Retailers who offer so-called pay-at-the-pump state lottery tickets have seen sales increase by 3 percent on average during the couple of years the option has been available, according to a Minnesota Management & Budget analysis.
While bringing more money to state coffers and nonprofit organizations, critics question the social cost of making gambling more accessible. Additionally, some think the Minnesota State Lottery overstepped its powers by enacting pay-at-the-pump without express authority from the Legislature.
“The heart of the issue is who creates the laws of the state — the regulatory industry or the Legislature?” said Rep. Tim Sanders (R-Blaine), who sponsors the bill with Sen. Lyle Koenen (DFL-Clara City).
Sanders said the Legislature has always decided the direction gambling would take in the state, and that lottery officials made the move to offer the electronic options on their own.
Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights), who sponsored a similar bill last year, said the agency was encouraged by the Legislature “to be entrepreneurial, and seek to get into areas where potential revenues could be added. They are only doing what lawmakers asked them to do a number of years ago.”
Another concern was whether the bill would create a cause for action against the state for damages from vendors supplying the services who would see their contracts suspended.
The bill also would: