The Interesting Issue of Minnesota’s Expansion of Online Lottery Sales

The State of Minnesota has offered online sales of the Daily 3 & 4, MegaMillions, PowerBall, and other lottery tickets since the fall of 2010. Now, Minnesota is poised to offer online sales of scratch-off instant games in the new year (Click here). Minnesota Public Radio this morning reported that these new online scratch-off games will, soon after introduction, contain bonus games that utilize “reels” (Click here). Minnesota Governor Dayton is also renewing his calls for a state-run casino, this time at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (Click here). The Minnesota State Lottery has also created an online portal for its players club, Lucky MN, that looks a lot like ones seen on casino websites (Click here).

Minnesota is becoming an interesting case study of how expanded forms of state-run gambling, especially online-based gambling, is impacting tribal brick-and-mortar casinos. The tribes in Minnesota have perpetual compacts with essentially no percentage of revenue remitted to the state. In the three years that I’ve lived in Minnesota, I’ve gotten the impression that folks within state government feel they “missed the boat” on getting a compact fee out of the tribes nd perhaps this expansion of gambling is a way to redeem that perceived missed opportunity.