Dayton blasts lottery ban bill, threatens veto

Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota Lottery Director Ed Van Petten hold a news conference to highlight the lottery’s 25th anniversary. Tim Pugmire/MPR News

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton offered a strong defense of the Minnesota Lottery today and made it clear he will again veto legislation that tries to limit its sales.

Dayton participated in event highlighting the lottery’s 25th anniversary. But his remarks were primarily aimed at criticizing the fast-moving bills that would ban lottery sales at gas pumps, ATMs and online. Lawmakers passed a similar bill at the end of the 2014 session, and Dayton vetoed it after they went home.

“If the same legislation that I vetoed last year reaches my desk, I’ll veto it again, and I’ll do my best to prevent an override,” Dayton said.

Dayton said he does not see a specific threat from those newly launched lottery venues, and he suggested lawmakers backing the proposed ban are trying to please the interests of their political allies.

“Look at the campaign contributions to legislators and to the caucuses if you want to understand, at least in my subjective view, why this thing has got so much steam,” he said.

Dayton did not offer specifics. However, the charitable gambling industry and Native American tribes have long been active political contributors.

Dayton also outlined a possible new proposal for lottery proceeds. He said he wants some of that money dedicated to a special state fund for school construction and college campus improvements. Dayton said it would help remind Minnesotans of the importance of lottery funds.

  • Gary F

    Sell those lottery tickets baby! It’s taxing the poor! That’s why he wants it! He loves to tax!