Lottery director Ed Van Petten has stood behind the online games in testimony before lawmakers, saying they are helping the lottery adapt to the times. He said the electronic tickets make up a tiny part of the agency's profits, which are split between environmental accounts and the state's general treasury. He insists there are safeguards in place to prevent underage purchases and limit weekly spending.
The bill also halts the lottery's move to allow ticket purchases directly from gas pumps, which it has done on a pilot-project basis. Some convenience store owners have balked at the offering because it gives customers one fewer reason to come into their stores to buy other goods. Dayton said that signals to him that it "is just further evidence that this is about protecting turf and profits."
Still, Dayton said he is being realistic that lawmakers opposed to the online and gas-pump games are likely to prevail.
In his three-plus years as governor, Dayton has never had a veto trumped by a two-thirds vote or an override even attempted. He said in the telephone interview that he won't put lawmakers in that position on this bill.
"Exercises in complete futility have never appealed to me. If the margin in the House is similar to the margin in the Senate, there's nothing more to debate," Dayton said.