|When the Kansas Lottery issued a press release this May that outlined the details of the game, which it labeled ‘World's First Interactive Internet Lottery Game’ law enforcement officials sat up and took notice. |
The press release included the following rules: The players go to a lottery retailer and select the denomination they want to play. They can choose 10-cent, 50-cent or $1-per-play options. Then they decide the amount they want to spend — US$1 through US$50. For example, US$10 would allow the buyer to have 100 10-cent plays.
The buyer receives a ticket with an identification number. The player then goes online at www.escratchks.com, punches in the ticket number and begins interactive play on the game that was selected. After finishing the plays, the buyer can find out whether he or she won.
As an option, the buyers can check at the lottery retailer to see whether their ticket was a winner or a loser. Buyers who check their tickets before going on the Internet won't be able to play the online games.
Now after six weeks, Ed Van Petten, the lottery’s executive director, has been summoned to testify before the Legislative Coordinating Council, made up of key legislative leaders from both parties.
‘We were concerned about the new type of lottery game, which was announced to the public on May 7. It is the first of its kind in the country. It's a different game format. There are those who call it on-line gaming. I don’t know if that's true or not,’ said Senate President Dave Kerr, a Hutchinson Republican.
‘Frankly, the Legislature has an oversight function, and when you have something of this magnitude and the Legislature in the last session was not made aware this was happening, we’d like to know why we weren't informed,’ said House Speaker Doug Mays, a Topeka Republican.
While other members of the council called it a ‘a serious departure from what the lottery has done in the past’ and criticized the lottery officials saying they should have discussed the new format with lawmakers before putting it in play.
‘Information about the game was placed on the lottery’s web site two to four weeks before the game’s launch. Since winners and losers are predetermined, the Internet activity cannot be classed as Internet gambling. It's not Internet gaming by any means,’ said Van Petten of the escratchks.com.