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Good Question: How Will A Shutdown Affect Lotteries?

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There have been reports on the many things you may have to give up if Minnesota’s state government is forced to shut down for lack of a budget. So, is striking it rich through the lottery another one?

If there is a shutdown, the jackpot amounts on lottery signs will disappear, but not all of the lottery’s operations will go dark. Lotto drawings will still be held for the online games Powerball, Mega Millions, Hot Lotto, Gopher 5, Northstar Cash and Daily 3.

The Minnesota Lottery said it feels it has an obligation to honor the tickets already sold for those drawings. Lottery Executive Director Clint Harris said it is also safest for the complicated computer system to keep it up and running.

“Our computers are designed to be working all the time, so if we had to do a shutdown it could be devastating for us,” said Harris.

However, lottery players will not be able to buy or cash in online or scratch-off tickets. Retailers’ lottery terminals will be shut off in the event of a government shutdown, preventing vendors from printing or scanning tickets of any type. Harris said retailers will lose an average of $200 a week in commissions on lottery ticket sales.

The state stands to lose much more if lottery revenue ceases to flow. Harris said the Environmental Trust Fund will forfeit $86,000 a day. The general fund will likely miss out on $185,000 a day. Revenues earmarked for game and fish and natural resource programs will lose tens of thousands of dollars a day, as well.

Players used to wagering regularly on favorite lotto numbers can purchase them for future drawings before Friday, July 1 on a paper play slip or through the lottery’s online subscription service.

For more information, the lottery website has a list of common questions about the shutdown.

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