Playing with Fire in Minnesota

Back in February we reported on the First U.S state to offer online scratch cards, Minnesota made history with this groundbreaking move. However it seems that this bold move may well be reversed as a state House committee voted to ban the product. Minnesota came under fire for offering an online version of their Spicy 7’s scratch off tickets which critics claimed it was too similar to slot machine gambling. Politicians accused the lottery of overstepping its mandate while lottery officials said it was a promotional tool used to boost lottery sales at the over 3,100 lottery retailers which were in fact up.

This logic did not sit well from politicians on all sides of the House and Senate as they announced legislation that would remove Spicy 7’s from being online. A dramatic moment was recorded during the hearing when a religious representative whipped out his smartphone and convinced asked legislators if they wanted smartphones to become lottery terminals. To add to the controversy Rep. Greg Davids even went on to dub the online Spicy 7’s as online crack and not the online lottery.

Thursday saw legislators vote on a ban for online scratchies which also seek to ban online sales of lottery tickets. The next step in order to gain approval is a vote on the house floor. In the meantime lottery officials are insisting they acted within the parameters of their mandate when launching the Spicy 7’s and the breaching of the contract will cost the state $2.5 million should they take their case to court.