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No more gambling at the gas pump: Lawmakers end electronic lotto tickets

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No more winning the Powerball straight from the screen of your gas pump.

The Minnesota House passed a bill Thursday prohibiting the sale of lottery tickets through websites or self-service machines (like a gas pump or ATM). Only six legislators voted against it.

The passing comes just a week after the Senate overwhelmingly voted for the the same ban, 56-8., which sends it to the governor's desk for a final signature.

Gov. Mark Dayton, however, won't sign it – but he won't veto it either, meaning it will become law.

Last year, when the legislature attempted to enact a similar ban, Dayton vetoed it at the end of the session, which didn't give lawmakers time to try to override his decision.

Why the ban?

There is one main thread stitched into the opposition of pay-at-the-pump (or buy-on-the-Web) gambling.

Did the state lottery have the authority to implement electronic lottery sales in the first place?

Since the agency began planning the new feature in 2013, skeptics have argued the agency needs legislative approval before bringing its games to the Web. Despite the protests, the lottery went ahead with its plans. In February of 2014, the first online scratch-off offerings hit the web.

The Star Tribune says with that, Minnesota became the first state to offer instant-play games online.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers took aim, saying Lottery Director Ed Van Petten overstepped his authority by implementing the new options without the Legislature’s consent.

That was still a driving force behind the ban passed this week.

"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, according to the Session Daily.

The bill does allow the lottery to keep selling tickets online for games won by a drawing.

The Star Tribune says lottery officials are worried the state could get sued because it will be forced to break signed contracts with vendors.

According to the Session Daily, an amendment that would have allowed those contracts to end before the ban went into effect was defeated.

Last year, supporters of the ban also cited a concern about promoting easy access to gambling.

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