.

                Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                Chief Bottle Washer
                New Jersey
                United States
                Member #1
                May 31, 2000
                23274 Posts
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                Posted: June 18, 2005, 12:38 am - IP Logged

                The Mega Millions group bent their rules in order to get CA.

                 

                Check the State Lottery Report Card
                What grade did your lottery earn?

                 

                Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                Help eliminate computerized drawings!


                  United States
                  Member #16612
                  June 2, 2005
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                  Posted: June 29, 2005, 4:27 pm - IP Logged

                  The California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion will file a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court within two weeks seeking an injunction to shut down the state's Mega Millions multistate lotto as unconstitutional, it said Thursday.

                  If successful in the lawsuit, it could cost the California Lottery plenty. Possible lawsuits by the other 11 states in the game, lost startup costs, a dent in the lottery's sales-fostering integrity and other fallout could total tens of millions of dollars.

                  I wished that both CA and FL start their own multi-state game inviting some states. Mega Millions does need CA, but I wished that sales stopped in California on winning the lawsuit.

                    Avatar
                    FLORIDA
                    United States
                    Member #5364
                    July 1, 2004
                    88 Posts
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                    Posted: June 29, 2005, 5:32 pm - IP Logged

                    The California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion will file a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court within two weeks seeking an injunction to shut down the state's Mega Millions multistate lotto as unconstitutional, it said Thursday.

                    If successful in the lawsuit, it could cost the California Lottery plenty. Possible lawsuits by the other 11 states in the game, lost startup costs, a dent in the lottery's sales-fostering integrity and other fallout could total tens of millions of dollars.

                    I wished that both CA and FL start their own multi-state game inviting some states. Mega Millions does need CA, but I wished that sales stopped in California on winning the lawsuit.

                    When J.E.Bush exits the governor's mansion it would be in Florida's best interest to join powerball. Georgia (mega) is up the road for half the state when the jackpot gets up there to attract cross state line attention. In turn when Powerball climbs into the stratosphere Georgia and Alabama with the occasional Mississippian will cross the border to play our game. This strategy has basically been used since Florida and Georgia both got lotteries.  We borrow their players on occasion and they borrow ours.