GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Come the new year, you will not have to leave your home to play scratch-off games, according to the Minnesota State Lottery. The lottery plans to offer scratch-off games online in January.
They work similar to the paper games. There is a spending limit of $50 a week, and you have to enter banking or drivers license information, along with a password. This is supposed to prohibit people younger than 18 from playing.
The lottery claims it will also be able to tell if people are playing the games in Minnesota, which by law they need to be.
Other states are planning similar scratch-off games online, including Delaware. The state lottery says the UK offers the games already.
"Since they've had instant scratch tickets available, sales in the retail brick and mortar stores have gone up 20-percent," said Ed Van Petten, Executive Director of the Minnesota State Lottery.
But some worry this will make it easier to gamble.
"I think we need to slow down a bit," said State Representative Greg Davids, a Republican from Preston.
Davids calls this a major expansion of gambling and believes the legislature needs to be involved.
"This is the Minnesota lottery gone wild, they seem to pick up and do whatever they want to with questionable legislative authority," he said.
Van Petten disagrees.
"The legislature has approved it," said Van Petten.
Van Petten points to the state statute that gives him authority to do this, but critics counter that law was written in 1989 before internet as we know it was even around.
"I think the legislature should have a say if they want to do that or not," said Davids, referencing the online gaming.
The state lottery wants to get more young adults exposed to gambling and believes making it available online is the way to do it.
"This is not an expansion, these are products we have available now," said Van Petten.
He adds the lottery has been selling lottery tickets online since 2010.
But Davids worries the security won't be good enough. He tells KARE 11 he would support a bill that would stop online gaming in Minnesota.
"How secure is this going to be? How are we going to know this isn't a 12-year-old who took their mother's drivers license or social security card?" he said.
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