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Minnesota Lottery tests Internet sales

Minnesota LotteryMinnesota Lottery: Minnesota Lottery tests Internet sales
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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — A quiet revolution in gambling is under way in Minnesota.

Without a single press release or announcement, the Minnesota State Lottery is nearly a year into an experiment to get more Minnesotans to gamble online through a subscription lottery service.

Private online gambling is illegal in Minnesota, and the state's elected leaders have turned back various gambling expansion proposals and online gambling ventures.

But in the waning months of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration, the Minnesota State Lottery took the first steps toward what could become a massive shift to Internet lottery play. They are looking at the Internet to boost sales as more Minnesotans reject traditional lottery tickets and become more comfortable playing games and buying goods online.

Interim Lottery Director Jenny Canfield, at a lottery seminar last year, said that "We are seeing that decline, and it's happening very rapidly. We have to react quickly to grab back our players, to build up our player base again."

The move has taken some gambling critics by surprise. Several, including legislators, said they were deeply troubled by what they see as secrecy, aggressive tactics and a bypassing of legislative approval.

"It's a terrible idea. It's reprehensible," said Assistant Senate Majority Leader David Hann, an Eden Prairie, Minn., Republican who tried to abolish the lottery six years ago. "We are spending a lot of taxpayer money to lure people into throwing money down the toilet so we can spend it on something that we think is more important."

Hann said he wants to explore whether the state lottery has the legal authority to sell tickets online. "To me, it seems like they are exercising some latitude they might not have," he said.

Gov. Mark Dayton's administration learned about the online ticket-buying service only late last week. Dayton spokesman Bob Hume said the practice started before Dayton took office and that they have not looked into it.

State Rep. Ryan Winkler said it should "absolutely" be reviewed by legislators.

"I certainly want to find out if they have the authority to do it," said Winkler, who sits on committees that review gambling issues. "It look like they are trying to avoid public attention."

Lottery officials say they don't need legislative approval. They liken their online subscription service, which allows players to gamble no more than $50 a week, to electronic commerce, not Internet gambling. "It's within our guidelines," Canfield said.

Minnesota is one of only a few states to offer the online lottery ticket sales, but legislators in other states like New Jersey are considering it. North Dakota and New Hampshire offer similar online lottery subscription services, but neither got legislative approval. When North Dakota moved to the online ticket-buying system in 2005, the state's attorney general signed off, said Randy Miller, director of the North Dakota Lottery.

In Minnesota, the attorney general was never asked to review the idea, said Ben Wogsland, a spokesman for the attorney general. "No one has requested it, and no one has given any advice from our office," he said.

Laura Sweeney, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice, declined to comment on the legality of online ticket sales. The department has shut down numerous online gambling operations around the country.

Lottery officials say there was nothing secretive about the subscription service. They intentionally staged a "soft launch" since they anticipated only a tiny fraction of Minnesotans would use the system and they didn't want to spook retailers who make a commission selling lottery tickets.

"We had to be sensitive," Canfield said.

Right now, just 7,599 Minnesotans are signed up for the online service. Subscription sales made up just $607,000 of the $500 million businesses. There is no advertising campaign for the service, which can be found by clicking Buy Online on the lottery's home page.

"Some people just feel more comfortable online," Canfield said. "Some more affluent people prefer it."

The online subscription service allows Minnesotans to buy tickets for most lottery games around the clock.

Players can select a length of subscription from six weeks to a year for a half dozen lottery games, playing $2 to a maximum of $50 per week. Once an online purchase is made, the same numbers must be played for the duration of the subscription. Customers cannot change the numbers or cancel a subscription before the subscription runs out. The lottery can suspend a subscription if the customer's bank account runs out of money, but penalties will be assessed. The lottery does not accept credit cards and requires that subscriptions be paid by direct access to a checking or savings account.

Keene Sentinel

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18 comments. Last comment 5 years ago by myeyes2020.
Page 1 of 2
TnTicketlosers's avatar - Lottery-065.jpg

United States
Member #71120
February 19, 2009
1209 Posts
Offline
Posted: November 28, 2011, 12:36 am - IP Logged

What ever all this means I dont know,BUT someday in the future playing on line in another state will be a dream come true for Tennesseans...I know this Tennessean will be so happy.

    YURAN's avatar - Lottery-011.jpg
    Boryspil/Kyiv
    Ukraine
    Member #88792
    March 23, 2010
    71 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: November 28, 2011, 3:18 am - IP Logged

    Russia, Ukraine and Belarus already have that stuff. They play online for over a year oficially from their lottery sites directly. Without registration required.... Really cool!

      Slick Nick's avatar - Lottery-035.jpg
      Rochester
      United States
      Member #103282
      January 1, 2011
      603 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: November 28, 2011, 3:28 am - IP Logged

      This is a good debate. It doesn't bother me as long as they continue to sell tickets through retail outlets. Also, retail outlets need to stay in place due to the fact that some people just don't do online things or have a computer. And then there are days when home computers or for that matter the state lotteries computer system may crash, so we have to keep the retailer in place. A perfect example of this is The Atlantic Lottery site down for 3 days. (see Lottery Post news article.)

      Money is a terrible master, but a great servant...Smile

        YURAN's avatar - Lottery-011.jpg
        Boryspil/Kyiv
        Ukraine
        Member #88792
        March 23, 2010
        71 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: November 28, 2011, 3:36 am - IP Logged

        This is a good debate. It doesn't bother me as long as they continue to sell tickets through retail outlets. Also, retail outlets need to stay in place due to the fact that some people just don't do online things or have a computer. And then there are days when home computers or for that matter the state lotteries computer system may crash, so we have to keep the retailer in place. A perfect example of this is The Atlantic Lottery site down for 3 days. (see Lottery Post news article.)

        Yeah, retailers is still prefer. Online play accounted for only 5% from total sales... People are accustomed to buying real tickets instead electronic tickets which lottery officials sent them through email.

          TRUEBELIEVER's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
          OXFORD NC
          United States
          Member #105036
          January 24, 2011
          40 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: November 28, 2011, 3:42 am - IP Logged

          I be glad when you can by them online from other states my nuber come out in other states more than mine lol so to be able to but subscriitons in other states would be great.

            Slick Nick's avatar - Lottery-035.jpg
            Rochester
            United States
            Member #103282
            January 1, 2011
            603 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: November 28, 2011, 3:47 am - IP Logged

            Yes. Plus going to the store, meeting people, hearing their lottery and number stories is still the way to go.Big Smile

            Money is a terrible master, but a great servant...Smile

              YURAN's avatar - Lottery-011.jpg
              Boryspil/Kyiv
              Ukraine
              Member #88792
              March 23, 2010
              71 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: November 28, 2011, 3:51 am - IP Logged

              Yes. Plus going to the store, meeting people, hearing their lottery and number stories is still the way to go.Big Smile

              LotteryPost does the same thing Big Smile Thousands of peoples comes to LP Wink

                Slick Nick's avatar - Lottery-035.jpg
                Rochester
                United States
                Member #103282
                January 1, 2011
                603 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: November 28, 2011, 3:57 am - IP Logged

                Lottery Post is a great web site, I have alot of fun here.Sun Smiley Win,win,win.....

                Money is a terrible master, but a great servant...Smile

                  dpoly1's avatar - driver
                  PA
                  United States
                  Member #66141
                  October 16, 2008
                  1672 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: November 28, 2011, 9:08 am - IP Logged

                  REA!

                  Regulated Enough Already!

                  The only thing that we have to fear, is Government Itself!

                  Big Grin

                    Avatar

                    United States
                    Member #111186
                    May 20, 2011
                    344 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: November 28, 2011, 9:18 am - IP Logged

                    Yep, sounds good 2 me ... If you wanna buy online - do it .... OR ... Buy at the retailer if that's what you prefer -

                    $$ Hope everyone has a WinninG day 2day $$

                    Party

                      Avatar
                      Kentucky
                      United States
                      Member #32652
                      February 14, 2006
                      7314 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: November 28, 2011, 10:01 am - IP Logged

                      "It's a terrible idea. It's reprehensible," said Assistant Senate Majority Leader David Hann, an Eden Prairie, Minn., Republican who tried to abolish the lottery six years ago."

                      Every state has one of these legislators that believes they know what's best for all the people even though they only represent a very small percentage. What is so terrible about buying lottery tickets online with the same numbers for the next week, month, six months or year?

                      As hard as I try, I can't find anything wrong with purchasing lottery tickets online every day. The lottery could track my play and notify me when I have a winning ticket just like online horse racing. Set up an account, put in at least $25, make your bets, and the winnings get credited to your account. The service I use puts the winnings into my account about 10 seconds after the race is final. This is the 21st century and today is "Cyber Monday"; billions will be spent making online transactions and apparently Hann believes that is "reprehensible" too.

                      Maybe Hann's best campaign contributors are members of the Patel family who seem to be benefiting the most when players must go to their stores to buy and cash tickets.

                        VAHopeful's avatar - winifrid
                        Virginia
                        United States
                        Member #116536
                        September 13, 2011
                        51 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: November 28, 2011, 10:25 am - IP Logged

                        "It's a terrible idea. It's reprehensible," said Assistant Senate Majority Leader David Hann, an Eden Prairie, Minn., Republican who tried to abolish the lottery six years ago."

                        Every state has one of these legislators that believes they know what's best for all the people even though they only represent a very small percentage. What is so terrible about buying lottery tickets online with the same numbers for the next week, month, six months or year?

                        As hard as I try, I can't find anything wrong with purchasing lottery tickets online every day. The lottery could track my play and notify me when I have a winning ticket just like online horse racing. Set up an account, put in at least $25, make your bets, and the winnings get credited to your account. The service I use puts the winnings into my account about 10 seconds after the race is final. This is the 21st century and today is "Cyber Monday"; billions will be spent making online transactions and apparently Hann believes that is "reprehensible" too.

                        Maybe Hann's best campaign contributors are members of the Patel family who seem to be benefiting the most when players must go to their stores to buy and cash tickets.

                        Well, it says Hann tried to abolish the lottery six years ago... maybe he's afraid the nouveau riche will join his country club? lololol

                          Avatar
                          Keokuk,Iowa
                          United States
                          Member #116504
                          September 12, 2011
                          305 Posts
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                          Posted: November 28, 2011, 11:14 am - IP Logged

                          Personally,I would never buy lottery tickets online.I don't trust computers enough to send my personal information or my money over the internet.But I don't have a problem with letting those that want to gamble online do it.As long as they don't expect taxpayers to reimburse them for their losses if they get scammed out of their money.

                            cbr$'s avatar - maren
                            Cordova,Al.
                            United States
                            Member #104482
                            January 15, 2011
                            4922 Posts
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                            Posted: November 28, 2011, 12:40 pm - IP Logged

                            Bananaon line purchase of lottery tickets with a subscrition seems like a good idea ( the government control facter NO!) I would still want the retailers . whether its buy on line or a retailer the bottom line is still Win & get Paid.