Minnesota Government Shutdown Means Lottery Winners Are Out of Luck

July 5, 2011

Many lottery players don’t stop to think about how their favorite lottery games are run. When you buy lottery tickets at a convenience store and see the slick marketing and creative ticket designs, it can be easy to forget that lotteries are run by state governments.

As a government agency, the Minnesota Lottery is closed during the Minnesota government shutdown. Visitors to the lottery’s website may be surprised to see the following notice:

Due to the current government shutdown, the Minnesota State Lottery is closed and this website is not being maintained.

No Lottery tickets may be sold or winning tickets redeemed until further notice.

Please sign any winning tickets and retain in a secure location.

We have tried to provide Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about the shutdown and you may link to those questions here.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

The FAQ reads, in part:

Now that the Lottery is closed, what will happen?

Like many other state agencies, the Lottery will close on July 1st since a budget agreement was not finalized. You will not be able to purchase Lottery tickets or redeem winning tickets during the shutdown period. Lottery terminals at retailer locations will not allow those transactions. Winning tickets under $600 can still be cashed at Lottery retailers until 11:59 on June 30th.

• When will I know when the Lottery is back in business?

The Lottery will do its best to begin selling and redeeming tickets as quickly as possible once a budget agreement is finalized and all state agencies are allowed to reopen at full capacity. For the latest general information on the state government shutdown, please visit BeReadyMN.com. The Lottery’s website will announce when we can begin selling tickets again. Additionally, when you see jackpot amounts on the jackpot billboards, or watch our daily drawing show, or if there’s no shutdown signage at your favorite Lottery retailer, we’re likely up and running again!

Perhaps it would be belter for the state if the lottery did not reopen with the rest of the government: Lottery revenue is a poorly designed tax, failing the tests of sound tax policy.

More on state-run lotteries.

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